Telling the Story of Kaldi
Kaldi’s Coffee takes its name from the story of Kaldi, the legendary goatherd from Ethiopia who saw his flock gaining energy from mysterious seeds. When crafting our house blend, we knew we would be honoring this legacy. Our namesake blend, Cafe Kaldi (and its decaf and half caff variants) celebrates the excitement of the new balanced with the comfort of tradition.
From its creation at DeMun, our first St. Louis coffee shop, to present day theories of blending and roasting, Cafe Kaldi has been with us through it all. And, most importantly to us, with our countless guests and customers.
You may have had countless cups of this time-tested blend over the years, but how well do you really know it? Well, pour a cup of Cafe Kaldi, and read on to learn more about the history of our house blend.
We’ve always envisioned Cafe Kaldi to be the perfectly balanced cup of coffee. A blend of light- and dark-roasted beans from Africa and Latin America, we’ve crafted Cafe Kaldi to embody the “best of both worlds”: sweet, chocolatey, dark-roasted flavor harmonizing with light citrus acidity, and a smooth body that does not overpower the palate. Cafe Kaldi is a mellow, smooth, all-day sipper that highlights balance and poise: the perfect cup to accompany your breakfast scramble, lunch wrap, or an evening pastry.
Cafe Kaldi is a mellow, smooth, all-day sipper that highlights balance and poise
As our flagship blend, Cafe Kaldi is something we take immense pride in sharing. But getting to this target isn’t easy. How do we create anew each day that cup of coffee that represents two or more continents, the story of the discovery of coffee, and our own philosophy of coffee?
Cafe Kaldi is roasted daily to meet demand, and requires dedicated cupping to maintain the strictest quality. Not only must each component coffees be rigorously sourced for their compatibility with the blend, but each of the two roast profiles--light and dark--must be reviewed closely to ensure they consistently deliver the best possible blend. We want to ensure you find that same familiar warmth and sweetness whether you brew your Cafe Kaldi at home or grab a cup to-go from one of our cafes, and whether in blustery January or a sweltering July.
We want to ensure you find that same familiar warmth and sweetness whether you brew your Cafe Kaldi at home
Guests who have been drinking our Cafe Kaldi for years have come to cherish its consistency and quality. While green coffees rotate seasonally, the finished product is always almost exactly what it was meant to be when we first started roasting it at our original cafe and roasting facility on DeMun Avenue in the 90s: an approachable, balanced cup of coffee that our guests can look forward to enjoying again and again.
We take that promise seriously, and like our ever-popular 700 blend, we carefully reassess our Cafe Kaldi on a regular basis via cupping to ensure we continue to meet that high mark. We strive to always place novel and excellent coffees before you, but a cup of Cafe Kaldi should always taste like the Cafe Kaldi you know and love.
LIGHT SIDE & DARK SIDE: WHAT MAKES CAFE KALDI, CAFE KALDI
Unlike our 700 blend, which also balances sweetness, chocolate, and fruit notes, Cafe Kaldi is a post-roast blend: the two components, Light Side and Dark Side, are each roasted separately, according to their respective development profiles. This is what gives Cafe Kaldi that unique layering and complexity that makes it more than another blend of coffees with different origins and processes.
Cafe Kaldi has been and continues to be a staple and fan favorite, so the blend has gone through some of its own changes to be more consistent, and simply better. First came the blend itself, the name Cafe Kaldi arising a few years later, to highlight the importance of this blend as our most approachable, always available coffee, delicious to drink as is, but equally capable of standing up to a little cream and sugar. Since those days, as our roasting and sourcing game improved, we honed the Cafe Kaldi experience in several subtle but significant ways:
- The Dark Side profile has been improved to not just highlight a “roasty” flavor, but specifically to elicit and center the natural sweetness of the bean.
- The Light Side component has evolved to do away with unpleasant vegetal tones in the brightness and acidity, instead capturing the light citrus notes favored by our guests.
- We pay closer attention to the body and mouthfeel of the component coffees and their resulting blend, so as to ensure a smooth, balanced drinking experience that won’t overwhelm the palate or be too light.
- Cafe Kaldi once had strict component origins: the Dark Side was always 50% Brazil & 50% Colombia, and the Light Side blended Brazil, Colombia, and Ethiopia Harar. However, this was an arbitrary limit that didn’t always enable Cafe Kaldi to be the best it could be. Since 2008, however, we’ve ensured that the coffees in Cafe Kaldi rotate seasonally, rather than sticking to any one origin. We sought out the best coffees for this purpose from all around the world, while making sure to always source an Ethiopian component for the acidity of the Light Side. We sample extensively to find the correct component coffees that will hold up to and shine in the respective roasting profiles of Cafe Kaldi.
While Cafe Kaldi has evolved over the past couple of decades, it has remained true to its original intent: a post roast blend of two roasts, with an Ethiopian coffee significantly included.
We sample extensively to find the correct component coffees that will hold up to and shine in the respective roasting profiles of Cafe Kaldi.
Latin Americans coffees—Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia—typically provide the sweetness and depth of the more-developed Dark Side, while the Light roast preserves the natural acidity and subtle floral characteristics of Ethiopian coffee. It is our flagship coffee, an ode to our many sourcing relationships worldwide, and a standard bearer for our coffee philosophy.
FROM CHASING GOATS TO CHASING QUALITY
Our continuing vision with Cafe Kaldi is a cup that tastes delicious to experienced and newly-exploring coffee drinkers alike. As you find yourself brewing coffee at home more often this year, we believe you’ll enjoy Cafe Kaldi, an approachable and user-friendly blend that can be made to taste great through any number of brewing methods. We believe you deserve a coffee blend that doesn’t ask you to jump through hoops to get a delicious cup of coffee; we’ve already done that for you! All you need is a love for coffee, a fresh bag of Cafe Kaldi, and a brewing kit of your choice.
With just the right amount of natural sweetness, a smooth body, and delicate floral and chocolatey notes in harmonious coexistence, Cafe Kaldi is our go-to cup to remind ourselves of why we do what we do. So come and celebrate the new and the traditional with us, and grab yourself a cup of Cafe Kaldi.
MUCH MORE THAN A BLEND: 700
- Blend Buying Guide | Kaldi's Coffee Blog
- Why Fresh Roasted Coffee Matters | Kaldi's Coffee Blog
- Much More than (FTO) Blends: French Roast and Birds & Bees | Kaldi's Coffee Blog
Written by Yosef Rosen