Tuesday, June 27, 2006

SCAP's Best of Panama Auction, Kotowa Duncan

This coffee is gorgeous. There's just no other way to describe it in one word.

Chocolate, spice, berries, honey. It's all here, and all in moderation, but just enough to let you know it's there. Medium body with enough weight to meld it all together for a great mouthfeel.

Be jealous.


For some odd reason, I had a cup of this coffee sitting here cooling a bit, and I ate a pepperoncini pepper, then took a sip. Don't ask me why.

Here's the interesting part. The result was that the coffee tasted like a chocolate and raisin flavor explosion. Totally unexpected. You never know what you're going to find in coffee (flavorwise).

(thanks, Larry!)

Monday, June 19, 2006

-Jason Coffee: consulting and barista training

[EDIT: I've dropped the "Jason Coffee" name, and am now running under "EspressoTrainer.com" click

I suppose this is my official anouncement that my independent consulting and barista training business is launching fairly shortly.

I am giving a free training session later this week so I can
A: have a local reference
B: work out my curriculum for training.

I want to be as thorough as possible, while keeping in mind the fact that there are no absolutes in this industry, as well as keeping the session rather timely.

I have no clue what to charge for this sort of thing. The benefit is that I have no business affiliation with any roaster, so there is no worry about my advice being sales oriented. On the other hand, it also makes it more difficult to gain the trust of local cafe owners who may or may not care as much about quality as I do.

My greatest fear is failure. Not in the competence sense of the word, but in the business sense.

I am so worried about acceptance by local cafe owners, it's crazy. It's not that I want to personally be accepted, so much as I would love to see Lubbock as a whole accept the idea and potential of great coffees. Unfortunately, anytime money is involved, it's an uphill battle. Good coffee is more expensive. Straight up, it is. Even if it's not much per cup (which it really isn't.. $.10 more per cup.. seriously.. not that big of a deal), but people don't usually see it this way. Instead, they see the bigger picture of $30/week EXTRA. And honestly, isn't it worth that, even if it's out of pocket, to ensure the BEST possible quality in your establishment?

Maybe I'm just crazy, but I can think of at least 100 other people who are as crazy as I am if that's the case.

I have a logo, and I'm working on a brochure. I have Rocket Coffee Roasters as a reference, and I'll have Mangia Bevanda as a local reference. I have been quoated in Barista Magazine in the Alternative Brew Methods article (the melitta stand section.. check it out if you haven't already :o). I'm going to join the Barista Guild very shortly. (Nick, if you're reading this, is there any way to expedite the paperwork?)

I'm trying to get in a position to make this as professional an operation as possible. I believe my success in my goal of improving local coffee depends on it. People won't listen to someone who does not appear to know what they are doing, whether that person actually knows or not is irrelevent.

In other news:

I've got my labels made up for selling roasted coffee to friends and family, or anyone else who asks (on the consumer side of things only.. I am in no place to supply a shop, though I have been asked. I simply don't have the capital to make that happen, as much as I would love to. I guess that's not a bad problem to have.).

I've had a bunch of online friends from other communities (mostly car-related) ask if I sold roasted coffee. They started calling anything that was coffee-related and made by my hands "-jason coffee". Hence, the origin of the name. It comes from years ago when I used to sign every post with " -Jason ". The title sort of stuck, and so I've decided to make it my business name.

Any thoughts or suggestions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment. I'm all ears. (err.. eyes, I guess)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rocket Classic Espresso Blend

I've been enjoying this blend for the past week or so. I still have more to think about before writing my opinions here.

Stay tuned.

So, I'm a little (okay, alot) late writing this thing. I've been pretty busy lately, but I'm writing it now.

Classic Espresso comes in a black one-way valve bag with heat-sealed ends, and a nifty looking label with a mirror images of a grouphead and drip tray in black and white with some text that says, "The art and science of espresso".

Very attractive indeed.. but how does it taste?

As a normale shot, there is a nice strong explosion of very complex flavors right off the bat. The balance is such that individual parts are difficult to pick out, but the complexity is quite obvious, and quite pleasant. Going down, the massive hit becomes a gentle caress, and a smooth sweetness is dominant.

As a dose "under the line", the subtle flavors pop a bit more at the cost of a minute amount of depth. The description on the website says something about dried fruit, but nothing about floral notes. My palate experienced very little dried fruit, and dubious amounts of floral notes. As the liquid moves over the palate, these floral notes gently subside, and a carmely sweetness is present, with a very pleasant aftertaste that lingers long after the demitasse is cleared.

An over-dose, with the coffee just touching the shower screen upon locking in, produced a very sweet ristretto-style shot with chocolate tones and some caramel(at ~40seconds. There was another that took a full minute with similar results). While both flavors are present, they are not simultaneously present. That is, the flavor is not "chocolate caramel" or "caramel chocolate", but rather, more to the effect of, "chocolate!" "oh, now there's caramel!". The subtleties diminished, I believe this dose would go over quite well with someone new-ish to espresso. Ristretto-style shots often do, as they are more sweet, and not at all bitter, without having to think too much about the complexity that would otherwise be obvious.

Flavors that I tasted were floral, SLIGHTLY nutty, with some spice that I can't quite put my finger on. I think that the floral notes and sweetness may meld together for some to develop into the dried fruit flavor in Rocket Coffee Roaster's descriptor for this specific blend.

Overall, a very good blend. Hits you hard at first for the explosion of flavor we are all looking for in a normale(or maybe even slight underdose), but eases out as it goes down into the smoothness we are all looking for in a ristretto.

Cuts through milk quite well. Even the complexity is still obvious and present in milk, while the caramel and chocolate flavors come alive thanks to the flavor of the milk itself complimenting these particular flavors exceptionally well (as with most blends with these characteristics).

Don't pass this one up!