This week, Nespresso is launching their new Master Origin range in Australia. The seven new coffees are designed to showcase the vibrant landscapes, rich cultures and specialised farming practices from some of the world’s best coffee sourcing regions.
I had the enjoyable job of styling the launch dinner event and thought it might be interesting to share my insights on how the coffees influenced the visuals of the event and my tips on how to style a table for a communal dining experience.
Telling a story
A culinary journey of the world
The intimate launch dinner was inspired by the stories and processes behind each of the Master Origins coffees and allowed guests to experience a culinary journey around the world through Nespresso coffee.
The event’s menu – created by renowned chef Mike McEnearney – along with the styling, represents the coffees’ communities and incorporates a key feature of each culture’s origin: communal dining.
At the heart of this dining experience is the concept of creating space for delicious food, engaged conversation and human interaction. The act of sharing embodies tradition, connection and family, and passing food around the table creates a social and shared experience. It’s the antidote to being distracted and less socially engaged when we’re staring at our phone screens… especially at the dinner table!
Sustainable and Fairtrade
100% of the coffee in this range was sourced through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program in collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance. The program fosters long term relationships with farmers, and helps to implement sustainable farming practices to protect the surrounding landscapes whilst improving the yield and quality of harvests. All of this contributes to better livelihoods of farmers and their communities. The Master Origin range includes Nespresso’s two first ever permanent Fairtrade certified coffees.
How to style a communal, shared plate dining experience
When styling a beautiful table for a communal dining experience, be conscious of the space required for shared plates and guests interacting with each other. Although, gorgeous abundant flowers running the length of the table would look amazing, they aren’t practical in this scenario. Guests will be passing food and engaging with others across the table so styled elements should be grouped together rather than spread out.
I confined the styling elements to round wooden boards that were evenly spaced down the centre of the long communal table. At a table for twenty there were 7 boards. On each board was a candle in a glass hurricane lamp, a simple glass vase with trailing foliage and an aroma jar holding coffee grounds from Nespresso’s Master Origin range.
Keeping flowers and/or foliage low in height is conducive to sharing food and to guests connecting and conversing with those opposite them. Rather than being the focus of the table, the styling should serve to enhance the sense of community and connectedness and support the food as the hero.
Further emphasising the natural and earthy feel of the sustainable sourcing story, the place cards were made with magnolia leaves with names hand written on them, and plates were handmade ceramics.
How to incorporate global style without cliché
When approaching the styling think about the essence of the culture and country rather than wholesale cultural appropriation. The 7 coffee stations at this Nespresso Master Origin Launch Event are a conceptual reflection of the countries of origin of each new coffee blend. They are styled to be contemporary visual interpretations of traditional craftsmanship, colour palettes and key concepts for each country and flavour.
Styling a dining experience led by a cultural theme will create ambience and can reflect a globally inspired menu. A theme can add structure and atmosphere and can be achieved in a low key sophisticated way – forget sombreros and paper garlands! They are possibly the immediate – and definitely the clichéd – things that come to mind when thinking of a Mexican theme.
The styling of the VERTUO Master Origin Mexico vignette references the strong history of traditional Mexican crafts like embroidered folk textiles and basket weaving, together with the intense woody flavour notes of the double washed Arabica coffee. Similarly the Master Origin India vignette steers away from the more cliché ‘elephants and sarees’ idea, and instead focusses on the essence of the wet monsoon winds on India’s Malabar coasts where the local Robusta beans are cultivated to create intense and spicy flavour.
A sophisticated, contemporary themed dining experience can be created at home based on using these well-considered visual cues and colours. The table and styling at a communal gathering takes second place to the shared dining experience which has been enjoyed in many cultures for centuries and is at the heart of human connection.
The Nespresso Master Origin range is available now – click here
All photos by Scott & Co, courtesy of Nespresso.
Disclosure: this post is in collaboration with Nespresso. I only partner with brands that are a good fit with We Are Scout, our aesthetic and what you, our readers, enjoy. Styling choices, words and opinions are all my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that allow me to keep on scouting.