Taste: Adding Ingredients To Coffee

The first seasonal drink Ruby developed was the Maple Latte. Inspired by the local syrup culture in Central Wisconsin that Ruby co-founder Jared Linzmeier grew up with, it’s a combination of espresso, steamed milk, and maple syrup produced by Jay’s Hilltop Sugarhouse, located just up the road from our Nelsonville roastery. Jay’s syrup has deep, rich flavors developed and honed through his unique and meticulous process of gathering sap from over 500 trees and reducing it down to syrup in his custom built sugarhouse. When mixed with our espresso and blended into steamed milk, it creates a unique flavor greater than just the sum of all the parts. Originally developed for our Tasting Room at the roastery, the Maple Latte has become our most popular drink at our Stevens Point cafe.

Adding ingredients to coffee isn’t new: in the Middle East, sugar and spices like cardamom are often added while the coffee is brewing, and Vienna cafes were serving coffee with milk and sweetened with honey all the way back through the 1600s. The rise in popularity of the espresso bar in the 1980s and 1990s, however, centered the development of coffee drinks around deeply roasted espresso blends and steamed milk. 

While our Maple Latte is made from espresso using Creamery Seasonal Blend at our Stevens Point Cafe, pairing flavors with coffee doesn’t have to be limited to lattes and other espresso based drinks. There are many ways to explore adding different flavors to your coffee at home, and we think the best place to start is by looking to the flavors each coffee has, and how to pair those with complimentary high quality ingredients. 

Because most espresso blends in the 1980s and 1990s were similarly based around smoky, dark flavors, the most popular espresso drinks were often made with complimentary flavors to those blends, like chocolate for mochas or caramel. With a wider variety of unique flavor profiles for different coffees, there’s a greater variety of flavors that can pair with unique coffee flavor profiles these days.

Creamery Seasonal Blend is designed to be a well-balanced blend, with flavors that remind people of milk chocolate and dark cherries. It pairs perfectly with sweet flavors like maple syrup or honey, and in the fall it’s a great blend to pair with freshly ground baking spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. As a cold brewed coffee, Creamery is syurpy and rich, and can pair well either with cream or taken in a more refreshing direction with a syrup made from reducing fresh fruit. 

Not all coffees are as versatile, though — the bright, citrusy and floral flavors of a single origin coffee from Ethiopia are best when matched with aromatic ingredients and simple sweeteners. These types of fruit-forward coffees showcase a lot of flavor complexity, and might work best as an iced coffee with a small amount of simple syrup, served with a lemon peel. These coffees also work well with spices like cardamom, or tart herbal flavors like hibiscus. 

For those who love adding caramel and chocolate to their coffee, Portage Seasonal Blend is the best match. It’s designed with coffees that have huge body and deep, cocoa flavors that blend nicely and can keep a strong presence against such strong and sweet ingredients. 

Each coffee has a flavor profile, body, and bright qualities that make them unique. The best coffee drinks always take into consideration what flavors each coffee has when blending with new ingredients, and it’s important, too, to look at the quality of ingredients being added. When you’re able to add high quality, artisan produced ingredients to well-sourced, amazing quality coffees, the possibilities are endless.

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