A coffee to stir the senses
A Blend for Each Season
When we were planning Spring Blend, the first coffee in our new seasonal line, we thought about the kind of coffee that we want to drink right now, when the chill of winter is gone and stems are bright with tender leaves and blossoms.
At Blue Bottle, we often think about coffee preferences as evolving with the hours in a day. Morning is for full-bodied coffee with a splash of cream, while afternoons are better suited to livelier single origins or espresso. We also think about coffee preferences as shifting with the harvests, anticipating sparkling East Africa single origins in late winter, and fruited Ethiopia coffees in time for summer.
So when we considered our blended coffees, which often function as mainstays on our menu, we thought why shouldn’t they reflect the distinct seasons that punctuate the year, too?
Because when it comes to taste, our perception of what’s most delicious has a lot to do with timing. Like strawberries in May or crisp apples in September, we believe that there are particular coffees that feel just right to drink for each season.
For our Seasonal Blend debut, Spring, we wanted to make a coffee that comforts during transitory weather, with a finish that progresses toward lightness, as we approach the longest day of the year.
Where Color Meets Flavor
Early in the blending process, we knew we wanted to create an immersive experience by focusing in on the colors and flavors that we associate with each season.
Our quest was guided by one of the industry’s most insightful innovations: the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel. Developed by the Specialty Coffee Association in the 1990s, the Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel underwent a dramatic revision a few years ago in collaboration with the organization World Coffee Research. Sensory scientists identified all of the good and “off” flavors potentially present in coffee, and designers selected colors to match each flavor. The effect is synaesthetic—the sight of “lemon,” highlighted in a shade of yellow that shouts “sour,” is so spot-on that you can nearly feel your mouth pucker.
A Coffee That Evokes Spring
While the gradations of color in coffee itself are fairly subtle, our associations with coffees’ flavors don’t have to be. Drawing from the Flavor Wheel, our in-house designers and coffee team worked together to create a transportive experience, anchored by the coffee itself and heightened by the design of its presentation, including a limited-edition poster.
Colors like pale yellow, tawny amber, and blush pink allude to Spring Blend’s arc of flavor that begins with notes of wildflower honey and butter toffee and ends with herbaceous florality. Like the foundation of winter from which spring departs, a natural-processed peaberry coffee from Brazil gives the blend its soothing sweetness, while a gorgeous washed Bourbon from Rwanda gives its flourish of florality.