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coffee@home: Counter Culture Decaf Peru

Beans: Decaf Valle Del Santuario from San Ignacio Peru
Roaster: Counter Culture Coffee (picked up at bluehouse)
Rating: 3

On my recent trip to bluehouse, I had them package me some beans to take home. I haven’t tried too many Counter Culture coffees at home and was still riding high on the terrific CCC’s Zaragoza Mexican decaf shot pulled for me the day before at Woodberry Kitchen. I should have known that the Peru probably wouldn’t live up to that particular coffee.

The only major issue I had was with the cafe and not the coffee. bluehouse bags beans to go in their own brown, wire-tie, PLA-lined bags. As attractive and eco friendly as these bags are, it’s a real pet peeve of mine when cafes repackage a roaster’s beans in their own bag. The cafe’s bag usually fails to mention the roaster, failing to credit where credit is due. A cafe’s own bag also often omits important information such as roast date, specific brewing instructions or simply information about the roaster or the coffee. I happen to know that it’s Counter Culture’s coffee and can look it up on the internet, but the average buyer may not.

Complaint aside, the coffee was a nice, slightly meek, but not too darkly-roasted decaf. It was a little smoky with hints of prosciutto and melon, rising bread dough, mint, pomegranate and fruity white wine. Overall it had a fairly clean mouthfeel and and was a smooth, medium-bodied coffee. I liked this coffee either as a drip or french press and would certainly recommend it. However, if you’re going to the trouble of ordering it from Counter Culture or otherwise have the choice, I’d say go with the Mexican.

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2 comments to coffee@home: Counter Culture Decaf Peru

  • Your thoughts on the bag issue is also a similar grip. But, if you take Cafe Helios (http://helioscoffee.com/) in Raleigh as an example (look at the pic behind the counter up on the wall of the bean dispensers) how can he put those in CCC bags and have the roast date change from day to day and batch to batch. It would get complicated and turn into a problem, I think. But, I do understand your delima.

  • Thanks Wilson (I’ve been enjoying your blogging by the way). I see what you’re saying. The coffee in those bins could be from a variety of different roast batches. Of course, shouldn’t cafes store their coffee in a way where they don’t co-mingle different roast batches? I suppose if their volume is great enough this could get tricky, but why not empty the bin before refilling it and change the date on the front when you do. That’s the way cafes like Ritual do it – of course they are the roaster.

    It seems to me, though, that this is largely a roaster issue. In most cases, the roaster can dictate some of these terms to the cafe buying their beans or, at the very least, they can create incentives in the form of training and supplies. I think Barefoot coffee, for example, provides its wholesale customers with bags and labels. A cafe using their beans can then fill out the label with the appropriate roast date, assuming they’ve stored the coffee in a manner conducive to determining the individual roast date in the first place.

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