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The Coffee Department goes nuts

Here in Seattle, the coffee team recently got together to do a tasting. This is something we do every day – and yet this one was different. Instead of tasting new coffees, we got nutty … literally.

It was part of our monthly “Taste Personified” series, where we really dive into a particular flavor category to discover the unique nuances within it. In previous Taste Personified meetings, we had sampled citrus fruits and chocolates. For example, when we taste a particular lot of Kenyan coffee that exhibits citrus flavor, we want to describe what kind of citrus we’re experiencing. Is it a Ruby Red grapefruit? A Meyer lemon? A Jamaican ugli fruit? By exploring these subtleties, we become better tasters and can better describe what is unique about each of our coffees.

This month, we spent an hour tasting nuts: walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, macadamias and, my personal favorite, pecans. Tasting this array of nuts side by side highlights their differences – from the buttery-smooth flavor and texture of the macadamias to the herbally-pungent pine nuts. 

Then we took it a step further and tasted the nuts with three coffees that are often described as nutty: Pike Place™ Roast, Brazil Ipanema Bourbon, and Henry’s Blend from Seattle’s Best Coffee. Tasting a coffee with a complementary flavor really highlights both experiences. Personally, I found the Brazil Ipanema Bourbon and the macadamias to have the most in common.

It was a great way to spend an hour in the tasting room. And now I’m already looking forward to next month when we gather around the table to explore the world of spices: cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and more.

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