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Wednesday, May 22 2019 @ 03:35 AM UTC

Flavored Gourmet Coffee and its malcontents

Food & DrinkPosted by Scott Lush - Do you prefer whole bean Ethiopian Organic Sidamo light roast, or Candy Cane Flavored Decaf ground? To purists, they're at opposite ends of the spectrum. The Ethiopian Organic Sidamo should brew a classic cup with floral aromatics and essenses of citrus, berry, and nut. It's brewed light in order to preserve the origin character of an Ethiopian Sidamo. Maybe it's dry processed to add some earthiness and wildness to the cup to complement the other flavors. It drives like a Lexus. The Candy Cane flavored coffee ought to taste like...well...something hanging on a branch of the Christmas tree next to the flashing lights. It drives like a Mini Cooper S. Ethiopian Organic Sidamo appeals to experienced drinkers with a catalog of coffee tastes in their mind, Candy Cane decaf appeals to everyone ages 10 and up!

Backstory: This is the reason that purists raved over and gave awards to the Panama Hacienda Esmeraldo Gesha Varietal. It gave them the unexpected flavor of a classic Ethiopian coffee from Central America. It's what an Ethipian Gesha coffee plant tastes like when it's grown in Central American soil. It's like Opera fans seeing a new interpretation of the Barbier of Seville. To most everybody else, it has all the appeal of....opera. Or it's like Miles Davis fans finding a lost studio recording from the 1960s. To everyone else, it just sounds like Jazz. But to the purist, it's nirvana.

A lot of coffee purists say that coffee should be purchased whole bean, single origin, and ground in small quantities for each brew. On the other hand, everyday coffee drinkers purchase blends and flavored coffee, ground for convenience. One is brewing coffee to build up their catalog of knowledge and experience, the other is trying to get in the car by 6am to drive to the office.

Some terrific roasters on our site appeal to the coffee cognoscenti and have never carried flavored coffee, like Ecco Caffe, Chazzano Coffee and Kickapoo. Other terrific roasters carry flavored coffee in more flavors than Baskin and Robbins like Latitude 32.5 Roasters, Higher Ground and IronBrew.

Can both kinds of coffees exist on the same website? I've sampled hundreds of coffees and have an opinion.

I love both single-origin gourmet coffee and flavored ones. It's wonderful to listen to John Coltrane jazz with audiophile headphones, and then other times I like to crank up some Britney Spears from my car radio. It would be fun to drive a Lexus (if I had one!) with burled wood interior but also nice to hug the curves with a Mini Cooper S-series. It's nice to drink a rare Bordeaux wine but other times I like 3-Buck Chuck wine from Trader Joe's.

Flavored coffees allow a variety of flavors not available naturally in coffee of course, including Hazelnut, Banana Creme, Irish Coffee, and Kona Coconut. The more I try single-origins the more I love variety in my coffee and new tastes. How can you resist flavors like that!

Editor's Comment: Pardon me for pointing out the glaring error in the article - it's Hacienda La Esmeralda. "Esmeraldo?" Obviously, the author has a clue... Stick to the candy canes, they're sticky anyway.

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