Un poco de Paso Corto
If you've been to any of our cafes this week, you may have noticed a new addition to our coffee shelves. We've just introduced a new limited-time blend, and we're all pretty excited about it. I sat down with Emily Hamblin, our General Manager and resident equestrian, to discuss blends, horses, and a bit of Latin American history.
First of all, let's talk a bit about blends. A blend is, just as it sounds, a mixture of coffees. Most of the coffees that I've highlighted so far on the blog have been origin coffees - they come from a specific country, region, co-op, or farm. Origin coffees tend to have one or two overwhelming characteristics depending on where they're from. For example, Indonesian coffees tend to be smoky and deep, whereas a coffee from Peru may tend to be fruity and sweet. So what if you want a coffee that is sweet but has deep smoky notes? Enter blends. With a blend, we can combine flavors and profiles that don't naturally happen in one region or on one farm. We can also adjust the roast level to really bring out the flavors we're looking for.
We want to provide customers with a wide variety of coffees with various flavor profiles. Emily set out to do just that when creating her signature blend. She says that she likes the smoky aspects of Sumatran coffees but also enjoys the brighter notes found in many Latin American offerings. At a recent coffee conference, Emily was able to talk to our coffee brokers about her ideas, and it was there that she found the two coffees she needed. She then consulted Shawn Rogers, our roaster, to figure out the perfect ratio and roast level to bring out the flavors that she was looking for. The final product, our new Paso Corto Blend, is a blend of Colombian and Sumatran coffees, a little bit heavier on the Colombian side due to the bolder characteristics of Sumatran coffees. This great summer coffee has notes of blackberry with a slight hint of spiciness (see how awesome blends can be?).
If you, like me, aren't well acquainted with equestrian terminology, you may be wondering where Emily came up with the name of her blend. Emily explained to me that "paso corto" - it means short step in Spanish - is a type of gait performed by Paso Fino horses. These horses were brought to Colombia centuries ago by Spanish conquistadors, hence the connection with Colombian coffees. Emily says that the name is also a nod to the fact that it's really hot outside, so you may want to walk a little slower to conserve some energy.
Paso Corto Blend is in stores now, so give it a try soon. Most of our stores will be brewing it every day this week, giving you plenty of opportunities to have a cup (or two). It won't be around for long, so you might want to grab a bag for home while you're at it. And if you see Emily around the cafe, tell her how good her blend is. Or ask her about horses. She likes to talk about both.
Cups Quarter Cafe