More Than Caffeine - Coffee as Soul Food
We drink coffee for various reasons. For some of us, it is a simple matter of consuming caffeine to kick start our day - and mood. If you're lingering around here, there's a good chance you also enjoy the nuanced flavors present in coffee. Drawing from our ancient traditions of tea ceremonies and breaking bread as a means of covenant, coffee has become a ritual of self-care and community for us as well.
This week's featured coffee checks all of the above boxes. As I've sampled coffees from roasters across Tennessee, a few have stood out as particularly exceptional. La Belle Noir was one such coffee. Roasted by French Truck Coffee in Memphis, Tennessee, La Belle Noir is a deeply flavorful blend of beans from Ethiopia and Latin America.
Roast level: dark
Origin: Ethiopia & Latin America
French Truck's notes: bright fruitiness, dark berry, cocoa, smooth
My notes: balanced, so good I almost cried
As with all the coffees I discuss with you, I first sampled La Belle Noir black, brewing it in a standard electric drip coffee pot. I ground the beans just before brewing and used a ratio of 8 oz of water to 2 tbsp of coffee. This is one of the simplest, sloppiest ways to brew coffee, without definite control on water ph balance, temperature, weight of water or beans, or brewing time. It's also one of the most common ways to brew coffee at home. If it's good this way, it can only be improved by intentionally controlling any of the variables I just mentioned or by "upgrading" the brewing method, to a pour over or espresso machine for instance.
So what did I get from my simple, sloppy brew method of La Belle Noir? It was so good I almost cried. Yes, I got my caffeine kick, and, yes, it was an enjoyable flavor. But what wowed me most about this coffee was the comfort in each sip. In the South, we are known for our "soul food." More than a recipe to follow (probably fried and/or involving copious amounts of butter), these foods seem to be made with love, and it is evident in every bite. It feels good for our souls. That's what La Belle Noir is like, sans butter.
For the sake of experimentation, I also tried La Belle Noir cold... again, in what might be the laziest way possible to make a cold coffee. I had a bit of drip brew left, so I put it in a sealed glass bottle in my fridge for a few hours. Pass the tissues. It was amazing. After drinking this coffee in multiple brew methods and temperatures now, I can't say which I enjoy best. They've all been enough to bring a tear to my eye.
Amy, Founder of Red Eye Bistro