Brews & Bites

As much as 70-80% of what we perceive as taste comes from our sense of smell. Most of us here at Zingerman’s are familiar with this idea, as Ari’s been telling us for years to “smell it” as a key step in identifying great food. Here’s a fun exercise we do frequently in Zingerman’s Coffee Company classes to get people thinking about what they are smelling:

Give everyone a slice of orange and have them hold their nose closed and while they bite or chew the orange. Then, reminding them to keep holding their nose, ask them what they taste. Finally, ask them to let go of their nose. I’m not going to tell you what happens next, but I encourage you to try it and let us know. Oranges work well for this exercise, but you can also use anchovies!

Not sure what coffee to bring someone for the holidays? We teach a coffee and food pairing class for the public where you can try all kinds of ideas and combinations. You can also give the class to someone as a nice holiday gift!

Here are a couple of good pairings to get you started. As Steve and I are fond of saying, “there are no absolutes in coffee.” These are pairings that we’ve tried and we’d love for you to share some of your favorites.

Holiday Blend and Cranberry Walnut Pie
These two were made for each other, as they both have a nice balance of bitter, sweetness, and tart fruit. We were originally thinking of Hungarian tortes when we created the Holiday Blend this year, but I tried this pairing as an afterthought last week. I kept alternating between a forkful of pie and a sip of the coffee. Granted, I’ve been known to do this with most pies, but this particular combination was special. The Holiday Blend accentuates the flavors of the pie while moderating its sweetness. Very nice!

Sumatra and Zingerman’s Wowza Dark Chocolate Bar
Our high-grown Sumatran coffee is one of the darkest we roast. It’s flavor is earthy, wild, and dark. So how do you tame something like this? You get a good dark chocolate. I especially like it with a Wowza Bar from the Zingerman’s Candy Manufactory. (Thank you Charlie!) In general, dark chocolate works well with dark roast coffees, but WOW! This just pops!

Want to learn more about brewing coffee?
Take our Brewing Methods Class at the Zingerman’s Coffee Company. Sunday, December 16, 1-3pm.
Details here.