I've had the opportunity recently to cup a number of truly amazing coffees (thanks Jim, Stephen and - of course - Duane).
First (and foremost) I have had the opportunity to make espresso drinks with some (old) Panama Esmerelda. Usually, with a coffee of this quality and of this scarcity, you stick to the periodic lucky shot of straight espresso. Because this was old - and because there was a bunch of it - I was able to really experiment. After some work I discovered that it makes an amazing cappuccino. I was finding that it was best with a heavy-ish dose (around 19.5 grams in a ridged LM double basket) and a higher temp than the Hairbender (around 200.5F). Pulled a little ristretto, this results in a cappuccino that tastes like a "chocolate-orange creamsicle". Mmm.... Lovin' it!
Anyway... to the new coffees.
Incredible table over the weekend. Mind-blowing in fact. Notes...
El Salvador Guachipilin - A wonderfully nutty coffee. Very round and rich, with dominant pecan pie, blackstrap molasses, tropical spice and fruity pipe tobacco notes. Buttery mouthfeel. Lovely.
Nicaragua Torrez - Very sweet and clean. Caramel, stone fruit and a lovely dark chocolate body. Balanced and yet complex. Really nice.
Nicaragua Finca Milton - An incredibly rounded and balanced coffee. Dominated by sweet apricot notes with a ton of honey-sweetness balanced out by Meyer Lemon and winter melon and purple grape. The kind of soft and sweet coffee that you can drink all day.
Honduras Mirador - Bright and crisp and clean in the cup. Dominated by pink grapefruit and lemon zest notes. Wonderful floral aromas (coffee blossom, night-blooming jasmine). Light, bright and tasty.
El Salvador Finca Kilimanjaro (flats) - Lovely... just lovely. A very, very complicated coffee with tons of upfront acidity and layers and layers of flavour behind that bright fruit. Rosewater, tangerine zest, blackberries up front that peel away to reveal raw honey and molasses, red desert wine, berry, dark chocolate... the list goes on and on. The amazing thing is that this stays balanced!
El Salvador Finca Kilimanjaro (peaberry) - An amazing experience to cup the flats and the peaberry next to eachother. The peaberry came across as an "amped up" version of the flats. Same flavour notes - but with a little better differentiation and a touch more power. Tangerine became Meyer Lemon - blackberries revealed hidden layers of other berry as well (huckleberry, raspberry). An incredible coffee and a personal favorite.
Kenya AA Tegu - Even on this table, the Tegu stands out. Incredibly rich and complex. Aromas of tomato paste and scallion greens and Rhone red wines. Flavour notes of beef broth, cassis and stonefruit and a wonderful red wine acidity. Heavy and intense and yet bright and crisp. Wonderfully balanced.
Panama Esmerelda Especiale - If the Tegu is the masculine "King" then this is the voluptuous "Queen" of the table. Seemingly possessing every floral and fruit aroma on the planet. Jasmine and bergamot, vanilla and grapefuit, tropical flowers and fruit blossoms. It's all there. Notes of sweet tangerine, Moscato d'Asti, Assam tea, sweet chocolate, honeycomb, sweet apple, melon.... the list goes on and on. Soft and round and balanced and layered beyond belief. Just incredible.
To say "Wow" seems not enough. To say "Thank You" seems ungrateful.
This is going to be a good winter season if you live in Portland and love coffee.
See you at the Annex.