The Art of Coffee with Escape

Photos—Catherine Marois

Awakening the Senses

It may seem challenging to identify the aromatic palette of your coffee when you're half-awake. Without knowing it, we often drink coffee that's roasted to the point of being burnt. As a result we get our daily dose of caffeine, but we lose the natural aromas found in our morning drink.

In an effort to better understand the origin of coffee beans and discern their varieties, the Montreal micro-roaster Escape, which supplies our cabins with delicious coffee, aims to reduce the level of roasting of the coffees it distributes to extract all the flavors.

So, we invited them to BESIDE Habitat for a cupping workshop (coffee tasting). Comparing different coffees is a good exercise to better understand their aromatic profiles, identify what sets them apart, and recognize the expression of sweetness, bitterness, acidity, and body. Here's what we learned:

The Aromatic Palette of Coffee

Aromas: The aromas of coffee change depending on factors including the origin, the variety, the fermentation process, and ultimately, the roasting itself. By drinking coffee conscientiously, you can better discern its flavor components: acidity, bitterness, sweetness, saltiness, umami.

Similar to wine, try to name the flavors that the coffee evokes, such as flowers, citrus, nuts, or chocolate.

Acidity: Roasting coffee beans at a low temperature preserves the natural acidity found in the fruit, which is largely influenced by its origin. When focusing on acidity, try to identify hints of citrus, small fruits, fresh fruits, or candied fruits.

Bitterness: Bitterness is natural in coffee and can be accentuated by darker roasting. Try to perceive the bitterness of dark chocolate or roasted nuts.

Sugar: Like any good fruit, coffee contains natural sugars. These sugars can manifest in various ways in the coffee's aromas and influence the expression of other components of the coffee's aromatic palette. Try to recognize the taste of refined or raw sugar, candies, or fruits.

For example, if you want to describe a coffee with acidity reminiscent of apples but also very sweet, you could call it apple pie (or applesauce).

Body: The body of coffee refers to the texture it presents, both visually and in the mouth. It can have a very liquid and light texture, reminiscent of tea, or on the contrary, it can have a very dense, silky texture that may even seem creamy at times.

The Coffee at BESIDE Habitat

The coffee in the BESIDE Habitat cabins is a Caturra from the Tolima region in Colombia. Its medium roast allows for an extended development period of the beans to enhance the sweetness and body. In the cup, this coffee is both complex and versatile, sweet, with notes of dark chocolate, candied cherries, and honeydew melon. It can be brewed as an espresso or a drip coffee.

How to Choose Your Coffee for Better Enjoyment

Selecting Your Coffee and Brewing Method: All coffees can be brewed using your preferred method – drip, espresso, pour-over – but their brewing parameters vary for optimal taste. For example, a lightly roasted coffee, appearing paler, requires a longer brewing time than a darker roasted coffee. You should also ensure you have an appropriate grind according to your chosen brewing method. Espresso machines require a very fine grind, while drip coffee machines prefer a coarser grind.

Provenance and Transparency: Do you know where your home-brewed coffee comes from? Specialty coffee seeks to better understand the supply chain and ensure that all people involved at each stage of production receive their fair share. This concern for fairness and transparency allows consumers to access this information, which is normally available directly on their coffee bags or on the roasters' website.

Environment: Coffee beans travel a long distance before reaching your cup. Consuming coffee consciously also means understanding the ecological footprint of your coffee and trying to reduce it as much as possible. Here are various initiatives that Escape takes to reduce its environmental impact:

  • The bags are compostable.
  • Reusable seals help avoid the use of single-use coffee bags for commercial customers.
  • Deliveries are made with an electric vehicle or by bicycle whenever possible.
  • Carbon-Neutral Certification: Escape offsets its carbon dioxide emissions with donations to Carbone Boréale, whose mission is reforesting Quebec's forests.

Escape is a Montreal micro-roaster that conscientiously chooses products, collaborators, packaging, and delivery methods. Its coffees are prepared by hand in small batches.

To savor the candied cherries aromas of our coffee while watching a fire crackling or the leaves falling, come stay in one of our cabins this month. We offer you a 30% discount on weekday stays throughout the month of November with the promo code RELAX30.


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