Thursday, 18 December 2014

Notes Coffee

Cheese and coffee tasting

So, thanks to Notes, I've had a mini revelation. While it is a universally acknowledged that the greatest pairing on the planet is between cheese and wine, a partnership that is almost unheard of, is coffee and cheese. Time for all you skeptics out there to put your doubts to one side and listen up!

Notes have a few branches dotted about town but unlike many other coffee shops out there, it has its own roastery where it can produce the coffee they serve. Fabio Ferreira, our coffee and cheese connoisseur has a family run coffee plantation in Brazil which provides Notes with each and every bean. 

Growing up surrounded by coffee, it wasn't until many years later when he was travelling in Italy that Fabio discovered his love for the Italian way of drinking coffee. Unlike Brazil, where it is drunk primarily in the home, in Italy coffee forms a core part of social activity, lounging in cafes, or a quick sip to catch up with friends.

First up, we tasted Finca Pantanal Coffee from La Paz in Honduras, paired with a Cotherstone Cheese from Durham. The slightly sour lemony flavour of this cheese complimented the sweeter apple undertones of the coffee. Here we had our initial taste of the art of matching. Your instant Nescafe and whatever cheese you have in the fridge probably won't hit the spot. It takes a little more attention to detail to make sure the pairings go together

Don Mayo coffee from Tarrazu in Costa Rica was next on our caffeinated journey with a generous slice of Cornish Yaaaaaaaaaarg. (Or Yarg, but who doesn't love a bit of word elongation)! This was a much milder cheese and I could have sat there nibbling away all evening. The coffee had an intense and deep flavour to it, the sort that makes you want to bury your head in the bag ..

The lovely Maria had the same feelings and her nose was quite rightly deep in the Don Mayo coffee bag, inhaling the vanilla and pineapple aromas just about noticeable among the beans.

So, as it turns out, coffee and cheese actually do go rather well together. Perfect for that after dinner chill out time. The bitterness of black coffee is offset by the creaminess of the cheese which combines in your mouth to give a taste not hugely dissimilar to a milky latte but with oodles more intensity. So there you have it, try the sour with the sweet, the fruity with the creamy and the bitter sweet with the strong. It’s all about finding the combination that brings out the best in each. 

Last but certainly not least came the espresso. This certainly packed a punch but when teamed with a hard Parmesan dipped in chestnut honey (flowery acacia just won’t do it), the taste sensation you’ll discover is quite unlike anything I’ve had before. Your eyes pop from the coffee hit, your tongue tingles from the sweet nutty honey and then the cheese swirls its way amongst it all. Yikes!   

After all the coffee, I was positively buzzing. Unsurprisingly, sleep was a total no-go but hey, at least I didn’t experience any cheese provoked nightmares. Instead, I lay in bed creating an imaginary cheese board and dreaming of winter evenings cuddled up next to my imaginary fire. My super strong cup of imaginary black coffee would be made from my not so imaginary bag of Don Mayo beans, but using my very imaginary coffee grinder.

If you fancy getting on board the choffee/ Coffeese train, pop over to Notes for a class. There is certainly an art to it, so a little nudge in the right direction won't go amiss! You can also purchase your very own bag of beans, and they'll happily grind them for you if a coffee grinder hasn't yet made it onto your list of essential items .. but hey, Christmas is just around the corner!

And one last thing .. Notes is open until 10pm where you can also find a great selection of food and wine if you've had enough of coffee for the day!


  1. looks like an excellent idea! I love coffee and chocolate, but don't remember ever pairing coffee & cheese, normally I do wine & cheese :D

    1. I know .. this is a crazy new arena! Thanks for reading :) x