In a country where it is almost an act of patriotism to fuel every day with a double-double from a drive-through, can people be encouraged to vary their coffee habit?
For the make-it-simple crowd, home machines that make one cup at a time are popular choices. At the other end of the spectrum, roasting your own beans is becoming popular among coffee purists.
For the middle-ground coffee drinker, grocery stores are focusing on premium varieties to compete with Starbucks, Second Cup and Tims. Tims has jumped into the specialty coffee business with “value-priced” espresso-based drinks such as lattes. .
Here’s a look at three caffeine-fuelled trends:
Custom cups, made at home —Two main developments in coffee-maker technology in the past few years have “grown the category,” says Daryl Katzenberg, a buyer for Kitchen Stuff Plus, a 10-store discount kitchenwares store in the Toronto area.
Single-serve makers, which use a sealed “pod” or tiny cup, are appealing to customers who like the convenience and variety they offer.
At the other end of the coffee-maker market, fancy espresso machines are increasingly popular, thanks to new technology that makes them easy to operate and also can brew multiple cups quickly.
“The computer chips that come in them could drive your car,” says Katzenberg.
No matter what pod model you buy, you have to get it — and the coffee — through the manufacturer or a company licensed by the manufacturer, says Katzenberg. “Coffee companies win big time.”
Also, each cup can cost $1, whereas buying coffee by the pound and making a pot costs pennies a cup.
He also thinks most households will still need a drip coffee-maker. In his house, his wife uses a single-cup maker on a daily basis. “But when we entertain, we have to bring out the drip coffee-maker.”
Coffee School: Educate your coffee palate — Loblaw is trying to sway people toward new higher-end products in their house brands.
“People are eager to drink better quality coffee,” maintains Laura Sliapnic, who is the chain’s product developer for coffee. Sliapnic, whose mother is Colombian, is passionate about coffee. “We always had really good coffee at home.”
Coffee comes in countless varieties and each has its own signature flavour profile, says Sliapnic. “It’s very similar to tasting wine.”
Roast your own: it’s just like toasting bread — Coffee purists are increasingly buying green beans and roasting their own.
“We sell more unroasted coffee than roasted coffee,” says Larry Solomon, president of Green Beanery, which bills itself as Canada’s largest online retailer of coffee and coffee equipment.
Solomon says the difference between regular coffee and that made with freshly roasted beans is like “the difference between freshly squeezed orange juice and the canned juice we used to drink.”
Is it hard to roast beans?
“It’s as complicated as toasting bread,” he maintains.
Green Beanery sells a large lineup of roasters starting at around $100.
Roasting your own offers several taste advantages, says Solomon. Green beans keep much longer because once a bean is roasted the oils turn rancid more quickly. As well, big manufacturers tend to under-roast their beans so they keep longer. “If you roast it at home you can let the oils come out.”
“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.” That’s how 19th-century French philosopher-politician Talleyrand described coffee. He would have appreciated these coffee-based treats.
Lemon and Coffee Cake
500 ml (2 cups) sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) softened butter
2 eggs, beaten
75 ml (1/3 cup) sour cream
250 ml (1 cup) milk
750 ml (3 cups) flour
10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
Lemon Coffee Icing
Juice of 1 lemon
30 ml (2 tbsp) strong coffee
50 ml (1/4 cup) softened butter
500 ml (2 cups) icing sugar
Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).
In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and sour cream with an electric mixer. Stir in milk and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking powder. Blend into butter mixture gradually, beating until smooth. Add lemon juice and rind. Mix well.
Pour mixture into a 23-cm (9-inch) buttered round cake pan. Bake for 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Spread with Lemon Coffee Icing. Sprinkle cake with chocolate vermicelli.
Icing: Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl and strain to remove pits. In a food processor, cream lemon juice, coffee, butter and half the sugar. Whip in remaining sugar until mixture is thick and creamy. Spread cake with icing.
Chill for 2 hours. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Cafe Latte Steamer
250 ml (1 cup) strong brewed coffee
15 ml (1 tbsp) sugar
500 ml (2 cups) milk
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
In a saucepan or large glass measuring cup, combine coffee and sugar. Gradually whisk in milk until blended. Heat in saucepan over medium heat or in microwave on medium (50 per cent) power until steaming, 3 to 5 minutes.
To froth: Using a battery-powered latte whip or a whisk attachment on an immersion blender, whip hot milk mixture until frothy. Or transfer to an upright blender or milk frother and blend or pump until frothy.
Pour into 2 warmed latte bowls or large mugs and sprinkle or drizzle with cinnamon.
Makes 2 servings.
Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada, www.dairygoodness.ca