company - education - coffee

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New crops arriving...

It's been a busy week. Last week and it looks like next week also.

This week, our new premium Kenya arrived in beautiful boxes sealed in shiny bags that popped open with the smell of fresh coffee. We profiled it and I think the final production profile was laid out Saturday morning. There will be more tweaks but I think we found the sweet spot. From that Saturday morning berried vanilla result came a much sweeter and more powerful cup. A tiny adjustment in a variable most have no control over put this coffee on the top shelf for me. I'll talk more about that soon as I have more fresh new coffees coming. Some more vacuum packaged stuff like the Kiandu was and a lot more work to do.

We debuted the newest Kenya, the Kiandu Microlot 9686, in an open house event this Saturday. We received a lot of positive response from the visitors who tried it. It went over great in Syphon but I noticed something odd. A lot of people in this area seem to cringe about Kenyan coffees. It's the acidity issue which I think is a touchy topic. Our fruit in the Kenya is juicy but not the tannin tart acidity you very often taste. To which, the response I have formulated is that drying astringency is not necessarily the terroir of the coffee, quite often it is a byproduct of the roast applied to it. Don't throw out the whole origin based on a few bad experiences. It's hard to get people to try something when previous experiences have been unpleasant. The feedback on this Kiandu was that it was really sweet, really juicy, and we won over more than a few converts to what Kenyan coffees are like in our profile.

Today was also another chance for us to debut our Kiandu at an event hosted by the coffee club at Olin College. We went out and did a talk on everything from processing methods to grinders and brewing. It was a good turnout (by one observer's note, almost 10% of enrollment showed for the event ;)) and we were appreciative of the interest. We kept it free flowing and informal but the audience was great and it was a lot of fun. The Kiandu in Syphon really was the highlight of the tasting though only a few days earlier, I was really sweating bullets over that coffee's roast profile.

That's generally how the business has been as we have fought so much to get up and running. A lot of ups and so many downs but we keep pushing forward. There are moments of doubt, self reflection, and then I just push forward. For that, there is nothing else I can say.

Next week, it will take a few roasts to get the Guatemalan coffees profiled to my overly critical group's liking but the lessons learned from this week will surely be essential to getting those Guatemalan coffees nailed quickly. Keep an eye out for them, we'll be busy working them over.