Coffee Cuisine

For the past week, the staff at Daylight Mind Coffee Company’s high-end restaurant on Hawaii’s Big Island have been preparing, or better yet concocting, an eight-course meal featuring coffee in each dish. Not just brewed coffee, they’re using every bit of the fruit from every stage of its processing. Yes, they’re even using the chaff.

The concept for the meal came when Daylight Mind’s owner, Shawn Steiman, and his cousin, Harvey Steiman, the editor-at-large of Wine Spectator Magazine, decided to host a wine-and-coffee pairing event. When Shawn went to his chef, Frank Kramm, to suggest they also create a prix-fixe dinner featuring coffee for the evening, Frank grabbed a menu he’d already developed.

“He tried to use every part of the cherry, which is not necessarily very tasty. The cherry itself, the parchment, the mucilage, the chaff, of course the seed itself in various forms. I said, ‘That is ridiculously novel and creative, I think we should totally pull this off,’” Shawn says.

The creativity starts with the menu opener, a dish Frank calls a reverse macchiatto: a white gazpacho is topped with a layer of foam made from cold-brewed coffee. Later coffee used to smoke a confit pork belly. Other dishes feature coffee cherry butter and coffee cherry jellies. Except for a Sumatra coffee salt, the dishes will use Hawaiian coffees.

The ridiculous comes in the form of a coffee chaff roasted duck, served with caramelized pumpkin. When I asked Shawn how that would be prepared, he said the chef was toasting the chaff and then, well, something would happen with it, probably some sort of crust, maybe.

At the wine-and-coffee pairing preceding the dinner Shawn hopes to show that coffee can be enjoyed thoughtfully in the same ways as wine. It’s also a way to discover what wine and coffee share. “Can we find correlations and differences between coffee, whether by origin or preparation method, and various wines,” Shawn says.

If you have $130 to drop on a great meal ($240 with wine) and a reservation for a flight to Kona tomorrow, there wont’ be a better coffee experience.

Cory Eldridge is Fresh Cup’s editor.