What does a "Holiday Blend" mean to you?

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.

#1: Post by Trjelenc »

I often see "holiday blend" ideas that kinda just sound like a regular blend idea, like a mixture of a Guatemala, a Colombian, and a fruity African. But to me personally that flavor profile doesn't say anything unique to correlate to the wintery Christmas season. I've also heard some places just use it as an excuse to get rid of old greens.

Since I'll be gifting coffee to some people this year, I'm thinking about what kind of blend I want to make to call a "holiday blend". I instantly think about a wet hulled Sumatra to be a component. Maybe it's just because I first roasted one during the holiday season, but I find the thick, foresty, slightly spiced aspect to really go along with the Christmas season. Then, probably a Central American that delivers chocolate with some acidity. Third, some nuttiness with something like a Brazil or particularly nutty Peru. These might be able to do double duty of delivering nuttiness and chocolate. I could see it being as simple as an equal thirds blend of all 3. Wildcard: something like a nice Rwanda that has spiced qualities with some stone fruit.

Ultimately, I like to think of a holiday blend to have big body, with chocolate, foresty, nutty, and spiced flavors with enough acidity to make it not feel really heavy to drink. I'd naturally avoid fruitiness but plum or maybe something specifically cranberry-like (Kenyan I'd think) would also make a nice accent.

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#2: Post by Milligan »

I'm with you for sure. Christmas/Holiday blends sound thick, chocolate, dried/sweetened fruits (like fruit cake), spice, and earthy/forest. I think you hit the nail on the head. I'd probably do a clean Sumatra as my 30-40% with a heavy chocolate Guatemala and finish it with some kind of natural for the deep fruits.


#3: Post by SutterMill »

My view is likely tained by the first "Holiday Blend" I had. Trader Joes Wintery Blend. It had cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves and I'm sure one or two other ingredients besides coffee. Originally came whole bean and wasn't too bad. Then came blended and the spices were overpowering.

Now I associate holiday blends with full city+ roasts , chocolate bombs with spicy floral notes.


#4: Post by ojt »

Cheap coffee roasted dark and flavored with the classic Christmas spices. That's what it means to me.

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#5: Post by Randy G. »

I agree that it sounds like a sales catch term. One might think, 'Winter, warm, rich, hearth and home.'
I think, 'Pumpkin spice, the stench of cloves, and nausea.'
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#6: Post by GC7 »

Go to the Burman's site and pick up some

India MySore Nuggets Extra Bold and blend it with whatever you like. I read the description of the MySore beans when I wanted some of their Mexico Chiapas. The stuff just blows me away as a (for me) dark roast about 15 seconds into second crack. It blends well and works in milk drinks.

"Mysore coffees are the best known and the most popular of all Indian coffees, they posses good body and snappy acidity. The overall taste profile is very unique, with spicy overtones. These spicy overtones come from the cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and pepper that grow alongside the coffee trees.
This lot is full bodied, with a rich full taste and moderate acidity. Very interesting and exotic, I like to roast this coffee a little darker, just into the second crack."

A neighbor is a big Peets Major Dickinson's fan. I roasted a blend of the Nuggets, Chiapas and Sumatra Mutu Batek to almost 450* (second crack generally begins at 433-435 on my bullet) and it blew him away.

I think this India bean could define what we think of as a winter coffee alone or blended.

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#7: Post by mkane »

Mysore nugs, excellent

Trjelenc (original poster)

#8: Post by Trjelenc (original poster) »

One of these days I'm gonna try this very funnily named coffee

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#9: Post by yakster »

I know some like Jamaican coffee during the holidays, and I believe I've heard Red Sea Blend being popular, but not so much anymore lately for both of these

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#10: Post by Mbb »

Hmmmmm.... The cynic in me says it's just something they can market and sell to people. You know it's today was any good they would sell it all the time, right?