I said my review of El Beit was my last from New York. It seems I may have been stretching the truth. While I consumed this Ethiopian coffee at home in Berkeley, and although it originated in Vancouver at 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, I picked it up originally at El Beit in New York. I guess I’m not reducing my global footprint with this coffee, eh?
Now this coffee was not quite fresh from the roaster, clocking in at around two weeks old by the time I opened it (mostly due to the age at the time of purchase and not the few days I waited until I got it home). Nevertheless, it was still quite beautiful, delicious really, even the portions that I only recently thawed out from a 2 month deep freeze. I certainly thought much more highly of this Ethiopian from El Beit than I did another one which New York Magazine is now proclaiming as the New York coffee “to beat.”
I picked up on a lot of things in this cup: banana, lime, coconut, chocolate, vanilla, honey, and a whole host of intense, floral notes that really exploded when brewed as a French press. At the same, time, this tropical cup, with a punctuated, but not overpowering acidity, was surprisingly mild and understated. It made a point without bowling you over with its complexity.
I think this coffee worked best as a french press. While shots of it also accentuated the floral notes, the espresso was – not unsurprisingly – way too bright. It worked nicely in the siphon but seemed a little muted as a pour over drip.
Here’s the sad disclaimer. This coffee is not only no longer available for sale by 49th Parallel, it wasn’t even available for sale on the website at the time I bought it at El Beit. I don’t know if I grabbed the last of the bunch, or picked up a coffee only sold to El Beit. Either way, it’s certainly made me eager to get ahold of some of 49th Parallel’s other Ethiopian coffees, especially with likely future shortage of high quality Ethiopian coffees. If I can get ahold of some – along with some of the espresso that helped Sammy Piccolo (part owner of 49th Parallel) win 2nd place at the 2009 WBC – I’ll be sure to let you know.