Bean: Beloya Section One (Sidamo, Ethiopia) and Lake Tawar Sumatran
Roaster: Novo Coffee
When I was at Novo a few weeks back, I picked up three bags (12 oz) of their Lake Tawar Sumatran and one (8oz) of their Beloya Section One. Sadly, not even one bag of Lake Tawar made home, but I did have the satisfaction that they found good homes with friends and loved ones in New York and Philadelphia. Of the few cups I was offered in the process, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. They just didn’t quite stand up to my particularly fond memories – a rich milk chocolate surrounding a burst of bright citrus. Then again, they were made in less than ideal conditions (blade grinders and auto drip mostly), and of course, it was still an incredibly smooth, everyday coffee that brewed up remarkably clean with only a modest amount of acidity.
I successfully (and selfishly) smuggled the Beloya home without having to share. It’s a cute, tiny little bean with a pleasant, slightly dark brown hue, which makes me realize that I should be taking some pictures of the beans as well as the bags. It had a light chocolate flavor and some hints of berries, blueberries mostly, that grew stronger over the week or so it took me to drink it. It had a medium to light level of acidity which I think worked well for this coffee. In fact, I preferred it in a ceramic cone with paper filter to the press pot, which brought out a little too much acidity. I have to say it challenged my palette with a few smells and tastes I couldn’t quite pinpoint, but generally, I’d have to say it just had really good coffee flavor – a flavor that really shouldn’t be overlooked.
Overall, it’s good, but not quite worth the $35/pound price. I suppose if some much larger than usual portion of this money goes directly to the farmers one might be able to justify the cost, but there’s nothing that I could see to indicate that this was the case. And the fact is that I’ve had equally good, if not better micro-lots elsewhere for at least $10-15 less per pound. I should add that I didn’t actually open the coffee until nearly 10 days past the roast date (like throwing money down the drain, I know). But even at 10 days the coffee still should have had more to offer (at this price) than it did.