Notes from a Tuesday (asides galore)

August 14, 2007

So there I was, giving the roasters a post-lunch warm-up, reading up on some blogs on coffee, innocently getting to the bottom of this Yirgacheffe from 21st Street Coffee & Tea, when

…all of a sudden…

…as if from nowhere…

…with two sips left…

malty overtones! lemons! delicious, delicious lemon-bread!

And there they were, the delicious things I had been expecting from this coffee from the very first sip, had been waiting for, had been disappointed by their absence up until this very moment. Further proof to let your non-espresso coffees cool if you want to really, really get to know them, either on the cupping table, in a ceramic cup, or in a little paper bundle of “i-am-in-a-hurry.”

behold, i am the guilty party.

In any case, I promised I would tell you about the Honduran I roasted Friday. Well. Rich Westerfield stopped in on Friday afternoon to pick up some of the Tanzanian PB FAQ+ I’ve been drooling on about for the last two months, specifically for use as SO espresso. Since we at La Prima are remarkably D.I.Y. (with this remarkable exception), we don’t really have any PID controls or what-not, so I pulled some water out of our little Junior and stuck a steaming thermometer in a pre-warmed cup. Add a couple of degrees for error to 190F, you’ve got somewheres around 197F. Rich? Back me up?

But what was the coffee like, you ask? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you that I still haven’t saved up quite enough pennies to buy a hot water kettle that will give me a more consistent temperature for brewing. I’ll tell you I still haven’t found exactly the right grind on this cheapy McCheaperson Pavoni burr grinder. So I’ve been a teensy bit unconfident in my cupping abilities.

BUT THE COFFEE!???!!!, you demand. Subtly fragrant, chocolate, a touch salty, and a backflush of raisins. Brewing gave more chocolate, but this time with a bit more spice, like a cayenne. Or something sweeter. Then squash. Loads of squash on the break. Winter squash, summer squash, you name it. Smarch squash, Febtober squash, squash. Well, maybe not that much squash. But the body rose up on the palate, like a breaker on a beach. And it sort of tasted like breakfast. A balanced breakfast. With eggs, and french toast with powdered sugar.

So there you go. Maybe with a bit longer development at a slightly lower temp this coffee can do a bit better. Will keep you posted.

And for all interested parties, I recommend you check out this video by the Great Lake Swimmers because I think they are more than worth mentioning. I think they are fantastic.

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2 Responses to “Notes from a Tuesday (asides galore)”

  1. RichW said

    Phil,
    Got your back. Only thing is, we didn’t taste the TP at your place, so we had nothing else to calibrate to. We were just seeing what we got.

    What we were pulling with the TP, regardless of dose/grind, was predominately sour lemon up front and through the body – with the berries coming in at the tail end. We’re not PID’d either, so we were relying on longer flushes to bring the group temp down from our usual 201F (we’re hoping for a GS3 by next spring to do SOs). But we think we got it down in that neighborhood. As a press, it benefitted from cooling a little.

    Interesting you wanted to talk about the Honduran from that cupping. I left my notes at your place, and while all three coffees were good, it was that Chiapas coffee with the aroma of milk chocolate, vanilla taffy and marshmallows that I’m hoping you’ll do something with down the line. The Timor was good too.

    Thanks for letting me join you at the cupping table. If you’re ever looking for company, we’ll there.

  2. tmcclearinghouse said

    It’s lucky you stopped by when you did; the last few weeks have been really bizarre as far as time scheduling goes. I’m trying to start regular Friday cuppings, so I’ll definitely let you know if and when such a thing occurs.

    And for that Tanzanian, I pulled myself a Yirg shot yesterday (two days ago?) that was also just a bit grassy and a touch underdeveloped. I’m thinking the Tanz might be suffering from the same problem, but I’ll get back to you on that.

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