Thursday, March 23, 2006

Guatemalan coffee never tasted so good

Today, my girlfriend said she needed some coffee so she could stay up to get her work done. I told her I would roast some for her. She said I didn't have to(considering the weather.. and general work involved). I insisted and asked what she wanted. She told me she truste me to choose for her. I eventually coaxed it out of her that she wanted something with a lighter body. I went home and looked, and decided on Guatemala Acatenango Cooperative from SweetMarias.

Set up the popper, stir rod, measuring cup, and chair to go to town. I pre-heat the popper, since it's snowing outside at this point. Dumped in the beans, and let 'er rip. It took quite awhile to reach first crack. I'd say 8 or so minutes, though I had forgotten my timer this time. Roasted it to about City +. It had only a couple of hours to rest.

Took it to my girlfriend's apartment, and ground it , and brewed it . Grind to somewhere between cone-drip and espresso, toss in the filter, and brew it up.

Pour her a cup and have her taste it. Too hot. Add milk and sugar. Pour myself a cup. Taste it..

It's got a good balance. Medium body, good acidity without being overpowering (which is why I was never a fan of Guatemalans in the past.. the acidity was always too much the focus), and a good overall mouthfeel. The flavor wasn't very crisp, but there were hints of medium acidity fruit. Towards the end of the cup, almost luke-warm by now, an amazing flavor of caramel. It's incredible. The caramel flavor lingers long after the cup is finished as I walk back home, the snow still softly falling.

Maybe the trick is the roast profile. Maybe it's an extraordinarily good crop. Maybe it was the low-temp brew. It was probably a combination of all of those things, but whatever it was, it was brilliant.

I've been coresponding with Jaime Vanschyndel by email quite a bit lately. It keeps my hopes for coffee in Lubbock alive. He's a great guy, with great ideas that we tend to agree on most of the time. I find I am constantly envious of his position, however. I would love nothing more than to manage a shop with the control he is allowed where he operates. Having the final say on quality standards, training, presentation, and so on.

Here I am, dreaming already. I really need my own shop.

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