company - education - coffee

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fatigued in Porter Sq

Rwanda, Shanga. Yeah, that's what I want to talk about today. This Rwanda, I really enjoy whereas others I did not. As a drip it was light nut and dark berry but nothing that jumps out and no poetry here. Subtle but with defined body.

So Rwanda Shanga as a shot.... The thermocouple was registering at 172-4F. I freaked out a bit at first, but then it made sense, this is probably a really light roast and why not? I don't think anything shocks me anymore. Plush round, sweet, full bodied concord grapes with a hint of nut. Very signature clean grape, zero roast flavors. Problem is, it was a fine line between clean grape(yummy) and beefy savory grape(blah). The fact is you cannot take any coffee, any roast style, any machine to get the same results. Temperature specific, roast specific, coffee specific. It only works with super clean defect free coffees roasted to highlight the cleanliness and not to add roast (choco, etc) flavors.

So this got me thinking. Clarity. Clean. That is the essence of the coffee from Terroir(and quite probably why I can pull these shots). Some say over processed, some say too light, yadda yadda. That's the kicker though, if you cup super clean defect free coffee all the time, defects will jump out at you. Uncontrolled ferments, over roasting, unripe cherries, muddy cups all scream out at you like a muddled cup of unrefined flavors. When people talk about Harrars or Yemeni coffees and esprecially 'blueberries', I cringe. It's like eating a mouth full of slightly mouldy fruit and proclaiming the complex flavors therein. Well, I exagerate a bit, but you get the point. The truth is, if you didn't really know where the blueberry was coming from and couldn't associate it with rampant ferement, you would think blueberry. (Try draining your drip tray into a water jug for a week then smell it...) I mean, what if a lot of the body/flavors in your favorite coffee is coming from defects that have been roasted over to give a heavy bodied earthy/spicy flavor? How would you ever know the difference? What does this mean?

I guess what I'm saying is, at some point we need to really reevaluate what coffee is and what espresso is as cleaner and more defect free coffees enter the market(think CoE). Our traditional roasts and extraction methods may prove poor methods to create a diffinitive difference in the final cup for the consumer($5/cup for that?).