Quality. Consistency. We hope you taste both in your favorite Kaldi’s coffee, whether you brewed at home in March or grabbed a cup to-go from a cafe in September (always made fresh of course). But how? How can our delicious 700 have that same classic chocolate/caramel taste with uniquely fruity notes in every season? The answer is the heart of what our roasting team does here at Kaldi’s every day.
To ensure that 700 and our other blends have the same flavors 7 days a week, 12 months a year, Kaldi’s plans far ahead, continually requesting, tasting, and comparing notes on samples from around the world. We do this so that as coffees go in and out of season, we can continue to provide the blends you love without altering the style and flavor that define them.
But it’s not easy! Like apples or wines, coffees of different origins have vastly different tastes and complex layers of notes, owing to their distinct backgrounds:
- Different genetics (like grapes, there are storied “families” of coffee varieties!)
- Growing conditions (soil, elevation, shade)
- And of course processing (wet, dry, honey, etc.).
Sorting through coffee cherries
This variation is one of our key focuses for single-origin coffees, but presents a puzzle when maintaining the distinct profile of a year-round blend. It’s a bit like hitting a moving target--but it’s a challenge our roasting team lives for.
To keep your blends tasting consistently delicious year-round, Kaldi’s sources and samples a lot of coffee. Sourcing exceptional green coffee is both an art and a science, requiring passion and patience. At Kaldi’s, our supply chain is no mere spreadsheet of weights and dates, but the ever-expanding, ever-deepening network of relationships we’ve built with our importers, processors, and growers. We consider it a labor of love that’s never laborious.
Cupping at origin in El Salvador. Here, we tasted coffees with the specific intent of seeing what would be best for our blends in 5-6 months time
Every bean tells us a story: the countless hands that have cultivated the land, tended the tree, picked each cherry at its ideal ripeness, hands that pulped and washed and raked the beans dry, hands that loaded burlap sacks of green coffee into shipping containers, and finally, the hands at Kaldi’s that grade and roast and cup each lot before it would reach your hands, our guests and fellow coffee-lovers. We try hundreds of coffees to find the ones we most want to celebrate and bring to you.
Sampling a coffee--or cupping, as it’s known in the industry--is more about experiencing the coffee than quantifying it with tests and measurements (though we do a number of those, too). For years, cupping has been an important social ritual in the specialty coffee world, a shared practice across the globe. While some of the exact methods have had to evolve due to current events, the goal and spirit of cupping remains the same around the world and here at Kaldi’s: to share the experience of new coffees with friends and colleagues and mindfully evaluate their attributes. Each coffee’s natural and unique features are intentionally brought out by the cupping process: aromatics, acidity, sweetness, mouthfeel, and body.
The Kaldi’s team focuses on how and where a coffee might be used; although most coffees we cup are perfectly delicious, the questions are always: is it the one for us right now? How will our guests like this coffee? Does it have the right flavor profile to live in our 700, or is it almost too fruity, too chocolatey, too lively? How does this coffee stack up as the “light side” of Cafe Kaldi? An excellent coffee may not fit some or even all of our blends. Sometimes, a coffee that excites our roasters may not be right for any of our offerings at that time (but could still find its way to you as part of our Cupping Room Series).
Sourcing coffees that are not only high-quality and delicious, but also match an established flavor profile for a year-round blend is hard work, no two ways about it. But we cherish the day-to-day routine and ritual of coffee, and we know you do, too. Your favorite cup of Cafe Kaldi or 700 should be just that: the rich depth of flavor you know and love. We hope to continue delivering that experience to all our guests and customers for many years to come.