Occasionally I have a strong opinion about what coffee I want (or don’t want) when I’m buying beans. That was even more the case a few years back when the pickings were slimmer and I was frequently rotating amongst different coffees from one particular roaster. These days my coffee consumption from week to week rotates roasters, crops and beans such that I’m typically much less familiar with any one roaster’s line-up. I’ve subsequently become increasingly reliant and appreciative of barista recommendations. They taste these coffees every day and get to know whats good, or at least what’s new and exciting. Not only do I get a good tip, but I also enjoy the surprise.
On my trip to the Stumptown in the Ace Hotel in Manhattan, I chose a bag of Hair Bender but relied on an overwhelming barista recommendation for this particular Guatemala. Staff described it to me as intensely fruity and floral and really gorgeous as a french press. While it’s possible this coffee was a tad over-hyped, it was very good indeed.
I found the verbal account of this coffee given to me by the cafe staff to be more or less on point. In the flavor/aroma department, my tasting notes included: lime, wintergreen, white sugar, watermelon and peach candy. It was resoundingly bright and had a nicely uplifting acidity, a medium to light body, and a thick, slightly viscous mouthfeel.
For brewing, I agree that this coffee excelled as a French Press although I enjoyed it even more as a siphon. Brewed that way, it came out a bit darker and sweeter, suggesting plenty of fruit but having a bit more depth and dimension, perhaps masked by the silty quality of the French Press? Pour over methods (namely Chemex) never quite captured the full splendor for me and I found this coffee too bright and light as a single origin espresso.
So is this all I hoped this coffee would be. No. But it was quite good and well worth your time, especially if you have a a siphon.