The holiday season manifests itself in a variety of ways in the coffee world. There’s the endless, inescapable Christmas music in cafes, Starbucks’ annual war on Christmas and a concerning absence of Festivus poles. Perhaps you’ve noticed that many local coffee roasters are also offering limited, holiday-oriented coffee blends.
While we are all accustomed to the phenomenon of brands seizing any opportunity to capitalize on the marketing potential of various holidays, thankfully, we’ve got some folks in town putting out genuinely unique (and tasty) products rooted in a genuine love for the season and what it represents.
“This is the time of year when many of us are either going home for the holidays or having family over to visit,” says Novel Coffee Roasters co-founder Ryan Smith. “Inevitably we end up brewing a lot of coffee and sharing it with loved ones. We hope our coffee gets to be part of these celebratory moments.”
Sharing similar sentiments, Jonathan Aldrich, director of coffee at Tweed Coffee Roasters, says, “Our whole view of coffee at Tweed is that coffee is a companion for the moments we have – whether that’s a cup and a conversation, a great breakfast or a moment of contemplation. So we think it’s natural that we’d do a blend to celebrate a time of year that is about what we are all about.”
It’s clear that their loyal followers are eager to celebrate with them.
“We definitely sell more coffee this time of year,” Aldrich says. “We see a lot of coffee sold for gifts and to enjoy at home over a couple days off, or to take something better than what Grandma usually has at her house.”
Here are three locally roasted holiday blends you can find on retail shelves throughout the Dallas area:
Cheer – Tweed Coffee Roasters
Cheer is a blend of coffee from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia and a coffee from El Diamante, a farm in Guatemala that the company has been working with for four years. Of the latter, Aldrich notes, “It’s a treat to share coffee from a great family in our holiday blend.”
Cheer has rich, milk chocolate and almond flavors complemented perfectly by citrus and floral notes and a great, creamy texture.
“We always approach our holiday blend as being a crowd pleaser,” Aldrich says. “The Guatemala has great chocolaty, nutty notes — which anyone can get behind — and the Ethiopian brings a different sweetness and complexity to the blend for the folks looking for a more interesting cup.”
Cheer retails for $18 at www.tweedcoffee.com.
Joy – Novel Coffee Roasters
Novel Coffee Roasters have blended a washed Kenyan coffee from producer Symon Mariku, a farmer that head-roaster and co-owner Kevin Betts met when visiting the country earlier this year, with a naturally processed Ethiopian to create a unique blend for their holiday offering, Joy.
“We wanted to go all out this year, so we included two of our most precious coffees into the blend,” states Smith.
This was the brightest and most complex, featuring deep fruity tones, orange zest and floral aromatics and a bright, snappy acidity reminiscent of grapefruit and blackberries.
Joy retails for $18 at www.novelcoffeeroasters.com.
Ugly Sweater – Ascension Coffee Roasters
If you’re on your way to your office’s annual ugly sweater party but forgot to don your gay apparel, Design District stalwart Ascension Coffee has you covered. This year’s iteration of their popular annual offering features a washed coffee from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, blended with a Kenyan micro-lot.
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The cup is sweet with flavors of toffee and caramel balanced by a subtle citrus acidity with a slightly spicy finish. Bring a bag of this and your co-workers will be glad you forgot your sweater.
Ugly Sweater retails for $16 at Ascension Coffee shops
Whichever of these blends you may chose to take home for the holidays, brew it fresh, share it with family and enjoy. The label on Novel’s Joy blend sums it up pretty well:
“The holiday season is all about finding joy.”