I tend to wax rhapsodic about single-origin coffees. It’s much more rare I do the same for a coffee blend. There’s a reason for that. Let me ‘splain.
Some folks (read, all of the Big Four — Sara Lee, Kraft, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé — and any number of other roasters who care more about their bottom line than your good taste) blend coffees for reasons of economy. You take a bit of the good stuff — high grown beans with lots of flavor and aroma — and blend it with as much as 90% “C” grade not-great-but-not-offensive coffee and voilà: you have a commercial blend. Slap a romantic name on and sell the hell out of it. Have a nice day.
Other folks — folks with integrity, and talent — take an excellent coffee from over here, a great coffee from over there, put them together and . . . wow. When it’s done really well, it sings. It resonates. When it’s done really well, the whole — that final blend — is greater than the sum of its parts.
For three year’s running I’ve been able to trust that Peet’s will deliver just such a tasty treat for their seasonal Holiday Blend. True to form, once again they’ve delivered.
Peet’s Holiday Blend 2007 is one smooth operator — from its dusky, saddle-leather bass line to its malted chocolate middles all the way up to a berry-and-flowers topnote. The Sumatra Lintong on the bottom is remarkable for its super-clean flavors, with absolutely none of the metallic tang that’s tended to sour Lintong coffees of late (and especially the triple-pick / super-prep stuff… go figure.) The Antigua in the middle is clearly a super-dense bean, to not only stand up to the deep roast that Peet’s is famous for, but to thrive on it. And at the top, is that an Ethiopian bean? A Nyeri-region Kenya? Doesn’t matter… it’s all good, and the result is a parting shot that’s something of a distilled essence of ruby-red citrus and gentle whack in the nose with a bouquet of jasmine.