So Much Coffee

A couple weeks back, while visiting the Courier Coffee Roasters roastery, I had the great pleasure of cupping a number of sample roasts that were slated for possible purchase. The cupping offered a glimpse into the future of what's in store for the coming months. Overall we tasted six different coffees that day; three from Ethiopia, two from Indonesia, and one Kenyan coffee.

The CCR team had already cupped these coffees a few times, and based on their previous efforts most of their purchasing had already been completed by the time Kyle and I had a chance to taste what they were up to. In a nutshell, I can say that am I very excited about having a chance to work with a few of these coffees. Two of the Ethiopians were very enjoyable, both exhibiting strong berry notes characteristic of coffees from this part of the world. The Indonesians had more of a sweet/savory thing going on. One had a strong peanut butter/roasted nut profile, while another tasted to me like the flavor of vegetables in a Massaman curry (an interpretation that I stand by to this day, though I'm sure Joel thinks I am crazy). Last but not least, the lone Kenyan, a consensus standout during a cupping in which Ray had participated the previous day, had allegedly lost some of its thunder by the time we got around to trying it. Good, but lacking the punch I'm sure it will deliver by the time it is served at the cafe.

In order to better understand the significance of these new coffees it is important to note that for the past month and half we have continued to offer a single origin El Salvadorian coffee for espresso, while simultaneously rotating between an El Salvadorian and a Guatemalan coffee for French press. Historically it has been common for us to receive anywhere from three to five different coffees (including that which is used for espresso) over the course of a week, however I have found it quite entertaining to get to know our coffee on a more intimate level by being able to compare the variation of each different roast that comes into our shop. From conversations I have had with Joel and Alex, as well as the info that is well documented via the Courier Coffee Blog, the boys have been working very hard to learn more about how they are developing certain flavors during the roasting process. More often than not we receive notes about an individual roast from hand written messages scribbled on the bags in which the coffee is delivered.

It has been a blast getting to know the flavors of these coffee inside and out. Perhaps there are some among you who are itching to try something new...

Yesterday morning CCR received a shipment of twenty-two new bags of green coffee! That same afternoon Alex arrived at our shop with the first roast of one on the Indonesian coffees that we cupped nearly two weeks ago: Flores Bajawa Ngura. Flores is among the larger islands in the Lesser Sunda archipelago. The island was first "discovered" by Portuguese explorers sometime in the early 15th century. More recently the island has received a great deal of attention in the mainstream media due to the discovery of a tiny Homo Erectus skeleton that dates back more than 15,000 years. In 2005, as a result of a large grant and some private investment a number of farmer groups in Flores began processing their coffees using fully washed methods (most earlier exports had been dry processed). Today at least seven farmer groups have begun to undertake wet-processing methods, all of which are now certified organic. Quality coffee from Flores is a very recent phenomenon. Kudos to Joel for getting in on the ground floor and giving us all a chance to get to know this region before it becomes a shining star.

Currently we are sitting on a few pounds of Guatemala Finca Las Nubes, but if you plan to visit the cafe this weekend, you will likely get an opportunity to taste this new coffee from CCR. Enjoy!

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