Most food magazines tend to do an obligatory piece on coffee from time to time. Often these are a cataloging of up and coming roasters which can be a useful resource, or even a true awakening, especially if you don’t follow coffee all to closely. I owe it one such article years ago (I can’t seem to find it) for first turning me on to Blue Bottle Coffee and making me realize that coffee can be better than Peet’s or Royal – it can be a true culinary experience.
I’ve since become a bit more knowledgeable on the subject of coffee and I typically find these recycled articles to be terrific sources of affirmation, but somewhat lacking in information. They say little about the coffee as a culinary experience and while it’s nice to think that my top pick is getting recognized by people other than the many like-minded coffee-enthusiasts I gather with on CoffeeGeek and Home Barista, I also feel conflicted. It usually means the cat’s out of the bag regarding some of my more favorite coffees (opps, I think I just recycled!).
Two recent food magazine issues, however, have made me think that good coffee is finally getting a foothold in the culinary community. Or, at the very least, the food magazines have wizened up and gotten in touch with some good technical consultants. This article in September’s issue of Food and Wine points out a couple of cafes in their “New Stars” section that were previously only on the periphery of my coffee radar.
But this October’s “Breakfast Issue” of Saveur – a magazine I always want to love but never read – really hits it out of the park when it comes to coffee. The centerpiece is their nine great coffees supplemented by their more favorites piece. While I’m not sold that every coffee listed here is an award winning cup (Newman’s Own?) and muse a little about the coffee’s listed as apparent equals (Dunkin’ Donuts on the same page with Terroir and Ecco Caffe?), most of these coffees are likely to be very good, and Saveur actually discusses the flavors and aromas of these coffees as well as provides some food pairings. In addition, the issues interviews the author of God in Cup, provides a reasonably accurate and fairly sophisticated coffee glossary and raises some coffee brewing awareness by providing some good instructions for French Pressed coffee. All in all, this an issue that even those in coffee could get into.