Talk to many coffee connoisseurs, and the comparison inevitably comes up: It's a lot like wine.
Coffee has tasting notes, just like wine. Wine types have tastings, coffee types have cuppings. Both groups smell aromas, swirl the liquid in a cup, and let it sit on your palate.
Barrington Coffee Roasting Co. is starting to capitalize on some of this. Last week, they held an event where they offered side-by-side tastings of four wines and four coffees. This Friday, they're having one where customers can come in and enjoy some coffee that tastes like wine.
"The goal is for people to have multiple ways of experiencing something," said Maite Santiago, the company's account manager and educator for the Greater Boston area. "We're hoping to give people a space to enjoy craftsmanship, and to look at the parallels between both crafts to help you understand a lot better."
Santiago has been leading the workshop (the one last week was held at Area Four in Cambridge, with Chris Graeff selecting the wines). This week there won't be wine, but there will be wine-like coffee.
"When cooled down and made into concentrate, they taste like wine," Santiago said. "We have one coffee that I'm convinced is whisky every time I drink it. It's unbelievable. I could not believe that coffee could taste like watered down whisky. And it was totally appropriate for me to drink that at 8 in the morning."
Santiago prepares them using a technique called a flash brew. Basically, she uses a Chemex device that has ice at the bottom. That way, the coffee is cold, giving it a different taste that emulates the wine.
"When coffee is cold or at room temperature you can taste way more nuances than at the hot stage," Santiago said.
This all sounds very high-minded and exclusive. Like if you showed up and said this finely made coffee tasted like cherry bubble gum, you'd be excluded. Or if you didn't sip it the right way, you'd be shunned. That's not the case, Santiago insists.
"I enjoy coffee but I don't think we have the spaces where everyone is included," Santiago said. "I would love to strip away the intimidation."
"It's important to enjoy craftsmanship, but it's also important to be inclusive in that process."
The coffee tasting is on Friday at Barrington's store in Boston, at 346 Congress St. It's free, and will last from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.