The Story Behind the Flavors of Spring

Dreaming of Cherry Blossom

The Story Behind the Flavors of Spring

Our very own Cherry Blossom Blend

Months before D.C.’s cherry blossoms even begin to unfurl—when hardly an early daffodil can be found anywhere in the District—the Compass roasting team is already hard at work dreaming up the season’s very own Cherry Blossom Blend.

“The Cherry Blossom Blend is meant to get people excited,” Chas Newman, production manager here at Compass, likes to say. He describes the Cherry Blossom Blend as a bridge between the dreary months of winter and the lazy days of summer, a drink to set the tone for the entirety of the season.

In order to distill the beauty and magic of spring into one cup of coffee, the roasting team looks to the city’s blush-hued trees for inspiration. While the blend always manages to embody the warmth and sweetness of spring, it’s actually a little different each season. Every year, the roasting team takes a fresh approach, adding a twist of excitement that pays tribute to the history of the buds, but also to the specific year in which they bloom.

Cherry coffee beans for Compass Coffee.

What makes this year different

This year, the team wanted to capture the sense of anticipation that has come to define, for many, the moment we’re currently living through. For a spring that holds the promise of joy and brighter days on the horizon, this year’s blend has all the signature brightness and fruitiness that you’ve come to associate with the blossoms, with the addition of milk chocolate undertones to balance and compliment the cherry notes.

“We wanted to make this year's Cherry Blossom Blend an especially approachable coffee,” Chas said. “After a year like we've all had, we wanted something that, like the cherry blossoms themselves, can be enjoyed by all. We hope that this year's blend has served as an exciting reminder of happier, brighter days ahead.

The Cherry Blossom Blend achieves its rich cacao and berry flavor thanks, in part, to the origin of the beans. This year, the roasting team mixed together a combination of beans from South America and East Africa.

“The East African beans contribute to the bright berry, fruity flavors and aroma,” Chas said, “while the South America coffee adds a balanced, subtle, chocolatey finish to the blend.”

Compass Coffee Cherry Blossom Blend tin.

More than just a blend 

Spring is, of course, also the kickoff to cold brew season. And, here at Compass, that means it’s the annual debut of our customer-favorite Cherry Blossom Cold Brew, which is made from our classic cold brew topped off with splashes of our vanilla and cherry blossom syrups (both of which are made in-house!). Our petal pink cherry blossom syrup is even crafted using actual Japanese cherry blossoms. Just like the blend, the syrup is a reminder of the friendship and renewal that inspired Japan to give D.C. the trees over one hundred years ago.

Spring at Compass also means the return of our house-crafted mint and lavender syrups, which Chas recommends enjoying in a refreshing mint cold brew or, for those cooler spring days, in a warm lavender honey latte.

The focus is, naturally, on the flavor profiles, but it’s also on the experience. The spring menu plants the seeds for a sense of community that gets watered and nurtured throughout the summer as tourists and regulars walk through the café doors and converse over cups of coffee. That feeling of community, which is rooted in the history of the cherry trees, is one that Chas said the roasting team has been especially treasuring and anticipating this season. The spring menu capitalizes and encourages this sense of flowery kinship.

“Compass feels most like what I always think of Compass as in that wonderful May and June time when everyone’s super excited about the fun times of summer,” Chas says. “Cherry Blossom Blend is the thing that gets us to that point, that gets us out of the cold and gray winter and reminds us of the beauty of spring.”

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