In this day and age we tend to rush everything. We want everything instantaneously, but sometimes it’s best to slow things down and enjoy some quality time. This is exactly what Nespresso aims to achieve with their limited edition aged coffee range. The Selection Vintage 2014 coffee is the latest release by Nespresso and promotes the ageing process as something of beauty, rather than something that we should shy away from. They celebrated this theme recently at a night simply titled, An Ode to Ageing, reveling in the ageing process to create culinary delights worth the wait.
Held at the quaint Mille Vini in Surry Hills, the night started off with a talk by sommelier Chris Morgan who spoke about wine culture in Australia. He informed us that in Australian wine culture we do not produce or buy bottles of wine or champagne that require ageing. Instead we grow varietals that are ready to be released from purchase. What this means is that the complexities of flavour and the changes which come from ageing wines and champagnes are lost on ready to open bottles. When it came to tasting the Pierre Peters ‘Grand Cru’ Blanc de Blanc, Le Mensil-sur-Oger and the 2008 Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc, Bouzy, the difference in the complexties and tastes of the two bottles was astounding. Once I had the understanding of how to taste the subtle notes and bouquet of each, it became clear of how superb the soft, rounded flavour of the aged Andre Clouet was.
Kristen Allen then presented to the group the aged cheese section of the evening, which were paired with the wine and champagne we just sampled. Presented to us was a platter which featured a Taleggio, a Gorgonzola Dolce and a Comte Gruyere. Each of these cheeses were accompanied by an impassioned explanation by Kristen about the origins and the ageing processes of each. The taleggio is matured in caves in Lombardia over a period of up to ten weeks, as per tradition. The Gorgonzola Dolce is also produced and aged in Lombaria, among other places in Italy. It has a 60 day maturation period which makes it a softer flavour than other varieties of gorgonzola, but it still has that salty, spicy, creamy flavour you expect from this type of cheese.
The final cheese, the Comte Gruyere, was perhaps my favourite. A semi cooked, harder cheese, the Comte is aged anywhere between 4-18 months. Apart from it’s more milder taste in comparison with the other two cheeses, I think it was the ageing process that really tickled my fancy. Kristen explained to us that there can be ten thousand of these cheeses ageing in cellars of castles in France and Switzerland. If that doesn’t sound like a foodies fairytale, then I’m not sure what is.
Finally, we were educated on the intricacies of ageing coffee and the processes to bring out the flavours that are so different to the average cup of coffee. For me personally it was my first attempt at coffee tasting, which is not dissimilar to wine tasting. Specialist glasses were created as to bring out and highlight the aroma and taste of the coffee. We started with Nespresso blend Rosabaya de Colombia. This blend was a fruity cup with hints of cranberry and raspberry sweetness. We started with this blend as to create a distinction between the normal Nespresso range and the aged Selection Vintage 2014 range.
The moment came where we got to try the long awaited Selection Vintage 2014, a first of its kind to the Australian coffee scene. Coffee expert Mitch Monaghan described it as being like the chardonnay of coffee, with a woody, nutty taste with hints of oak it was unlike any coffee I had tasted before. The effort of ageing the coffee can be sensed with the first swirl of the glass which releases the unique aroma and the first sip to taste the delicate flavour notes from the beans.
The process that they went through to create Selection Vintage 2014 included finding the right beans that can be aged, along with working with Colombian farmers to learn more about their growing processes and how Nespresso could work with them on creating their limited edition blend. The coffee beans themselves were grown at an altitude of 2,200m above sea level then stored and aged at 3,700m before being processed. They were kept so high so that there was a lack of oxygen and moisture in the air to let the coffee beans truly develop their flavour during maturation. These are extraordinary lengths to go to for a cup of coffee, but when you taste the Selection Vintage 2014 blend, you will understand why. Take a mindful 15 minutes to sit and enjoy a moment of peace with this aged masterpiece.
For more information on the Nespresso Selection Vintage 2014 blend, go to nespresso.com/au/en/selectionvintage