Traditionally, coffee is usually paired with pastries such as cakes and breads but just like any other beverage, coffee can be paired with any food, given that the food complements the flavor of the coffee.
This is what Starbucks Philippines emphasized during the Coffee College held at Starbucks Reserve, Tomas Morato in Quezon City last March 8. They took the participants on an immersive coffee journey aid their exploration of the subtle flavors of coffee, and how it can complement the flavors of Filipino food.
“We want our customers to explore the flavor nuances of coffee and appreciate that coffee can be paired not only with desserts, but also with most savory food”, ” said Keith Cole, head of marketing for Starbucks Philippines.
Coffee College started with a brief discussion of the history of coffee, then Starbucks Global Coffee Masters explained and demonstrated how geographical origins make the coffee differ in aroma and taste. Generally, coffees from Africa and Arabia have citrus and winey flavors; coffees from the Asia Pacific are full-bodied, earthy and herbal flavor; while coffees from Latin America have a distinct cocoa and nutty flavor.
To make the participants appreciate the flavors better, they were treated to a four-course coffee and food pairing lunch highlighting Neo-Filipino cuisine specially prepared by Chef Booj Supe of Gourmet Garage. For the appetizer, participants paired the grilled shrimp salad with Starbucks Reserve® Ethiopia Guji Bilida Bukisa, a clover-brewed iced coffee exclusively offered in Starbucks Reserve® stores. This pairing shows how the light-bodied coffee, bright with subtle flavors of citrus, complements the juicy flavor of the shrimp.
Meanwhile, to reveal the earthy and herbal flavor of coffee, participants were asked to pair Starbucks Tribute Blend with two courses - the Seafood and Eggplant Cocido and Adobo sa Balsamic. The Cocido resembles a Pochero with seafood, which exudes an earthy flavor from the eggplant making it perfect with the Tribute Blend that has a full body and earthy taste. On the other hand, the cherry flavor of Tribute Blend was enhanced by the balsamic vinegar in the adobo.
As a final treat, participants were asked to sprinkle Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Colombia coffee on the Filipino dessert Turon sa Halo-halo with a scoop of mantecado ice cream. The nutty flavor of the microground coffee balances the sweetness of the ice cream and creates a tasty twist to the dish.
[This is] worth all the coffee and the sleepless night I know I will have tonight because I know I learned a lot,” said blogger Jane Uymatiao.
In addition to the food and coffee pairing feast, Starbucks Global Coffee Masters also explained two ways of brewing coffee and how different methods bring out different results. To demonstrate this, participants were asked to brew the Guatemala Antigua using a coffee press and by cold brewing. True enough, the same kind of coffee brewed differently produced two seemingly different cups of coffee in terms of body and taste. Guatemala Antigua shows up as a full-bodied drink when brewed using a coffee press, while it takes on a lighter and smoother body when cold brewed.
“Starbucks has always aimed to inspire the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. The Coffee College is our way of passionately sharing our appreciation and knowledge of coffee with select media.”, said Cole.
To extend the coffee journey experience to every customer, Starbucks regularly conducts coffee tasting and seminars in its stores for free.