An opinion on pinon
A Review of Pinon Coffee by Rio Grande Roasters
Posted on 2/29/2016 by Chops
We can all agree that buying local is a good idea. When available, I try my best to purchase most of my regular goods, groceries and beverages from small shops around town. I like to support local business because it helps to boost the regional economy. I have always been a staunch supporter of local craft beer and I have recently extended that rule to coffee. And after several months of sampling my way around town, I uncovered Pinon Coffee by Rio Grande Roasters as one of my newest go-to favorites.
Pinons are pine trees that grow in the Southwest and produce a rather delicious pine nut. Roasting these nuts unleashes a unique and savory flavor that you cannot find anywhere else. As a result, it is quite common to find Pinon infusions in local cuisine and beverages (much like with green/red chilies). Coffee in particular has become a highly prized Pinon combination. After all, what better compliment to roasted beans than roasted nuts.
Rio Grande Roasters describes this brew as "Our most popular flavored coffee. A southwestern classic that captures the taste of toasty pine nuts and a hint of vanilla for a smooth and rich coffee experience. A must try."
Flavor wise, I was surprised to find that neither roast was dominate. That honor went to the woody vanilla notes imparted by whatever the coffee faeries fancied. I do not have a rational explanation as to why, but it was quite delicious nonetheless. As an added bonus, there is no need for cream or sugar because this brew provides a baseline of vanilla sweetness. The roasted nuttiness acts as a savory under layer that will appease any fan of almonds or cashews. My only gripe, if you can even call it one, is that the vanilla aftertaste overstays its welcome. Some might view it as a plus, but I tend to want my coffee to end, thank you very much.
Overall, Pinon Coffee by Rio Grande Roasters is a trusty and reliable staple in New Mexico. Every restaurant serves a version. Every grocery store sells a version. I am lucky enough to find the Rio Grande version at my local grocer and I almost always toss a bag into my cart.
I rated this brew the way I did because Pinon coffees, like all flavor-infused products, simply do not translate well by comparison. Tasty they most certainly can be, but purist champs from around the world will always reign supreme. Regardless, Pinon coffee is always a delightful and satisfying treat. If you ever find yourself in the Land of Enchantment, I recommend trying some of its equally enchanting coffee.