What makes a holiday coffee blend different from the roasts you see all year round? The truth is, there are as many answers to that as there are roasters that sell holiday coffee. For some roasters, the only thing seasonal about their seasonal blend is the packaging. It is just as true that a holiday coffee can be handcrafted and specially roasted to pair well with the foods and spirit of the season.
Here we will look at what makes a good holiday blend so festive and holiday coffee tips that will make your brew extra special this season.
While each holiday coffee will vary from roaster to roaster, winter blends tend to have deeper, richer flavors like chocolate or warm spices like cinnamon. You can expect to see more medium to dark roasts in this category. In contrast, summer blends tend to be lighter roasts that may include fruity or floral flavors.
For example, Larry's Rockin' Holiday Blend has notes of chocolate-covered cherry cordials and chestnuts roasting. Both sweet and complex, this blend pairs equally well with a chilly Sunday morning as it does with after-dinner dessert.
A big part of what differentiates one coffee blend from another is the tasting notes. What exactly are tasting notes though? When a coffee says, for example, that it has notes of cherry or cinnamon, are cherry and cinnamon added to the beans somehow?
The short answer is that tasting notes come from the roasting process, not additives. When beans are roasted, the temperature, roasting time, and other factors can bring out different flavor compounds in the beans. Some varieties of coffee beans can literally have thousands of flavor compounds present just waiting for the right roasting method to bring them out.
So, when coffee beans have "notes of cherry," we are not tasting actual cherries but, instead, similar flavor compounds that would also be found in cherries. Flavor notes can also be affected by the brewing process, where beans are grown, and other factors, but roasting is a large part of how quality holiday blends come about.
Rockin' Holiday is a crowd favorite for its distinct spice and full-bodied medium roast. Rockin' Holiday's unique blend came about through our careful selection of quality beans combined with optimal roasting methods.
To create this holiday blend, we went through multiple small batches to test for the right airflow, heat, temperature, roast time, and more until we got a coffee that embodied all the cheer and warmth of the season.
Rockin' Holiday and our newest holiday blend, Let it Snow, were created to pair with the sweets joys of fruitcake, eggnog, and our neighbors' gingersnap cookies. They are ready to enjoy as is or with any of our holiday coffee blend serving tips below.
With holiday roasts often being medium to dark, they lend themselves well to the French press method of brewing. When you use a French press, the grounds stay submerged in the water until you press them down with the plunger. This allows for more contact between the water and the grounds than with other methods.
With longer contact and the lack of a paper filter, the French press allows for more of your beans' natural oils to remain in the brewing liquid. Since dark roasts have rich oils in abundance, this is a very good thing. We recommend the Yama 5 Cup French Press which has a 28oz capacity perfect for small holiday gatherings.
Embrace the decadence of the season by making your coffee extra festive with these additions:
With roughly 50% of Americans over 18 reporting that they drink some kind of coffee, a holiday blend is among the best gift options. Whether you know an avid coffee lover or you need a gift on hand for unexpected guests, coffee is a likely crowd-pleaser. Coffee allergies are also extremely rare which makes coffee a safer choice than food gifts that contain dairy, nuts, or gluten.
Holiday blends, in particular, are an excellent way to introduce yourself or others to a roaster. They are typically crafted to be warm, inviting, and accessible making them perfect for a wide range of palettes. As a bonus, holiday coffee is packaged to be festive. Pair a bag of holiday blend with a French press, a mug, or specialty creamers for a complete gift.
If you have ever had a holiday coffee that tastes suspiciously like a mediocre dark roast, you may have had a blend that was not exclusively made for the season. This is because some roasters do not create a holiday coffee but, instead, repackage beans that they have an excess of. Though the result is not always bad, you will not get any of the nuanced flavors associated with a true, handcrafted seasonal blend.
Don't get stuck picking up a lackluster holiday blend at the last minute, order Larry's authentic holiday blends that we have handcrafted for the season.