company - education - coffee

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The fleeting moment

There are times when you doubt solid moments had before. Times where you get testy with yourself and you really begin to wonder if some things are worth chasing. We've had a few of them.

There was a roaster, once upon a time that we had faith in. It was a few moments of excellence that gave us that faith. A sampling here or there of coffee that was unique and really provided a startling look at something different.

The problem lay in the fleetingness of those moments. A one off bag that just rocked an amazing character and then disappeared leaving you wondering if it ever existed in the first place. One after another, we bought sample after sample to share with friends in travels and were sometimes flat out embarrassed by the results or lack thereof. This further stressed an already testy relationship but that's not what the post is about.

One of those defining moments early on was a Yirgacheffe as SOE. A WP Gr2 that on the cupping table was somewhat boring but in the espresso machine was singing. After experiencing this, I remember telling the company owner how I loved Yirg for the aroma above all else. The aroma? He looked at me with a confused sort of 'You don't get it' look. He was right, I didn't get it but equally, I thought he must never have experienced it as a shot the same way I just had. It was part of a turning point where our paths diverged and our group set out in a different direction.

Today, after more than a year from that experience, I had another one off experience that reminded me of that Yirg moment. I was grinding a bag of Yirg for a customer and I smelled that floral note. Defined and present, it was obvious but at first I thought I was delusional. I mean, I have tried this coffee several dozens times since that experience and it had nothing in common with that fleeting moment and yet, maybe... As soon as I finished, we grabbed several retail bags and began furiously pulling shots. Four shots in, a matter of fact 'there it is' was blurted out as I could smell it in the pour. That heady nose of floral was back and leaping out of the cup.

I was dumbfounded. I chuckled and listened to my cohort describe 'apple jacks' aroma and malty brown sugar in the cup. I mean, you have to be kidding me! After months of lemon ginger blah, I get this... It wasn't perfect but it was there and I had to wonder if this was the same coffee. I left a bag in the hopper and then promptly took the rest of the bags for myself! I hope the remaining bags are the same but I don't pin much hope on it as I have learned to simply enjoy those experiences these days. The rest of the night was simply spent chuckling at the silliness of it all.

BTW twas: 1.5oz 28sec 17g 196F