What is this Stuff: New Mexico Pinon Coffee

Trader Joe’s is a wonderful store to find oddities. Especially so if you only visit about every six months or so. It’s like a completely different store. Something you loved is gone and replaced by a bizarre product you might just have to try. That’s my Trader Joe’s experience anyway.

I ran across this and was intrigued:

Pinon Coffee

Pinon coffee? What is this stuff?

As a dedicated coffee junky I had to pick up a container and bring it home to try. The most well-known coffee adjunct in the United States has to be roasted chicory, which is popular in the southeast and most notably in Louisiana. If you have sat down for beignets and coffee at Café du Monde in New Orleans than you have had chicory coffee. It is said that chicory gives coffee a chocolate undertone and softens the bitterness.

Pinon coffee is similar to chicory coffee in that it uses a non-coffee adjunct. In this case it is the edible nut of the Pinus edulis tree that grows in the high desert of the American southwest. The nut of the tree is roasted and incorporated into a ground Arabica coffee.

The result? Pretty damn good. In terms of aroma you would think that you were about to drink a coffee flavored with chocolate or something nutty like hazelnut. None of that follows through in the taste, which is very coffee like.

It’s not something that I would seek out on a regular basis or pay a premium for, but if I find myself in a Trader Joe’s sometime soon I might pick a can. Or two because you never know when Trader Joe’s is going to just yank the rug out from underneath you.


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