My flight home from Albuquerque was truly pleasant – the smell of fresh coffee wafted from my bag every time it was bumped. I imagine that my seat neighbors either hated me or wanted to rip open my bag and brew themselves a cup. By the end, I was even tortured a little since I had to wait until the next morning to make myself some.
With my daughter to occupy me in the morning before work and work itself for the next few days, I down-shifted into “coffee-as-a-necessity” mode, simply French Pressing pots of each bean. Later I also tried out each with a paper filter and a ceramic cone. I didn’t get an actual cupping in until 5 days after the roast date – not as soon as I would have liked, but still good enough to get a good read on each of the coffees. My wife, who likes the smell of coffee, but not the taste, even got into the routine.
The Bolivia was my clear favorite and very much a 3. You can’t quite tell from the photos above, but this was the darkest roast of the three beans, just the slightest trace of oils when I took this picture with a few more drops emerging as the days progressed. This coffee had hints of milk chocolate, pear and raspberry with a clean mouthfeel and a medium body. I generally don’t love a lot of acidity, but it seems to me that the acidity was almost underplayed with this one.
The Costa Rica was my second favorite; I’m waffling between a 2 and a 3. The beans were big and awkward and the coffee was far more thick, full-bodied and syrupy that I would have expected from a Central American coffee at such a medium roast. The flavor was a bit flat but tasted of chocolate and maple. Overall it was pleasant without being overwhelming.
The Ethiopian Yergacheffe: This one was my least favorite; I’m giving it a 2. While the beans were tiny and had lots of character, the acidity was a too pronounced. The ground beans smelled prominently of grapes and white wine, but the taste made me think of good white wine, a few days old. Using a paper filter improved it considerably, toning down the acidity and letting some of the other fruitier notes through. While far from bad, I didn’t particularly enjoy this Yergacheffe.
On a recent trip back, I picked up some Organic Costa Rica and some Sumatra Decaf. Both are quite good and certainly in the threes. The Organic Costa Rica is a bit more complex and fruity than the non-organic. It’s nice to think that the organic yielded a better cup. The Sumatra, I was told, was a medium roast, but seems fairly oily and dark. Nevertheless, it’s a typical dark, earthy, chocolately Sumatra. Nothing novel here, but satisfying nonetheless.