James Aitchison

James Aitchison

Recent Posts

A beginners guide to coffee: Kenya AA

November 12, 2017

After spending some time exploring Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and Harrar, it’s time to head south and consider the contribution Kenya has made to the world of high-end coffees. Kenya AA often regarded as one of the best coffee beans in the world. Several factors such as growing conditions, processing, and grading all contribute to the inherent quality of these sought-after beans.

History and geography

 

Despite the fact that coffee beans were first..

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A beginners guide to Grüner Veltliner

November 12, 2017

While it may lack the intense mouth-puckering qualities of Muscadet, Grüner Veltliner is a fairly dry white wine in its own right. This wine is grown almost exclusively in Austria and is arguably the country's most famous grape variety.

 

Initially Grüner Veltliner was considered to be a fairly unremarkable grape. However, in the late 1940s cultivators began to discover its hidden benefits. Since then Grüner Veltliner has become highly..

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A beginners guide to coffee: Ethiopian Harrar

November 5, 2017

Along with Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian Harrar is considered to be one of the best coffees in the world. This reputation is well deserved: Harrar is spicy and full-bodied with an almost wine-like texture and taste.

Region and growing conditions

 

Harrar coffee beans are one of the oldest still in production. The beans are harvested and processed by hand. Not only is the bean used for coffee, but the shells are also used to make hasher-qahwa, a..

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A beginners guide to Muscadet wine

November 5, 2017

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been spending a lot of time discovering sweeter wines that really pack a fruity punch. Today, however, we’re going to step over into the dryer end of the taste spectrum and explore one of the most mouth-puckering whites around, Muscadet. This French classic is known for its supreme dryness and works extremely well when paired with all manner of foods.

 

Muscadet is made from Melon De Bourgogne grapes which thrive..

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A beginners guide to Carménère wine

October 28, 2017

Today we’ll be exploring a wine that started life in the old vineyards of France but truly began to flourish when it was exported to the new world. Carménère was originally grown in the Bordeaux region of France but is now a major Chilean crop.

 

Carménère’s continued existence is a bit of a happy accident. About 150 years ago, Carménère cuttings were mislabelled as Merlot and shipped to Chile. Then in 1867, the Phylloxera plague wiped out..

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A beginners guide to coffee: Arabica and Robusta

October 28, 2017

Even if you’ve only had a passing interest in coffee, chances are you’ve heard the terms “Arabica” and “Robusta” mentioned in relation to coffee. Far from being a single crop, there are in fact two distinct species of coffee beans each with their own unique characteristics.

 

Arabica

 

There’s a reason coffee companies will proudly declare that their beans are 100% Arabica, this is due to the fact that Arabica beans are considered to be the..

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A beginners guide to Carignan wine

October 22, 2017

Today we’re going to looking at a wine that beautiful pairs with all the wonderful flavors of fall: Carignan. This wine is mostly produced in Southern France and is often used as a blending grape. It’s also grown to a lesser degree in Spain and Italy. In the past, Carignan was unfairly considered to be a lesser wine. However, in recent years, vineyards have started to embrace the wine's powerful flavors and are producing a number of highly..

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Three white wines to enjoy in the fall

October 22, 2017

The leaves are falling from the trees and crunching underfoot, the days are getting shorter, and all the fall-themed flavors are in abundance! As the seasons turn and the temperature needle starts rapidly dropping, we find ourselves stepping away from our favorite summer drinks and foods. I know summer is truly over when I switch from iced to hot coffee. Similarly, for many wine lovers fall is the perfect season to switch from chilled white..

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Three fall-themed punches to get you in the holiday spirit

October 22, 2017

Regardless of whether you're hosting a Halloween party, a Thanksgiving event, or a plain old social gathering, punch is a pretty much perfect communal beverage. Tasty, affordable, and abundant, punch is a convenient and fun way to keep your guests hydrated — not to mention mildly inebriated!

So if you’re on the lookout for some suitable fall-themed concoctions, look no further! Here are three punch recipes that will keep your holiday party..

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A beginners guide to Tempranillo wine

October 12, 2017

Today we’re going to be looking at — and hopefully tasting — the quintessentially Spanish Tempranillo. This grape is primarily grown in Spain and Portugal and is a common ingredient in other wines such as Rioja and Syrah. While not particularly common, Tempranillo is also made into a single varietal wine.

 

Over 80% of Tempranillo production takes place in Spain with the remaining 20% occurring in Portugal, Argentina, Australia, and the United..

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