Sunday, June 11, 2006

spice trade blend

[part two of my earlier post on blending]

so if you guessed the ethiopia harar with the sumatra mandheling you'd be correct. i had the most basic moka-java type blend in mind: the deep resonance of a smooth java with the wild gaminess of a coffee that hailed from the cradle area of coffee. dark and fruity, what a lovely combination. at least on paper. here's what really ended up going down in the form of good news and, well, not bad news, but interesting news.

first, the good news. a really beautiful synergy of differing characteristics showed up.

but the surprise twist? the interesting part? not very much of what i expected to show up, showed up. at least not the way i expected it to.

instead of heavy earthiness contrasted with sweetwine fruitiness i got lemon rind sweetsharps with dry, cedar-like tastes that really kept the juiciness i was expecting from the harar in check. in fact, the more the cups cooled the drier the tastes got. here are my descriptor notes, in order of appearance.


-creamy base--taste for butter

-medium body

-good acidity, liveliness, movement

-a touch spicy; blends well into berried fruit medley like yogurt covered blueberries dipped in coffee

-cedar starts to pull away as it cools...starts to dry out like lemon rind mixed with crushed blackberries

-super ripe strawberries and cedar

-not as syrupy a leave as sumatra usually is. dryness prevails

[now as it's beginning to cool...]

-a high dryness in the leave, way afterwards

-really dries as it cools, very dry now, almost tannic.

-lemon-cedary, piney fruitiness, pinenuts meets...pineapple?

-more now as it cools like a mellow malabar type fruitiness would a raspberry/blueberry/strawberry mixed with the coffee.

-has an oatiness (dryness)

[by this time it's nearly tepid and i've cupped all the cups to the grounds]

-blueberry oats now as it's fully cool. almost a saltiness in the oatlike tastes.

-dry...not a juicy, syrupy leave like expected.


i don't usually capture that many taste/flavor descriptor notes when cupping. but i was so intrigued by what was being presented that i just sat down and began to cup and slurp and actually "drink" this coffee from the cupping spoon.

i have said in the past that blending can be a cop out, to be undertaken if you have something to hide. i know that there are some folks doing a great job really pulling the best profiles from certain coffees to create very interesting blends highlighting tell tale characteristics from certain growing regions. and after my little experiment with my basic 50-50 blend, i might (emphasis on MIGHT) make a more concerted effort to explore this art/science a little further.

so i may post this blend for sale for a limited time on my website and see if there are any takers.

...only now, what to call it? any suggestions?


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