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.

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