Coffee vs Wine: Duel Of The Drinks
Which one merits more snobbery?
It is not uncommon for wine enthusiasts to gravitate towards coffee and vice versa. The two share many similarities, but they do have key differences, some of which we think, at the risk of ruffling a few feathers, make coffee even more interesting and worthy of geekery.
Both wine and coffee are extremely complex drinks that entice your taste buds and olfactory senses with notes of fruits, flowers, chocolate and more. It is in fact said that coffee is even more complex than wine, creating new and exciting challenges for your palate.
Like wine, coffee is grown in various parts of the world. It has unique characteristics based on altitude, soil and surrounding flora, resulting in a variety of beans that offer a lifetime’s worth of exploration – you’d never have to worry about running out of new coffees to try.
Smell and slurp your drink to overwhelm your senses with myriad flavours. Both wine and coffee are extremely complex drinks that entice your taste buds and olfactory senses with notes of fruits, flowers, chocolate and more. It is in fact said that coffee is even more complex than wine, creating new and exciting challenges for your palate. The extensive and exceptionally useful Sensory Lexicon by World Coffee Research is a great resource to refer to as you go down the coffee tasting rabbit hole.
This is a big one in favour of coffee – as a consumer you have very little control over the taste of the wine once you buy it. Best case scenario, you get to decide when you open the bottle, what temperature you serve it at, whether you choose to decant it or not and what glasses you serve it in. Coffee, on the other hand, opens you up to a world of exploration and experimentation. If you are even remotely a tinkerer by nature, you’re spoilt for choice with different kinds of coffee that you can brew in several different ways. You can buy whole beans, grind your own coffee and then brew it (personally, I highly recommend this – more on this in a future blog post). Many brewing methods – for example, the Aeropress – allow the user to explore multiple recipes where you vary grind size, water temperature, quantity, brew time, etc to really tailor the drink to your taste. You can then choose to add milk/alt milk if you like and that opens up a whole new layer of complexity and interest. If you really wanted to, you could even buy green beans and roast your own coffee. I could go on, but you get the point. This is the aspect of coffee that really gets a lot of people hooked. The pursuit of “The Perfect Cup”.
Coffee and wine are complementary in what they do to you and how they make you feel. While wine helps you wind down at night and relax, coffee gives you a boost of energy to start your day. The scales are tipped in favour of wine here though; you can consume a lot more of it and still feel tipsy and relaxed compared to how little coffee it takes to leave you anxious and jittery.
Once you open a bottle of wine or grind coffee, you have a very limited time in which to consume it. Again, wine has somewhat of an advantage here. As long as the bottle hasn’t been opened and you store it correctly, you can keep wine for several years. Coffee, on the other hand, has a much shorter shelf life. Roasted coffee hits its peak at around 1 – 4 weeks after roasting and then declines quite rapidly over a couple of months. Grind it and it starts to lose flavour as quickly as 15 seconds after, and loses a very noticeable amount within just 2 hours (!) – don’t believe us? Do a quick experiment comparing the coffee brewed with freshly ground coffee to a cup brewed with ground coffee that’s a few hours old. See if you can tell the difference – it’s actually a fun way to start developing your palate too. You’ll be ordering a coffee hand grinder before you know it and when you do, here’s 5 Coffee Hand Grinder Tips.
With coffee consuming so much of our daily lives and routine, likely even more so than wine, could you envision a world where we pay more homage to our favourite daily brew? Weekend brunch coupled with a coffee tasting, coffee plantation getaways, family bonding at a coffee brewery, ritualising your own weekday brew, and so much more…