Nearly everyone is familiar with the look and aroma of a roasted coffee bean, but could you identify a coffee plant if you came across one in the wild? When it comes to drinking coffee, C. Arabica and C. Robusta are the two most prominent species used to make the caffeinated concoction we love, but did you know there are more than 6,000 species of tropical trees and shrubs that make up the Coffea genus and up to 100 species of coffee plants? Kauai Coffee is the largest coffee estate in the United States, with 4 million coffee trees planted on nearly 3,000 acres of Hawaiian volcanic soil. We grow Arabica coffee and cultivate several varieties, including the unique and delicious Acaia.
Where Does Coffee Come From?
To understand where the Acaia variety originated, we have to travel back in botanical history to the ninth century. Coffea Arabica is native to Ethiopia. The earliest legends about the discovery of coffee didn’t appear in writing until the 1600s, but one details the story of Kaldi, a goat herder who lived in the Kingdom of Kaffa in the 9th century.
One day while herding his goats, Kaldi noticed an unusual amount of energy and noise coming from his herd. He realized they had been eating bright red berries from a group of small shrubs and decided to try the fruit. Not long after tasting the beans, he felt the energizing effects of caffeine for himself. Upon this discovery, Kaldi pocketed some fruit and took it home to share with his wife and monks at the monastery.
Coffee was first transported out of Ethiopia to Yemen and then around the world. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, Coffee transported from Yemen to Java by Dutch sailors resulted in Typica varieties. Coffee transported by the French to Reunion (Ile Bourbon) resulted in the Bourbon derived varieties we know today.
Variety is the Spice of Life and Coffee
Coffee varieties are groups of plants that are smaller than a species but share some characteristics that are similar and some that differ from the species. It may be helpful to think of coffee varieties the same way you do about grapes and wine. For example, you may be familiar with some of the grape varieties that make wine like merlot, chardonnay, and zinfandel. While they are all grapes, the subtle differences in how they grow and taste make all the difference in the wine they produce. The same is true for coffee.
Acaia Coffee Flavor Profile
Acaia is a unique variety because it is derived from a cross of Typica and Bourbon varieties. It originated in Brazil and is a cultivar closely related to Mundo Novo. Acaia produces a larger bean and fruit. It has a sweet fragrance with hints of chocolate, caramel, and nut, finishing with bright citrus and sweet tea-rose as it cools when roasted. Kauai Coffee Acaia brews a smooth, frothy cup with flavor attributes of milk chocolate, mocha and caramel notes. The finish is bright and sweet.
Foods to Pair with Acaia Coffee
Pairing coffee like a pro is fun and easy. The best way to pair coffee with food is to think about layering similar or contrasting flavors. Pair similar flavors to build depth, or contrast flavors to set the pair apart. Acaia’s sweet chocolate and caramel flavor notes and bright finish make it an easy and versatile coffee to pair with food.
- Chocolate pastry + Acaia: If you like to start your morning on the sweeter side, pair a cup of freshly brewed Acaia with a dark chocolate scone or croissant. The buttery, flaky pastry and semi-sweet chocolate will amplify the chocolate and caramel notes of the coffee for a lovely layer of flavors.
- Savory hashbrowns or home fries + Acaia: Is there a flavor pairing more delicious than salted caramel? We think not! The caramel undertones of acaia pair beautifully with savory breakfast dishes because of the contrast between the sweet and salty notes. Swap potato for taro in your morning hash or homefries for a double taste of Kauai!
- Berry french toast or ice cream + Acaia: Acaia has a bright, citrusy finish that layers well with berries, citrus, and other sharp flavors. Enjoy a freshly brewed cup of Acaia with a berry french toast, pancakes, or as a dessert with a cup of berry ice cream on the side.