The mind of a coffee roaster is a dangerous place. Especially when it’s the mind of a One Village Coffee roaster. Please use caution as you read.
Wow, it’s been a whole month since I last wrote you on the happenings in the coffee lab? Well, we have acquired many samples and roasted many coffees. It is always a joy to receive samples from all over the world to try, so if you have coffee you want to send us, feel free! We will give you honest feedback. I would say the highlight of our month was a sample of Panama Bambito Estate, which was fruity, smooth and sweet; that one is a definite possibility for us to carry. We also had to do a search for a new naturally-processed Ethiopian Sidamo. After a long exhausting search with many weeks of sample roasting and tasting, we decided to go with a coffee from the Bushwick Seed Company from Brooklyn. Not only does this Sidamo have the berry sweetness we were looking for, but it is also sustainable; this coffee helps the village of Kellensoo where it is grown and processed to provide funding to build a library and create a computer lab. The Sidamo is available as a single origin, and is also an important component in both our Smart Blend and our Nordico Espresso. We have also released our spring seasonal Aurora, which is available now! Aurora has notes of citrus, a sweet aftertaste, and is light bodied and smooth. Well folks, that’s all for this week. Look for the Lab notes to make a comeback to weekly status next week.
Good day and Good coffee,
So there was last week…. We did a lot of coffee tastings and espresso tweaking. Sadly as time goes by some coffees start to lose their oomph; this is the case with a lot of fruity natural coffees, such as the Ethiopian Natural Sidamo which we use in several blends. For that reason, we are experimenting with some new coffees and working on the blends. Be on the lookout for a new blend coming your way soon, and for some possible news regarding current blends. We may also be bringing on a single origin as our special spring seasonal.
Last week we had a short week in the lab due to a bit of a crazy schedule, but we did get to sample the Sumatra Gayo Linge. Let’s just say right now it’s shining on our pour-over bar (30 grams of coffee and 500 ml of water for about 3.20 minutes) and it is oh so good. We got flavors of cocoa, roasted almonds, with a creamy mouthfeel and a raspberry sweetness in the finish.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today, good luck and great coffee!
Welcome to another week of lab notes, this week we sampled our experimental espressos, tasted production coffees and worked on dialing in our current espresso blends. If you will remember form last week we were going for fruity with a cocoa background. 2 of the three ended up tasting the way we liked but we still think we have some tweaking to do, the most promising was a 2 coffee blend of Bali and Timor, it had the cocoa and the berry fruitiness we were going for but the roast level needs to be tweaked, which i will be doing this week. In our tasting sessions the Colombia Valle de Cauca was the standout for the week, scoring high on both sweetness and flavor. Dialing in espresso is always a fun and daunting task, i mostly worked on dialing in the Brightside and let me tell you it is singing, Orange, biscuit like, malty and oh so sweet! We are currently enjoying at 18 grams with a 24 second pull resulting in about 1.8 oz finished shot.
In our next report we have 3 coffees we received from e-cafe Chiapas in Mexico to taste and review as well as reworked espresso blending and some in detail comparative brewing tasting.
This is to be the first in a series of public updates, keeping you updated as the the goings on here in the coffee lab with QC, Sample roasting, tastings cuppings etc.
This week we worked on a few new experimental espresso blends using Bali Kintamani Natural as the foundational flavor, this will be a limited production espresso as we are on the last half bag or so of the Bali. The goal with this espresso is to highlight the sweet watermelon candy\strawberry flavors found in the Bali. We roasted 3 different blends trying to highlight the fruitiness and balance it with smooth creamy cocoa tones. One of the things we do here at OVC as part of our Quality Control program is we brew up our coffees regularly using several different methods including manual pourover, chemex, batch brew, aeropress, french press, and cuppings. We do this to maintain their integrity of the coffees so that when they arrive to the customer they will remain consistently good. One of the focus coffees this week was our Winter Comfort Blend, which is smokey, sweet and full of warm spice and it’s only here for the winter season so if that sounds good to you make sure you pick some up soon.
Thats it for this weeks update see you next week for the tasting notes on the espresso blends.
Coffee is a crop and much like any other produce it has a season and a time of peak ripeness. The best beans are picked at the height of ripeness; the deepest reds, juiciest yellows and oranges are what we are looking for from our coffees when they are picked. When the best most ripe coffees are picked they burst with flavor. These coffees are then cleaned, sun dried and shipped to us to roast. The key to great fresh coffee is in keeping the proper moisture level in the beans. Coffee is traditionally shipped in jute or burlap bags so they will lose that moisture from day one. We strive to bring you fresh vibrant coffee and that is why we only offer certain coffee’s and blends for a limited time, we want you to experience the freshest most amazing coffee you can find all year round.
If you clicked on a link and ended up here, welcome. If you were just browsing the blog, greetings. Either way thanks for taking the time to look up what we mean when we say Village Visited. Here at OVC we think it’s a pretty good idea to say what you mean and do what you say you are doing. Village Visited is just that, we have always wanted to be able to visit farms, meet the farmers, the growers and those who processed the coffees we roast and you drink, This past year (2012) we started doing that with trips to Honduras and Costa Rica. Our goal upon visiting these countries is to find the farms that grow the coffee we already use, cup some smaller “Micro Lots” they are producing and buy some amazing coffees right on the ground. We get to see how the coffee is treated, how the pickers are paid and housed and what sort of care is taken to produce amazing coffees, we get to meet amazing people and learn what they do and we are able to thank and encourage them to keep doing the good they are doing.
Visiting farms is both exhilarating and humbling at the same time, maybe one day you can come with us!
This may sound odd to some of you, but yes, fresh coffee is a seasonal crop—much like tomatoes, corn or lettuce—and is best when freshest, with a few exceptions. Coffee is grown in what we like to call the coffee belt, which is an area not surprisingly close to the equator. Coffee is grown in all major continents with the exception of Europe which has no countries which can grow coffee. Coffee is grown in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Several small North American Islands. The proper climate is warm and rainy with lots of sunshine. Coffee harvesting takes place throughout the year, and most places have one crop per year. Some have a second or fly crop also. The coffee which is considered specialty coffee is a variety known as Arabica, and requires high elevations and longer growing time than it’s less flavorful, and more caffeinated, cousin the Robusta bean.
Specialty coffees are for the most part picked by hand by skilled pickers who pick only the red ripe coffee cherries to be dried and processed. After the coffee is picked it is bagged and moved to where it will be processed and dried, there are several methods for doing this but all result in a dried coffee bean which has about 11% moisture content, the coffee is them milled to remove the outer shell and bagged for sale and shipping. The coffees are then auctioned or sold to buyers, and shipped to America in freight containers to be sold by coffee brokers.
At this point the specialty coffees are sold to coffee roasters around the country, which buy anything from 1 bag to hundreds of bags a week. The beans are roasted to perfection and sent on their way to be ground, and enjoyed by the consumer. Here at OVC, we use only the freshest coffees we can find and sell them at the peak of flavor. This is why sometimes you will find we don’t have a certain coffee or that your favorite is out of stock for a little while. It’s a difficult balance between giving the customer what they want and only giving them the best. The goal should be to make sure the coffee you are drinking is the best all the time. After all who likes an unripe tomato?