Monday, February 25, 2008

Swimming in Brown Coffee

Aaron Blanco asked me to do some testing for a brand new espresso blend. This blend is based on an interesting philosophy of espresso blending that Aaron has been thinking about lately. Creating a blend of two coffees to create an experience that equals more than the sum of its parts. This is the first attempt at a realistic execution of this concept, and only the second "production" (as in, regularly created) blend in the history of The Brown Coffee Co. It's called Espresso Two: Jacinto.

Since he was sending this coffee, and since I was leading a tasting for the Lubbock Coffee Club, I asked if he would be interested in kicking another bag of something my way. Well, that's what the Kenya Kichwa Tembo Cooperative was intended for, but there happened to be two extra surprises when the mail arrived.

The bag of Espresso One: Cottonwood (which, btw, has been reformulated for the new crop season.. more on this later) and the bag of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gedeo Konga Cooperative FT/O (which comes to the roaster in 25lb. vacuum sealed bags. I've seen a green sample from the broker, and this stuff looks pristine) were intended for "friends" who backed out last minute. No worries. More for me. ;o)
Needless to say, I've been making crazy amounts of coffee here lately. With a full 3 pounds to burn through in a very short amount of time (not to mention visits to my friends at Sugar Brown's), the Expobar has been working overtime (and I've been praying for a plumbed pump and drain).

Even the Hario TCA-2(courtesy of the guys at Barismo)is getting in on the action, as is the French Press. Notes on some of these coffees to come, but for now, I'd like to say something about Espresso One: Cottonwood.

If you've ever tried it before, you may recognize the contents, except for one slight change. The Ethiopean used to be a Harrar. Now it's this "my tastebuds are confused" Yirgacheffe. The general profile of the blend has been affected, and I'm not sure what I think about it yet. I don't consider it an incarnation of Cottonwood at all, when comparing to what I remember from the last crop year. Sure.. there are similarities, but the heart just isn't similar enough for me to see it as the same blend. Don't get me wrong. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with it. Perhaps it just needs its own name.

To my surprise this time around, this blend seems to prefer a slightly higher dose with a coarser grind pulled at a pretty slow pace. (something like 35 seconds before blonding.. I don't keep track of volume) Obviously this is not the star coffee of the review, but I thought I'd drop one bomb at a time (and the slew of coffee is a bomb in itself). I wanted to visit an old friend. I've found this friend to have matured a bit since last we met.
Meet: the new version of Cottonwood.

Plenty more to come.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lubbock Coffee Club

After a good long while of trying to get one of these together, it's finally happened.

The LCC Meeting #1 is in the history books.

This neck of the woods is YOUNG in the coffee scene, so I wanted to keep it kind of simple, yet not boring. The last thing I wanted to do was to intimidate anyone new to the quality side of coffee. At the same time, I didn't want to bore the people who had already begun their own journey in quality coffee.

The result? Comparitive tasting, as an education for communicating with customers in terms of flavor and reference. (note: not comparative cupping. why? read from the top again)

We tasted a C-grade pre-ground coffee, a C-grade whole bean coffee, a dark roast specialty coffee, and a light roast specialty coffee (both whole bean, obviously).

They were all pressed, and then tasted.

I'm happy to say that everyone seemed to take something away from it. Nobody was bored, and nobody was overwhelmed. (Phew!)

In attendance were
- the owner, manager, lead barista, and another barista from the host store: Sugar Brown's.

- A barista trying to supplement her thirst for coffee knowledge from Starbucks.

- Two baristas from Day Break Coffee Roasters.

- A married couple who run the coffee shop inside St. Matthew's United Methodist Church.

- Me, of

- Tim, the owner of Red Baron Coffee Haus (a drive-thru located at his Red Baron Car Wash)was supposed to show, but for some reason never arrived. (We hope you can make the next one, Tim)

I'd like to get more local coffee people involved in this. We have a meeting and topic already decided on for next month. Thankfully, I'm not presenting that one.

West Texas, watch out. Lubbock is wising up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

New "logo" for consulting Biz.

I'm tossing around a few ideas for a new logo of sorts for

I'm pretty much just scrapping the whole "-Jason Coffee" thing. Original, yes. Something I can easily sell? Probably not. Eventually, there will be a parent company over this thing anyway(I hope). The url is dang valuable! I was surprised it was available when I grabbed it.

I'll likely post a few rough pictures of some ideas I've been having here in a few days or so. I may not, but I'm planning on it.

If you want to criticize them, feel free to. If you've got better ideas (or ideas period) I'd like to hear those as well.

A bunch of coffees headed my way from Brown. I'm testing out an experimental espresso. "Espresso Two", which probably won't make it to retail, but it's revolutionary in design. (well, there may never be revolutions fought over it, so maybe it's not so revolutionary after all. It's certainly forward thinking, though.)

Also a bag of Cottonwood (Espresso One), Kenya Kichwa, and a Yirgacheffe to try.

One of these coffees is a donation for the local coffee club tasting I'll be running on Thursday. If you've been reading this blog for long, you'd know how huge of a step that is for the region. It's been a long time coming, but we're finally starting to see signs of progress on the whole. It's a beautiful thing.

Considering the history of reviewing coffees and this blog, I'm not sure if a review is to come or not. I really enjoy reviewing, but I'm not a big fan of the controversy that can arise from such activities. We'll see if reviews pop up here again or not.

Hopefully the grinder will arrive later this week, and I can get started on the mild restoration.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A New Grinder on the way.

The Mazzer SJ that I had poted pics of before was on loan from Rocket Coffee Roasters to prepare for the SCRBC, as well as for use as a second grinder during the competition.

I had fully intended to buy it, but the money never came in time, and then things got worse. I ended up sending it back when RCR pretty well dissolved into a consulting firm and not a lot else.

So.. I've been stuck with my stepless MDF. And boy, is it ever painful to use when you're used to bigger and better things.

The good news is that I have a "Rio" badged SJ on the way. It probably will not be put to use right away.

If I set it up to use right away, I will never have the patience to go without it for necessary (or unnecessary) cosmetic improvements. So, If needed, I'm going to get those out of the way first.

In related news, Great Infusions has made mention of some new "Duranium" burrs for the SJ. Unfortunately, they haven't given any real information beyond the fact that they are "supposed" to be harder, sharper, and last longer.

I was hoping for more evidence, like grind particle size comparison photographs, side-by-side cup characteristic differences. Instead, they mentioned something about the sound difference and that it might be a little faster (and the grounds may be a little fluffier).

Considering the fact that the name "Duranium" is of a mythical substance, I'd hoped for more detailed information.

That having been said, I'm holding out on purchasing new burrs for this "new" grinder until I've heard more news.

Grinder pictures to come.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It all comes down to one word

And that word is LOVE.

I don't work. I thrive.

Work is something you do because you have to in order to pay the bills.

Thriving is something you do because you love it so much.

I've been on a small coffee hiatus while getting over the flu. I've returned. And with my return from the hiatus came the gushing of mushy stuff. Don't ask me why.

I love the industry and everyone in it. At times, we don't agree. We may even have heated arguments. We may have times when we feel we are on top of the world, and a few short weeks later, we feel there is nowhere left to go. The feelings of extremes are always short lived.

What it all comes down to is a bunch of people drawn to the same passion. The same spark. The same reason for a constantly moving target, always just out of reach, that we call satisfaction.

It's almost religious, really.

Where did this come from? It was always there.

It's late, and I'm feeling extra gushy about it for some reason right now, and felt like sharing the love publicly.