Monday, April 23, 2007

two surprises

i know. shut up.

through one of those quirky twists of fate, i was uber fortunate enough to have been the accidental recipient of two very different but very cool coffees. long story about the winding road of the u.s. postal service, taiwanese characters and confused identities. suffice it to say that the two coffees, one a 20% kona blend supposedly designed for espresso and the other a very cinnamon-ey ethiopia idido misty valley, were both right on the money in their respective ways.

a brief word about the two. i didn't formally cup the 20% kona (yet) but i tried it from the overcup pourover at cone filter auto drip grind level and 195F water. very slight agitation and just under a two minute dwell time created a smokey (it was roasted oily dark) but intensely sweet concoction. as in, i was wide eyed at the clarity of sweetness achieved from such a dark roast. was not put through the paces on an espresso machine; but i'd be insanely curious to see those results.

second up was the ethiopia idido misty valley. some quickfire thoughts: unusual coloration of the roast. very light; very uniform; very surprising for what (i assume) is a d.p. coffee. a tribute to fastidious pre and post roast sorting? i cupped a line of six of these in a row and found unrivaled uniformity in every cup. no sign of off or renegade defects in isolated cups. it was radically cool. another stunning thing was the clarity these cups had almost immediately. i typically expect and see clarification coming about a third of the way down the tasting cup as the liquid cools. these were straightaway clear as a bell. and also unusually and delightfully "backward." what i mean is that a typical cupping session might consist of coffees that sweeten as they cool, displaying molasses, honey and the deeper sweetnesses as the temperatures drop. this coffee was sweet from the get go with (i hate to use the tired description of) strawberries, butter/cream and jasmine. only as it cooled did the sweetness tarten out a bit into a faint hint of lemon, lemongrass, cedar or, OR! lime in that sweettart way. lemon is too strong a citrus. lime fits the bill for this much better. this coffee surprised me. the hot water smell was raisins and plums. the break showed that cedar/lemongrass sweet tart streak and the first slurps were mild strawberries and cream. strawberries and cream? it was very buttery/creamy, i say. and even now, thirty minutes after, what a pleasant leave. it still tastes like strawberry shortcake piled with sweet cream. i scored it a 91.

i guess that's what no defects and a light roast put to superior coffee will do for you.

i need more info on this coffee? is this bagersh? is it indeed d.p.? if so, how many fingers were ground down to the nubs to sort this coffee? i applaud simon (the aforementioned taiwanese source) for his tireless efforts at clarity through exhaustive de-defecting. superb job. superbness shows in the cup.

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