The day when top restaurants will propose an impressive wine list, a unique food experience and Grand Cru Coffees…
Having lunch and dinners with fine wine merchants, I am always amazed when we are served a poor coffee after having tasted first growth Bordeaux wines and Grand cru Burgundies. The experience is even more difficult after having spent 4 years as president of the Cafeology Academy of coffee, an academy that delivers prizes to the best coffees in the world. Most of the time, between wine experts, we like to share experiences we had recently with some wines. At the restaurant, it is not uncommon you share these ideas with sommeliers who are in charge of making proposals for the wine you will be served with your food as well as preparing it (tasting, decanting...). It is a great enjoyment for wine lovers to share with these people as their knowledge is broad and updated. Sommeliers have the chance to taste on a regular basis a large range of wines from all over the world, to discuss with vintners, to visit properties and understand why the wine tastes differently here than in any other property.
After having made a tough choice between a large offer of wines (wine experts are always long to make a choice in restaurants, they do not agree about the vintage and so on...), you start tasting and sommeliers come to your table to give you some more information. They talk about the taste and move to terroir expressions, the fact that soils are very important and give a unique taste to the wine depending on which location the vineyard is. They explain that, plot by plot, the grapes can express different aromas and show a more or less intense minerality. And then, after this lovely food and wine pairing experience, all this should end up with the proposal of having a "Ethiopia or Guatemala?" coffee.
At this level of knowledge and understanding (from both side, sommeliers and wine lovers), you would expect more than "here is your coffee from Guatemala" sentence. No word about the terroir, no word about the producer, no word about the area and nothing about the vintage. Could we imagine today, in a top restaurant, being served a wine without knowing anything else than the country it comes from? A team from the francogerman TV channel Arte came yesterday to Paris for a brilliant Coffee Grand Cru Tasting to which I attended. We tasted impressive coffees from Panama: one obtained 1st Growth level ranking according to the academy's criteria and another the 2nd Growth level. Like great wines, great coffees do not come cheap. The prices for these coffees go up to 300US$ per kilo directly from producers. And after tasting these coffees, the whole TV team was keeping asking: What are top restaurants waiting for to serve these coffees?(You can reach the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org)