Perhaps the best place to start discussing the coffee and food experience is to understand how our relationship with coffee has evolved. First discovered in Ethiopia, coffee has since spread across the globe - arriving in Colombia and the Americas around 300 years ago, and since then has become part of a global culture.
As coffee gained popularity, the initial goal was to standardize the flavor and establish a recognizable “coffee taste” to promote its widespread acceptance. Coffee was coffee, there was only one way coffee should have tasted back then and it was widely accepted. No unique blends or flavor profiles were on the market. Only a select few had access to the most unique varieties and blends around the world, and those people were usually aristocracy.
Next came the Barista culture - once a uniform coffee experience was accepted and mainstream, the focus shifted to how the coffee was made. While coffee as a Latte or Cappuccino gained popularity, the beans were frequently dark roasted beyond recognition to ensure consistency. This method deliberately removed most of the distinct characteristics of different varieties.
Today, coffee has come full swing and the focus has shifted again. A new subculture of coffee lovers is emerging, and the focus is on individuality. The right quality and variety can be a true sensory experience - something many people are now discovering and embracing.
The goal is to highlight the unique characteristics of single-origin coffees, where the farmer and producer play an integral part in delivering the perfect coffee experience.
A new generation of coffee connoisseurs are driving the coffee revolution. Happy to experiment, experience, and push the boundaries of what is coffee. Different varieties and even different fermentation methods lend themselves to different palates, preferences, and pairings.
The coffee experience has shifted from one accepted flavor and taste to a subculture where coffee is kin to wine and where certain types of coffees pair perfectly with certain foods. This is the starting point of the coffee food pairing experience.
What is a specialty coffee and why does single-origin matter?
Coffee is only considered "specialty" when it is grown at altitudes of 1000m or more in the perfect moisture and temperature range. It needs to be handpicked when it reaches ruby red maturity on the arabica trees. Farming specialty coffee sustainably is an art, and many of the producers are generational families that hand down the tradition and skill. Specialty varieties, with their diversity and nuances, offer a sublime experience.
Single-origin is equivalent to a single malt whiskey or a single vineyard wine. It highlights higher quality blends where the location plays an unequivocal role in the character of the coffee. Like the best wines - how, where, and by whom your coffee is grown - is what makes the coffee.
If you haven’t tried specialty or single-origin coffees yet, startling new tastes await you. Adding the right coffee to the right atmosphere and food pairing is an unforgettable experience.