company - education - coffee

Thursday, September 14, 2006

All about the cup or going beyond the coffee...

After brewing the Yirgacheffe from Terroir and reading Ben's post, I felt some conflicting emotions. I realize how specific these experiences like the Yirg are. We were essentialy pulling it at a hairline temp of 194.5F. We tore through the entire bag for two really good shots. They were really really good and worth all the effort but damn... Sometimes Ben and I just think, how the hell are people able to get this? Over temp and it was astringent and sour, thin and unpleasant. Under temp and it was dull like a tiny french press. You have a +-1F variance to work with and a very specific extraction volume to get these espresso down. The beauty of the Yirg is that it is not lemony and not like the Daterra. The Yirg works really well with a 16 gram dose and lacks that acidity. All this brings me back to something else.

How can a home user nail this? I am firing off a bag of this to a friend who has a common home machine to see if he can nail it. I know he's a good barista but can he nail that shot with only 12oz of coffee? It won't answer the question but it will give perspective fom a clean palate.

Thing is, what if George is right about what he's doing? What if the machines and techies need to catch up to the coffee? George seems to be betting that the machinery will catch up to coffee as the coffee quality leads the demand for better machinery. I don't know if I agree. Things are moving at a snails pace with much resistance. I see that the future is the temp controlled machines down to microvariances under the full control of the barista... BUT... is this happening right now? How close is this for most cafes? Will the cafe's upgrade machines to serve these coffees if no one else is? Name one cafe that is serving this Yirgacheffe and Simon's doesn't count(Simon will try to serve it next week) because i's an anomaly? Pretend Simon's doesn't exist and I would like to know how anyone comes across a good shot of this Yirg except some home user with mad skills or an expensive machine? Not even a perfect but just a reasonably good shot, where? How do you create a better way to serve the Yirg at hairline temps in the 192-194F range if no shops are serving it and you never get a chance to taste it on a pro machine served by a good barista? If no shop is serving it, no one will feel the pressure to upgrade and serve it and then it's up to some super dedicated cafe to 'get it.' These days it seems forums and online websites are leading the way to drive new technology but where is the cafe in all of this?

I really disagree with Ben on one point out of all the good points he made. What if George can't get all that niceness at 198F that he gets at 194F? What if the higher temp kills the aromatics in the Yirg and then it becomes another chocolatey espresso? What if the extra roasting kills many of the delicate flavors but it's alternately easier to pull? It would be a compromise. I don't have answers here, just a lot of questions and an uneasiness with them all.

Ben and I both really think Peter L. deserves the majority of credit for the beauty of the Yirgacheffe as espresso. Don't get me wrong, I have no idea about the inputs but it looks that way from what we know. We secretly think Peter adores the clean perfume Yirgs more than anyone else at Terroir. Peter should also get a lot of credit for the fact that Terroir even does a single origin espresso program. It should be noted that none of what we are saying is in any way leveling a criticism of Peter but more or less attempting addressing all the cumulative questions we have about the direction of these fabulous coffees in a controlled forum rather than CG or coffeed. The irony is that though as Ben pointed out, he liked the previous batch of Yirg from terroir a lot... you know we are very spoiled by these coffees. Terroir's Yirgs truly beat down any other Yirgs I have tasted ever. So comparing one Terroir Yirg to another Terroir Yirg is just being spoiled rotten and not realizing how much muck is out there.

This shot of the Addis Ketema was syrupy sweet and so silky smooth. Creamy & flawlessly smooth in fact. Honey, ginger, cocoa, all the things you find in the cupping notes sparkled and were woven seamlessly into the shot. It was smooth and the aroma was so beautiful. We used a whole bag but it was worth it. On the Synesso, I bet we could bang out shot after shot but how many people have that at home?


jaime van Schyndel


I went into Simon's Friday with Silas only to find Simon had ordered a few bags of the Yirgacheffe and borrowed a grinder from 'uncle phil' no less since the other two are still being serviced. I did not expect Phil to loan Simon the grinder so it was shocking. I walk in and Simon is like 'You wanna dial this in?' and... Peter also hinted on coffeed that they may keep the Yirg as a permanent espresso offering... or at least they are considering it!
Sweet Yirg...