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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At Monday, 23 April, 2007, Blogger Ben C. said...


Another interesting thing to consider... these coffee were roasted on 4/10 (or 4/9 in our time)...It's already 12~13 days old when you got it. And it has been ship 1/2 way across the globe then endure another trip from WA to TX. If you have anything left... let it age even a bit more and you will see the power of this roast style.

The Idido Misty Valley started its life as GR.1 green. This is the special grade that is usually reserved for Japanese buyers. I believe some US buyer were able to source some too. It's already presorted at the mill for minimal amount of defect. Simon then sorts it more... bean by bean. Maybe he can chime in on his rejection rate. (BTW, his rejection rate for a previous CoE offering is around 20%).

Then he roasted it to a "medium" roast level. At this level, the top end acidity and aroma dimished a bit (from his "light" roast) but the sweetness and depth is increased. Please do not judge the roast level by Agtron/color. It's rather meaningless if you do not know the roast profile.

This coffee is designed to shine in the vac-pot. In the pour-over, the deep sweetness and tartness is decreased somewhat. But imagine what you tasted but amplify... that is what it was meant to be.

Email me offline for more details =)


At Monday, 23 April, 2007, Blogger 4-Arts Zero Defect Coffees said...

Hi Aaron,

Ben C. has already provided lots of info about the Idido Misty Valley DP Gr.1, except for the rejection rate for this...well...The harsh truth is, the longer you keep the greens unsorted, the more things you will need to remove to achieve a stable zero-defect coffee. At first, when I got the fresh Idido Gr.1 DP, I only needed to reject for around 8~10% of it. But as time went by, this shipment to your hands had been sorted to a rejection rate of 30% or so...I didn't weigh it then though.

And of course it is a DP Yirg. you can easily identify this when you grind and smell the dry fragrance. Very DP!

And to make a DP coffee roasted to this stage and make it look like a WP thing is tricky. Not only need a very carefully prepared green, but also the pre-roast and post-roast sortings by myself. I know this is insane to do it all by myself alone, but I don't care since I do this to promote clean coffees "idea" and ppl who buy my coffees recognize my thoughts and enjoy what they can get from the clean thing.

Obviously, I'll need some clever sorting robots connected to my brain to do the sorting thing if my business grows too large and can maintain the same standard that I required for "zero-defect" coffees. But we'll see then...Right now I only care who else in this globe can appreciate this work and am willing to hear more on the other side.

Thanks for your review. If there's any question, feel free to let me know.

Simon Hsieh


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