I do not consider myself an expert on coffee. On the contrary, I consider myself very ignorant of the art of making coffee, and my desire to learn about one of my favorite beverages spawned this article. Having shared that, I also may be one of the only regular coffee columnists in the Middle Tennessee area, and I would very much like to do this properly. As someone who writes a column called “Coffee Talk,” I’m interested in other people’s thoughts on local coffee and the merchants who sell it. I’ve heard several accusations against local coffee shops being “Starbucks clones,” finding a repetition of similar flavors that others deem “variety.” You’ll hear some critics share sentiments such as “Real coffee doesn’t have a bunch of syrups” or “Flavored coffee is garbage.” I would consider this a tenet of “coffee purism.”
For the record, I like all kinds of coffee. I’m not partial to one brand or blend. I’ll happily drink coffee with sugar, cream, honey, syrup or nothing at all. I don’t believe in limiting myself in terms of taste, and I don’t think consumers should have to either.
With that in mind, I do feel that subtlety is something more people should look for in their coffee. Sean Hand, owner of Nuance Coffee and Tea and the newest kid on the block, considers himself a “roaster of specialty grade coffees and purveyor of luxury loose-leaf teas.” The mission statement of Nuance is to “bring flavor back to a world of over-roasted coffee, with lighter roasting techniques, and educate coffee and tea lovers worldwide.”
So, how does the coffee stack up? We sampled two coffees from Mr. Hand; his Peru (Cajamarca region) and his Costa Rica (Central Valley). I gave both 4/5 Pulses, with both offering their own subtleties. The Peru offered a faint sharpness (almost a tangy quality), while the Costa Rica possessed its own bitter, nutty quality. Over the two, I preferred the Costa Rican.
I look forward to additional products that Nuance Coffee and Tea will bring to Rutherford County, and I’m excited to see what the future brings for the business.
I’ve already had the pleasure of sampling the coffee stout beer Nuance teamed up with Mayday to make, which is my favorite beer so far.