Christmas & Coffee

Vancouver coffee roasters are out with their Christmas coffees that make for a perfect stocking stuffer while also giving their roasters a chance to try something a bit different from their usual offerings.

While there seems to be no definitive origins of the Christmas blend, it probably came out of trying to emulate the spice mix associated with Christmas drinks found in a winter ale, spiced tea, mulled wine or eggnog.

The tradition was popularized by Starbucks when they introduced their Christmas Blend in November 1985 using coffee beans from Central American and Indonesian with some aged Sumatra. They were later in the news for their holiday blend in 1997 when they tried to protect their trademark for "Christmas Blend" and sent some cease and desist letters to two coffee roasters. They eventually gave up the trademark a year later.

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

With their holiday coffees for 2013, 49th Parallel went to two small farms in Honduras to roast their Holiday Celebration Blend:

"Martir Fernandez and Juan Evangelista are both small-scale producers, and have worked all their lives with coffee production in this area. Until recently, coffee was just a commodity to them, but over the past few years, we have seen them grow interest in producing specialty quality - from picking ripe coffee cherry to doing their own processing and drying."

They also have added an espresso to the mix this year with their Holiday Celebration Espresso which also uses beans from Honduras.



JJ Bean Coffee Roasters

JJ Bean Coffee has their own take on the holiday coffee with their Christmas Reserve coffee with a Dolok Sanggul Sumatra from Indonesia:

"Something deep in our coffee-addicted hearts looks to the Far East around Christmas time. If bright Central Americans are a cold shower, Indonesian coffees are a warm blanket! This excellent Sumatra has tonnes of body and rich flavours of chocolate, cedar, fresh earth, and spice."


Other Holiday Blends

Moja Coffee is producing their annual Roaster Series with beans from East Timor.

Salt Spring Coffee has their Holiday Blend with a combination of beans from Mexico, Guatemala and Sumatra.

Republica Coffee Roasters also had their Christmas Blend with beans from Colombia, Sumatra, Tanzania Ethiopia and Brazil.

While not available in Vancouver, some American roasters producing holiday blends include Intelligenstia and Verve Coffee Roasters both going with a combination of Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya beans.


Seattle Times: Ho, ho, Howard Schultz, it's Christmas Blend time

The Dieline: When Starbucks Goes Red: Introducing Starbucks Holiday 2013

photos, coffee beansLawrence Lee