This Beloved Liquid Magic...

I apologize in advance for this little rant before I get to the point of this blog post, but Instagram has been throwing us all off lately, and this numbers game has got me unhinged! I remember when I first started posting on instagram - I was so excited because it was such a unique platform to display my ‘art’. I never tracked how many followers I would get per post, how many likes, comments and impressions, how many minutes it took me to hit 100 likes, how my profile is looking compared to others. Instagram’s new algorithm means that nothing is chronological anymore and basically the ‘bigger’ accounts get more exposure than us ‘smaller’ accounts. And truth be told I didn’t even realize how haunted I was by all this until my numbers started dropping. It’s always eye opening and a good reality check to shove you back into place and remind yourself of why you started what you did in the first place.

So go ahead Instagram – Make it all business and numbers. I’m going to close my eyes and sit here in denial… Keeping it all about the creativity, art, flatlays, foodporn…. And coffee. (I didn't need much practice, that's pretty much how I live my life anyway!).

 
 

This was exactly what I needed to remind myself that starting a blog was in fact the best decision I ever did make, regardless of how many people read it. It’s no secret, I love my coffee, if you were to walk a mile in my shoes you would most definitely end up in a small, cozy coffee shop....  Before the latest hotspot in the city for dinner, of course.

A while ago, Coffee Planet took me on a tour of their roastery, followed by my first ever single origin cupping session AND my own customized blend of single origin coffee beans to-go. Cleia Junqueira – Coffee expert, Roast master, WBC certified judge and Licensed QGrader… (Basically, she knows her S***)… broke the process down for me and showed me how each step is perfected.

Now… I’m a huge coffee snob, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I really don’t know much about coffee. Always wanted to take some courses and get more knowledge on the topic or do a barista course etc. but nothing ever seems to work out/I can never seem to find the time – So this invite was right up my alley, a crash course, if you will.

 
 

Coffee Planet uses all Arabica beans and blends, which is a species of coffee. Arabica beans have a sweet, soft taste, with tones of sugar, fruit, and berries. Then depending on how darkly roasted, they also release chocolatey and nutty notes. (I’m definitely a medium roast kinda girl).

Cleia personally travels and sources Coffee Planet’s single origin beans by meeting and keeping good relations with coffee farmers on the ‘bean belt’. Beans are stored ‘green’, a state in which they can be kept without loss of quality or taste.  A green bean has none of the characteristics of a roasted bean - it’s soft, spongy and smells grassy. Roasted beans smell like coffee (aka the best aroma on the planet), and weigh less because the moisture has been removed, making them brittle. The difference between perfectly roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds.

 
 

Some roasted coffee from each batch is then analyzed, measuring the roasting color, moisture and size to maintain quality control. Cleia then carries out a cupping session for each batch for her own reference to maintain consistency in flavor. This involves deeply sniffing the coffee to identify the fragrance, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue (not as easy as it sounds, after being told not to my whole life, I think I’ve forgotten how to), in an attempt to measure aspects of the coffee's taste - specifically the body (texture/mouthfeel) such as oiliness, sweetness, acidity (which is measured by salivation) and aftertaste. 

Pairing coffee with dessert… Is where I come in. The trick behind pairing anything is to choose flavors that compliment each other, not clash with each other.  So lighter roasted coffees with acidic tones would pair well with citrus, meringue and fruity desserts. Medium roast, full body coffee is mostly buttery, silky and heavy in the mouth, with hints of chocolate and nuts/spice, it tends to go well with creamier desserts like New York Cheesecake, and Tiramisu. Medium to dark roasts that are full body and have bold chocolate and nutty flavors pair very well with chocolate and spiced desserts that have equally bold complimenting flavors.

 
 

My customized blend of coffee was very low in acidity, medium roast, full body with mild earthy nuances. After having it every morning for several days now, I came up with a rice pudding recipe that compliments it really well!

So here goes:

 
 

Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:

2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup pudding rice
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
3 heaped tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup full or double cream milk
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons mascarpone
1 egg yolk
Zest of half a lime

Method:

1. In a nonstick saucepan mix together the coconut milk, full cream milk and whipping cream along with the cinnamon stick, vanilla pod (split down the middle), sugar and pudding rice. Do not rinse the rice in advance as the starch helps to thicken the mixture. Place the saucepan on high heat until the mixture reaches a boil, turn down the heat and mix well with a spatula so everything is blended together. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the rice is soft but not mushy.

2. While you wait, whisk together the egg yolk and mascarpone cheese in a small bowl until aerated and pale, fold in the zest of half a lime.

3. As soon as you remove the rice pudding from the heat, mix in the egg mixture and serve.

My favorite thing about this recipe is it's not too sweet, acidic or spicy. It's creamy, textured and the zest really brings it to life. PERFECT with an earthy blend of coffee beans.