Dish of the Day: New coffee flavours
The television is constantly buzzing about Britain’s best bakers and Masterchefs – but even food enthusiasts still greet me with a blank face when I rave about coffee flavours. If I was talking about any other food or drink – apples let’s say – you wouldn’t be surprised if I spoke about the different varieties such as Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, and noted their different tastes and characteristics. So why is coffee still defined purely by how strong it is?
Coffee is a surprisingly complex beverage, with hundreds of different possible aromas and flavours. These flavours develop differently depending on the variety of the coffee tree and its “terroir”, meaning the altitude, the soil quality and weather conditions where the tree grows. Just as we expect a Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon to taste different depending on its country or region of origin, we can also expect coffees from different countries or regions to vary in flavour too.
Good quality Arabica coffees from Central America and East Africa, for example, can give you delicious fruity flavours, when the natural fruit acids in the bean develop by absorbing the minerals and micro nutrients in the soil. This can lead to a zesty citrus-like freshness, the jammy sweetness of apricots, or even tropical fruits. Award-winning Panamanian farmer Graciano Cruz, for example produces microlot coffees that are a great example of this style, that have the freshness of a strawberry summer pudding.
Wonderful darker flavours like chocolate and spice can be found in coffees from the Pacific and Arab regions of the world. Along with the terroir of these regions, the coffees tend to be processed in similar ways using little water and drying in the sun. This produces bold, rich coffees.
Nutty flavours can often be found in coffees from Brazil (amongst others). Walnut and almond notes are frequently present; try a bean from the regions of São Paulo which pairs perfectly with a morning pastry.
So let’s step back from looking at the strength guide, and explore the world of coffee flavours. You may just find a new favourite.
Jeremy Torz is the Co-Founder of Union Hand-Roasted Coffee and Coffee Addict
Follow Jeremy at @unionroasted
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