We have not yet passed over Halloween and my mind, like many, is already on Thanksgiving. My mental to-do list is plagued with questions of who is coming, what are we eating, what are we baking and now—what kind of coffee are we serving? While many people go through great pains to decide on a wine that would be complementary to their meal, they don’t even think about the kind of coffee they should serve and yet they should. Why? It could make all the difference between an okay meal and a memorable one.
We don’t often get a chance to compare the flavors of several different coffees together so we don’t really notice that each coffee has its own characteristics, dependent upon where it was grown not to mention the fact that many of the coffees we drink are blends of a few different coffees. However, we have all experienced times when our coffee and dessert didn’t quite make the mark and we really didn’t know why, blaming either the coffee, the food or both.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a guided coffee tasting with Scott McMartin, Starbucks Director of Coffee and Tea Coffee Education and Green Coffee Sustainability. According to Mr. McMartin, “Coffee has several hundred compounds which make up its flavor and taste.” I learned that some coffees have a high acidity giving them a citrusy flavor; others have notes of cocoa or a burnt sugar taste as well as many other nuances. It is these nuances that will make a coffee pairing a hit or miss.
At home, I ground the whole beans and tried the Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend again as I imagined my own Thanksgiving spread and compared it to the coffee I am currently drinking. My findings confirmed those of Starbucks. This coffee is a perfect match.
But don’t take it from me. The Thanksgiving blend will be available in Starbucks beginning November 4th. Try it and imagine your winning recipes paired with it, or do a taste test of your own at home and compare.
Okay, now my mouth is watering for sweet potato pie. Let me share my quick and easy favorite recipe.
Quick & Easy Sweet Potato Pie
2 purchased graham cracker pie crusts
3 lbs or 4-5 large yams or sweet potatoes
1 stick of butter
1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 can of evaporated milk
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
-Boil the yams until done (should be able to stick a knife easily through).
-Cool down and peel.
-Use mixer or potato masher and mash potatoes well (remove strings as noticed). Heat butter if cold and add to mix.
-Add vanilla, sugar and eggs. Mix well.
-Add cinnamon and nutmeg.
-Begin pouring evaporated milk, mixing and noticing the batter consistency.
-Batter should have smooth consistency, not too thick or runny.
-Pour into crusts.
-Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes (remember that ovens do vary)
-Pie is done when a toothpick comes out dry and a bit of browning (not burning) has taken place on top.
-Let it cool down--if you can wait.
This pie is delicious hot or cold with, of course, a delicious cup of coffee. You can’t go wrong pairing Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend with this one.
The coffee will be in Starbucks stores on November 4th-- hmm… just in time for Election Day. Don’t forget to vote!