The best analogy I’ve been able to think of for dry processed coffees so far is game meat. While I often like it, if not of the right quality or not well-prepared, the gaminess can overwhelm. And even when done right, it’s not a flavor that everyone enjoys. The challenge then is for the chef to select and prepare the meat in a way that exhibits some restraint and subtlety; the meat should exhibit it’s wilder qualities without overwhelming the consumer (and I mean this in both senses of the word). Verve’s Roasters seem to handle their Ethiopia Sidamo Dry-Processed Dale Organic (phew!) in just this way as I discovered when recently purchasing it from San Francisco wholesale client Farm:Table.
The Dale is indubitably fruity, but light in tone, exhibiting strawberry, pineapple, sweet lemon and a cheesecake like tangy-sweet-creaminess. I also noted lemongrass and something floral, maybe gardenias. It was only after 2 weeks or so from the roast date – a time frame I’ve now heard several coffee people recommend for these dry-processed coffees – that some of this coffee’s intensity subsided and I started tasting a mild, but wild blueberry. This coffee worked equally well as a French Press or pour over drip and produced a good, although surprisingly unfruity siphon. It was not very good as a single origin espresso although one wouldn’t expect it to be given its extremely light roast.
The other coffee I picked up on that trip was the Vancouver Decaf blend, which was, simply put, a decent decaf. It’s lightly roasted enough to exhibit some pleasant caramel, tobacco and leather notes along with a touch of brightness when brewed as a pour over or French Press. Yet, dark roasted enough to yield a decent, but somewhat uninspiring espresso. That’s a difficult, trick to pull off and has the plus of being a decent one-size-fits-all decaf and has the minus of being a one-size-fits-all decaf. As a regular coffee, it would probably fall short of a rcommendation, but as a lighter roasted decaf, it’s worth checking out.