‘When we shift our perception, our experience changes’.
That’s exactly what Toby’s Estate has done, with the launch of their Shift series of coffee. Essentially, the project sets out to challenge our perception via the coffee experience. Volume 1 confronts traditionally held views of Brazilian coffee being dominated by chocolate and nutty flavours. I’m the first to admit that it’s never been my coffee of choice when selecting beans for home brewing, and I tend to associate Brazilian beans with blends that work best with milk. Over recent years I have been fortunate to meet farmers and agronomists like Luiz from Fazenda California, who have demonstrated the wonderful fruit flavours Brazilian coffees can exhibit following anaerobic fermentation. In short, Toby’s Estate presented 3 unmarked bags, in which only one would contain the Brazilian coffee. I unashamedly admit I incorrectly guessed which one of the 3 the Brazilian was. As it happens, all three bags contained naturally processed beans—and they all took me by surprise. I went as far as sharing the experience with fellow coffee enthusiasts, each of whom were as surprised as I was, upon discovering the coffee beans smelling like Kinder
Surprise chocolate, and tasting like orange and papaya was in actual fact grown at 1100 meters above sea level in Minas Gerais (Brazil). What was even more surprising, was that one of the alternative coffees in the box was from Myanmar, and tasted like a rainbow of flavours.
I have no qualms about having my views confronted. I’ve long thought that complacency is a dangerous state to be in. While it’s well and good to find a comfort in stability, at times we need to push the boundaries, and step outside the box to see things from another perspective. Who knows, you may end up finding you now enjoy what you once would have passed on. I know I did. I’m not too proud to admit it, and I am grateful to have had the experience, and taken home a valuable lesson applicable to life in general.