21 #SoAnchorage Holiday Delights: #8, Wintertime Brews


Come my friends, come with me to coffee-nerd forest and let us nerd out over special brews, exotic brewing methods and beans from faraway continents. I am such a serious coffee lover. I love it best this time of year, early in the morning, in the dark, when I’m trying to entertain the baby before everybody wakes up.

Anyway, this is what coffee nerd forest (aka the cupping room at Kaladi Brothers Coffee on Brayton) looks like. Look at all those fancy brewers:

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I went to this magical room last week to taste two holiday-time brews, Holiday Blend and Winter Roast. Here is Jared Mockli, the director of education at Kaladi, telling me about the origins of the beans as he brews some coffee.

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Holiday Blend beans come from Papua New Guinea. Winter Roast comes from Ethiopia, the Yirgacheffe region, a small microclimate called Konga where a co-op of farmers supply the beans. It’s kind of a trip to think how far the coffee travels to get to your cup.

Anyway, Jared weighed the beans, ground them, and then brewed the coffee in a glorified cone filter called a Clever Coffee Dripper. I love stuff like that. Here’s how it works (Jared gets a little cut off at the end there, but you get the idea):

Then we got to taste it. Holiday Blend has lots of subtle flavors of seasonal things, like vanilla and nuts and milk chocolate. It would be right at home with a piece of pumpkin pie. I was partial to the Winter Roast. It’s an extra special coffee that can only be purchased inside the largest holiday gift boxes.

I’ll take a coffee nerd aside here to say I’m a big fan of Ethiopian coffee. It has a sweet, fruity taste, and is really smooth. It doesn’t taste like any coffee you are used to. The reason I started drinking it was partially a matter of practicality. Ethiopian coffee has a really pronounced flavor and smell. It’s floral and some of it tastes almost like tea. Sara drinks decaf and I started buying Kaladi’s Ethiopian beans, so that when I blearily ground ours in the morning, I could smell them and tell the difference. 

When Jared tasted the Winter Roast, he said it had “fruitiness,” “black tea qualities,” a “strawberry lemonade” flavor, “lavender,” and “floral aromatics.” Dave tasted his and said “blueberry waffles.”

Here’s what’s weird: When I tasted it, I discovered they were both totally right.

For more holiday delights, go here.

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Julia O’Malley is a journalist who lives in Anchorage. She writes about culture, family, home, the environment and food in Alaska.

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