Friday, June 09, 2006


i'm penitent over what i said a couple months ago about guatemala coffee in particular and over centrals in general. i recall posting something to the effect that these coffees are handled so well from start to finish that you forget how lovely they are and actually get bored of them when you are trying to decide which of your coffees you want to drink.

i bought some guatemala from sweet maria's a few weeks back...from fraijanes. i first roasted and cupped it back then and was impressed by its range for a guat. i noted its cupping score on my scoresheet, filled a few orders for it from some customers...and forgot about it.

until yesterday. i'm trying to compile a basic espresso blend for a potential client. he currently has a beans supplier that is a long way from here and he would love to get more local.

actually, a little back story. i never go up this particular road in san antonio. i just never have occasion to. only last week i decided i was going to go hit a newer coffeehouse and a top-end new cafe as potential clients and i saw as i was driving by a little yellow coffee shack. made a mental note to swing back by on my way down and went about my way.

well, after my visits (and some really, really poor espresso...another story), i pulled into the small lot at the portacoffeebuilding and walked right up to the drive-thru window. confused, the owner opened the window and asked, "can i help you?" realizing my mistake i put my hands on my imaginary steering wheel and ordered a double espresso. he laughed and obliged.

nice sweetness in the midranges. maybe a little too long a pull or the temp was too high. more acidy bitterness than i wanted. but not bad. fairly full crema that didn't disintegrate upon seeing the light of day. a decent, round feel on the palate. and a nice linger.

anyways, we chatted a little bit about his espresso; i revealed that i roast "for a living;" he asked me my story and i asked his, etc., etc., etc. then he asked me straight up if i could duplicate that shot. i asked him the blend's general parameters and he obliged--

--and so i came home and fired up the roaster. a little of this. some of that. a dash, maybe, of the other. and some of that guatemala.

so yesterday i'm cupping these and now i fully remember why i got this guat in the first place. totally unusual for a guatemala, with a real fruity presence. not juicy, mind you, fruity. it was a veritable liquic trail mix in the mouth: dried pineapple, papaya and mango with some little drops of chocolate and nuts to round out the lower end. (it was the "nuts" and "chocolate") component keeping it from being juicy.)

it roated up perfectly to a city++ with no quakers and no visible defects on the beans. sometimes when you drop a batch of beans into the cooling tray you just sigh a sweet pleasing sigh because you know you've got a winner.

i'm tempted to give him just the guat to try as an s.o. espresso. but i'll blend up some options and we'll go from there. and since a sum is only as good as its parts, i'm pretty confident, guatemala in hand, that we'll get to something that strikes his palate just right.

i know it did mine.


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