James Aitchison

James Aitchison

Recent Posts

A Beginners Guide to Wine Tasting: Tannins

June 17, 2019

Even if you only have a passing appreciation of wine you’ve no doubt heard of tannins. Pretty much any description of wine characteristics, involves a mention of “tannins.” But what are these mysterious substances, how do they affect the taste of wine and where do they come from? Read on to find out.

What are tannins?

Tannins are compounds called polyphenols that create a dry, grippy texture and a bitter, astringent flavor in wines. These..

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A Beginners Guide to Coffee: Nicaragua

May 29, 2019

The Nicaraguan coffee industry is fast developing a reputation for its high-quality beans and environmentally responsible output. Nicaraguan coffee is beautifully balanced with a reputation for sustainability and is well worth seeking out.

History and Production

The first coffee plant was brought to Nicaragua at the turn of the 19th century, and the country started large scale coffee production in the mid-1800s. While that may seem like long ago..

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A Beginners Guide to Coffee: Rwanda

May 29, 2019

It may lack the big profile of neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia, but Rwanda is fast building a reputation for high-quality and delicious coffee.

History and Production

Coffee trees were first introduced to Rwanda by European missionaries in 1904. It was only decades later in the 1930s when Rwandan coffee production kicked into high gear. The industry continued to grow, albeit slowly, until the 1990 civil war devastated the region. In the wake..

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A Beginners Guide to Cheese: Feta

May 27, 2019

Nothing brings a salad together like feta. This delicious cheese has its origins in ancient Greece and has gone on to become one of the country's defining foods.

History and Production

The first mention of a cheese resembling feta dates back to the 8th century BCE in Homer's Odyssey, and there are records from the time suggesting that feta was a common product. The name “feta” is Greek for “slice” which refers to the manner in which the..

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A Beginners Guide to Coffee: Mocha Java

May 26, 2019

 

Not to be confused with the chocolate-based mocha beverage, Mocha Java is arguably the worlds most famous and oldest coffee bean blend. A truly multicultural combination, Mocha Java is a blend of Mocha beans from Yemen and Java Arabica beans from Indonesia. Both these beans are regarded for their quality, and when combined together they make for an incredibly tasty cup of coffee.

History

Coffee has been grown in Yemen for centuries, but the..

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A Beginners Guide to Vinho Verde Wine

May 24, 2019

The temperature is rising, days are getting longer, and all the trees are flowering, in other words, summer is just around the corner! This means it’s time to start exploring some of the ways to keep refreshed during the hot months. Possibly one of the best wines to enjoy in the warmer months is Vinho Verde. Wines from this region in Portugal are crisp, refreshing, and slightly effervescent, and best of all ubiquitous and affordable.

Vinho..

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How to pick the right coffee grinder

April 27, 2019

While pre-ground coffee is convenient, nothing beats the flavor of freshly-ground beans. To get the best out of coffee you should aim to grind the beans just before brewing. Roasted beans gradually lose flavor over time but grinding accelerates this process. Ground coffee has a larger surface area and oxidises quicker thus losing a lot of flavor. For this reason, it’s best to purchase whole bean coffee and grind it as needed.

Types of coffee..

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A Beginners Guide to Soave Wine

April 19, 2019

Today we’re going to take a look at an Italian classic: Soave. This wine is made from Garganega grapes and produced near the Soave village in Northern Italy. This region is known for its zesty white wines that pair wonderfully with Italian seafood. The hills around Soave are volcanic, which makes the region particularly fertile. Combined with the Italian climate, this makes for ideal vineyard cultivation conditions.

Types of Soave

Far from..

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A Beginners Guide to Goat's Cheese

April 18, 2019

Getting a bit bored with Brie and looking to broaden your cheese horizons? Then it might be time to branch out and try some goat's cheese. This flavorful cheese is also called chèvre which literally means “goat” in French. Chèvre is often used to refer to the entire range of goat's cheeses rather than just a specific type of cheese or regional variety. Slightly lower in fat than cows milk Chèvre is a lighter cheese that’s best enjoyed in the..

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A Beginners Guide to Nero d'Avola Wine

April 11, 2019

Today we’re discussing one of the most important wines in Italy, Nero d’Avola. This grape is predominately grown in Sicily and results in a bold, powerful red that combines fruity notes with a spicy, peppery finish. The grape, which thrives in dry and arid conditions is perfectly suitable, for the hot Italian landscape. It is also grown in California and Australia in limited quantities.

Flavor Profile

Nero d’Avola is a particularly..

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