Choosing a coffee for Christmas
It happens every year, the coffee lover in the family is expecting something special. So, partner / son / daughter / grandchild is sent to the local speciality coffee store and expected to select something. At Cooper’s they’re faced with a selection of 16 coffees from all over the world with taste profiles from chocolatey to grapefruity and everything in between. Where to begin?
To start, we always ask what type of coffee maker the individual uses; this will give an insight as to whether they prefer an intense flavour or something a little gentler. As a rule of thumb, stove-top coffee makers, bean to cup espresso machines and AeroPress® tend towards more intense and concentrated flavours. Filter methods and French press (cafetière) usually work better with something a little lighter.
Then there are individual preferences. Personally I don’t particularly enjoy anything that’s overly dark roasted but I know many of our customers do, so make sure you ask the question before appearing in-store.
Terms such as Fairtrade, organic and traceable will also matter to some individuals. So, if you know the person for whom you are buying the coffee has a particular ethical stance, this information will help when it comes to choosing the right coffee.
The next level of questions is slightly more exotic. This is because there is an increasing interest in how coffee is processed at origin. There are three main styles - washed, honey and natural process.
Naturals are quite funky with bold fruit flavours. Honey processed have a light sweetness to them whilst washed process are very “clean” in profile. A great present for the coffee buff would be to get a small quantity of each process type.
Then there are the classics such as Monsooned Malabar and Old Brown Java. Coffees that go back to the days of Empire when coffee spent weeks at sea during which time their taste profile changed as they aged or took on board the effects of the salty sea air. This results in light nuttiness in the case of the Malabar or a soft dark earthy taste in the case of the Java.
Finally, if you want to splash out, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is about as bling as it gets. It’s significantly more expensive than any other coffee and still delivered to us in wooden barrels. It may be a Jersey thing but we bring this coffee in only at Christmas and sell out in 4 weeks. My view is that if you are going to spend that much on a coffee it needs to be as fresh as possible, so I recommend the recipient drinks it as near to the roasting date as possible.
The coffee world is hugely exciting at the moment, the choice is extraordinary and the quality amazing. Enjoy something amazing this Christmas!