The room is calm and artfully lit. I am ushered to a table graced with clean white linens and fresh flowers. Others are sitting at similar tables around the room and there is a vista through large windows at one end of the room looking out over the night time city lights. Soft music is playing and a dimly lit large painting on the wall nearest me is a scene of a faintly disturbing storm at sea tossing a large sailing vessel about.
As I pick up my menu I am approached by a smartly dressed person with a small cup and saucer medallion dangling from a golden chain around her neck. Ah, the coffee sommelier has arrived and begins to tell me about the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe vintage coffee that will go well with today’s chef’s choice of roasted salmon. OK – so it’s another of my dream scenes. But not so far off from what may soon be a reality.
When people travel today whether on business or pleasure they are often tempted to try new foods and beverages, however; after one or two gastronomic disasters the seasoned traveler sticks to foods they know won’t upset their stomach. This also applies to wines and spirits. Air travelers may know that white wine and beer are histamines and can swell the Eustachian tubes and cause ear problems, and of course business travelers and vehicle drivers know the pitfalls of drinking any spirits, but this is usually not so for coffee. The traveler is free to dabble in new coffee tastes and try regional favorites that they don’t have access to at home, and with the ever growing popularity of specialty micro-roasters there are many new choices to make.
Coffee can be grouped into three definable geographical regions exhibiting uniquely different taste profiles. The website allrecipes.com identifies the choices and makes some interesting suggestions for complimentary foods.
- Coffees from the Africa / Arabia region: Arabian coffees have characteristics of berries and wines, while African beans have a slight citrus flavor and floral elements. Both have medium to full body and medium acidity. Pair with: berries, citrus, fruits, raisins, currents, cinnamon, cardamom and chocolate.
- Coffees from Asia / Pacific Rim: Coffees from Asia, Indonesia and the Pacific islands have robust, earthy characteristics. Some have flower-like or herbal notes. Expect full body and low acidity. Pair with: cinnamon, cheese, butter, caramel, maple, toffee and herbs.
- Coffees from Latin America: Coffees grown in Central and South America, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and Guatemala, are well-balanced with bright, tangy notes. With light to medium body and medium to high acidity, they fare well in iced coffee drinks. Pair with: breakfast breads, muffins, citrus fruits, blueberries, apples and nuts.
Of course for grizzled old coffee drinkers like me that need 6 to 8 cups of joe a day, I just need to know what coffee goes good with my bearclaw in the morning, will keep me alert all day, goes good with a pastrami sub at lunch and oh, what blend complements a late afternoon bag of micro-waved popcorn?