My plate is more than full at the moment; hopefully, I’ll get around to writing about my visit to Subrosa soon. In the mean time, though, I will say that although it has taken the East Bay far too long to catch up to all the good things happening with coffee in San Francisco, what has finally started to happen is certainly making this man happy (1,2). Until I get to that post, however, I’ll leave you with some notes on what I purchased at this relatively new East Bay cafe: a bag of Ethiopian Mordecofe from Four Barrel, Subrosa’s coffee supplier.
I picked it mostly because of what it wasn’t – an intensely fruity coffee from Ethiopia, of which I’d had a bit too much of at the time. Instead, the barista promised a more subtle coffee, leaning towards floral rather than fruity, delicate rather than bold. In fact, that’s more or less what I discovered, although I would add that this coffee was also really nicely complex.
My tasting notes included chocolate, bark, mint, plum, brown sugar, pepper and some delicate floral notes like you might get from a Darjeeling tea. It had a medium body with a little bit of viscosity and mild, but well-balanced acidity. I was left with a solidly, pleasant tobacco aftertaste.
Four Barrel and Subrosa typically brew their coffee via French Press and that seemed to work best for me at home as well. That said, I found it more or less as compelling with a longer-steep method that lets through some of the oils (such as a gold cone with a Clever Coffee Dripper) or my siphon. For that matter, the Mordecofe still performed well as a pour over (I used both a standard Chemex and a Chemex filter in my Clever Coffee Dripper). While it wasn’t bad as a single origin espresso, I found that I really had to keep the temperature hot and the dose reasonably high to keep it from going over the top on the bright end. What resulted in my demitasse was a nicely concentrated instantiation of this coffee.
Overall, I was quite happy with this coffee and would gladly get it again.