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Hi.

Welcome to Lattes, Life & Luggage! I’m Christine and I share my adventures traveling and navigating this crazy thing we call life.

An App For Tailored Coffee Recommendations

An App For Tailored Coffee Recommendations

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One thing I really want to start doing more is exploring different coffee blends. As much as I love coffee, I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't put much effort in expanding my palette to try new flavors. It's not that I'm not interested, I just don't think about it regularly. I have one drink I order from Starbucks (a non-fat latte) and a second as a treat for when fall rolls around. If I'm in an independent coffee shop or a restaurant, I typically just order a cappuccino or get their dark roast. Having favorites is totally fine but sometimes you get stuck in the habit of only ordering that one drink. Well, this post is to help change that. Do you know there's an app that can help you discover new blends? Ok, maybe you did but have you heard of Smart Coffee in particular? This was my first experience with an app that gives customized recommendations in general. I've done wine quizzes and order from ClubW once in a while but that's the extent of this kind of thing for me. So when the company reached out to me to try it for myself in exchange for an honest review, I had to accept. I was too curious not to. I'm glad I did because I received a really great package of coffee from the process.

Smart Coffee was created by specialty coffee pioneer Paul Katzeff of the Thanksgiving Coffee Company. The Smart Coffee feature allows you to choose the mouth feel, acidity and flavor notes that you prefer in your coffee. Once you have chosen your flavor profile, Paul will recommend blends that you can create yourself at your local grocery store’s bulk coffee bin. The app allows you to learn how roast color, processing and country of origin influences coffee flavor. Explore coffee terms, photos from origin, and learn how to think like a coffee professional from Paul. I don't have an iPhone so I wasn't able to experience the app in its entirety but there is a web version where you can get coffee suggestions based on your preferences. Let's walk through, shall we?

1. First choose between Bright & Lively or Heavy & Mellow. I prefer Heavy & Mellow so that's what I selected for this run-through.

2. Next is the type of acidity. I think I chose Blueberry/Strawberry for sweet & sour notes when I originally did this but this time I chose Cedar/Oaky for a more earthy/spicy combination. My taste preference changes by the day.

3. After the acidity, you choose the flavors that you like best. I always choose chocolate, berry and toasty. Sometimes I'll swap the berry for roasted chestnuts but not today.

4. After those three steps, you're given a profile. It's much more detailed but here is my summary. If you don't feel that this explains you well, you can go back and make selections all over again.

5. If you do like your review, you move on to the final step which is choosing your blend. As you can see above, it will give you a little information about each one. Clicking on it will take you to the Thanksgiving Coffee Company website so you can choose the way you like your coffee (beans, french press, etc) and finally have some for yourself.

The blend I chose when I originally took the quiz was the Mocha Java. The Mocha Java combines two of the finest coffees in the world, sourced directly from the farmers who grow them. In the mountains of Ethiopia, ripe coffee cherries are picked and dried in the sun like raisins to produce a syrupy sweetness and distinctive jammy fruitiness. In northern Sumatra, farmers produce a distinctive wet-hulled coffee, an earthy, caramel-toned coffee with heavy body and notes of sweet spice. Brought together for the Mocha Java blend, the two coffees play off of each other to create a powerful complexity of chocolate and berry sweetness, buttery-rich body and sweet earthy hints of sweet ginger and cardamom. See the full description from the package in a photo below.

I ordered this coffee for a French Press but I also made the ballsy decision to try it in my Keurig which was a hot mess. Quick tip from experience, only use regular coffee grounds in your reusable k-cup. The larger ones made for something like the French Press will turn out watery and gross. I swear I could dedicate a week of blogging to bloopers. After my ingenious mistake of using the grounds in my Keurig, I made it in my French Press and it was a whole different experience. The coffee came out smooth and silky and the flavor honestly blew me away. It was tangy and bold with a hint of tartness. That tartness gave the coffee a bright quality. I've been using Starbucks and Caribou k-cups lately (thank you Costco) so this was a treat for me. Here's what I love about making great blends in a French Press. You have total control of how strong you want your coffee to be. Leave it steep longer for a more bold drink or press early for something lighter. You can have a different experience each time you make coffee, kind of like the Smart Coffee app. This feature is basically introducing you to a new world of blends and flavors. If your taste changes regularly like mine, your results will almost never be the same giving you a different coffee experience each time. It makes the journey that much more exciting.

I really enjoyed working with this app. I can't use it to its full extent because I have an Android instead of an iPhone but the web version is such a great tool. This is how I was able to choose my blend through my flavor profile and that's where those screenshots came from. What do you think? Is this something you'd be interested in trying?

Thank you to Smart Coffee and Thanksgiving Coffee Company for providing me with the Mocha Java blend complimentary for an honest review.
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