Coffee for Wine Lovers

Hedonic Coffee is for people who want to explore the sensory nuances of coffee in the same way they approach wine—as a meditative ritual, an experience of mindfulness, an attentiveness to one's own subjectivity. Most of all, Hedonic is an experience of pleasure.

Hedonic’s founder, Kim Westerman, started her love affair with wine in the early 1990s when she first traveled through Italy, tasting everything from world class Brunello and Barolo vintages to the rustic local wines of Liguria, Lazio and Sardinia. She got her sommelier certification in 2002 and began writing about travel and wine for Forbes and other national and international publications. Somewhat by accident, she started working in the coffee industry in 2015, as a cupper and sensory analyst, becoming a Licensed Q-grader in 2016.

Once Kim got deeper into the sensory realm of coffee, she began to notice the crossover with wine in every cup. One day, it all clicked:  A Sumatra Mandheling on the cupping table had the same savory earthiness as a Cabernet Franc from Bourgueil, and a crisp, juicy Kenya Komagogo had a bright resonance evocative of a Vaudésir Grand Cru Chablis. She’s never again looked at coffee without thinking of its wine parallel.

Just like wine, coffee comes from fruit! Great wine comes from the fruit of carefully tended grapevines, and great coffee comes from the fruit of carefully tended coffee trees, of which there are many varieties and cultivars. Coffee and wine also share many sensory properties, such as aroma, basic tastes (sweet, tart, bitter, salty, umami), acidity, body, texture, flavor, and finish. And just like wine, coffee's unique sensory properties come from the terroir in which it is grown, as well as its processing and roasting (similar to viticultural and vinicultural practices in wine).

Just as winemakers put their stamp on wine through the nuances of the vinification process, the fruit of the coffee tree is processed in a variety of ways, from classic washed processes to sun-dried “naturals” or one of many new experimental processes involving fermentation with wine yeasts, anaerobic fermentation, or other processing innovations.

Once wine is bottled, you simply need to store it correctly, then serve it at the optimal temperature when you’re ready to drink it. This is where coffee and wine diverge. Coffee has to be roasted and brewed in order to enjoy it, and either of these can make or break a great coffee experience.

Roasting is where Hedonic comes in. Hedonic Terroir-Driven Coffee approaches each green coffee as the unique agricultural product it is. We look at the coffee’s terroir, what varieties it’s comprised of, its specific sensory attributes, and how it was processed to get a sense of what roast profile speaks to the coffee’s best expression. We work through as many roast profiles as necessary to settle on the one that lets the coffee speak for itself.

We’ll leave the brewing to you, but we offer tips for best brewing practices here.