Daterra Sweet Collection (Brazil)
About the coffee: The Daterra sweet collection certainly has a reputation to live up to. From memory, coffee from this cooperative has been an ingredient of the winner's World Barista Competition blend in each of the last three competitions. Klaus Thomsen, this year's WBC, certainly used it as part of his two-bean blend (the other was Costa Rican Hacienda La Minita). Various Daterra coffees also get the stamp of approval from at least three Aussie coffee roasters who I respect a great deal; Mark from St Ali, Peter from Veneziano and Tony from Rio in Adelaide, who has used some Daterra stuff in Mecca Espresso's blend.
The cooperative is absolutely cutting-edge. Rather than waxing lyrical about their sustainability, research and education programs, I'll just direct you to the Daterra webpage to have a look around. It is very succinctly written. Go ahead. I'll fix myself a coffee while you're gone.
The image to the right is of a blacklight being used to screen for fermented coffee in the Daterra labs. Click on the image to go to Tom's gallery at Sweet Maria's, where the image came from.
Back? Hope that was a good read.
OK, so Andrew and I were desperate to get our hands on some of this. Luckilly, Ozgreens had laid their hands on a 24kg box and Ed and Graeme from Greenguys were able to organise for us to grab one of the two 12kg foil bags to ourselves. Hehehe. Daterra packaging is awesome.
The roasts: I have roasted this twice for espresso. The first roast, on the 31st of August, seemed to be inordinately slow. I stopped it at what I thought was the first signs of second crack. For the second roast, on the 15th of September, to avoid tempting fate, I asked the guys what setting they were using for their mogiana pulped natural and used that. Of course, I really should take better notes, including actually timing the roast properly ... one of the aims of starting this blog in the first place!
Tasting Notes: 31 August roast
This turned out to be rather unimpressive. I suspect that I plain and simple under-roasted it. On the 8th, I was unable to find a combination of variables to reach a decent extraction. It was either thin, with pale crema and slightly sour, or developing some ashiness at an extraction designed to achieve a richer mouthfeel and tone down the sourness. With an extraction at the better end of the spectrum, as a double ristretto in a 170mL cup it was unable to overcome the Pura Cafe milk that I was using ... don't ask.
Tasting Notes: 15th September roast
Usually, increasing the brew temperature seems to bring out more sweetness in beans, so I began my exporation of this roast with an extra 15 seconds of heat added by flipping the steam switch. Shots pulled this way were universally unbalanced. Then it occurred to me that the whole point of having a coffee selected based on its sweetness is to not have to go to great lengths to increase the sweetness in the first place. Unsurprisingly, shots pulled at a normal brew temperature were much more balanced, and quite sweet.
At seven days of age, I hit the jackpot with this roast, getting a ristretto extraction that not only brought out the sweetness that I was looking for, but also brought out the marzipan/almond aroma and, to a lesser extent, flavour that I had tasted in other roasts of this bean (read: roasts by people who know what they're doing). Unfortunately, the shot was slightly burnt, as well. Speeding up the shot got rid of the burnt flavour, but got rid of the unique almond/marzipan sensation, too. (Sidebar; my burrs might need replacing) Using normal pura milk this time, caramel and hazelnut flavours came through in a cappuccino, but it was no tour de force.
I made one french press and the notes for that read "sweet, sweet, sweet ... I think I have diabetes."
Conclusion: A fantastic coffee, deserving of a better roaster than I. Although roasts of this stuff from St Ali have made great SO espresso, every single espresso that I have had with Daterra Sweet has been low in body and has had difficulty cutting through milk. Given Illy's involvement in setting up the amazing Daterra facility, I wonder if this is what fresh Illy is supposed to taste like?
I can really see using Daterra Sweet in an espresso blend, maybe even up to 30%. It would superbly complement a more 'bass note' coffee that adds syrupyness and cuts through milk. This coffee would also be great in lower pressure brewing methods, such as french press, vac pot and aeropress.
Labels: Single Origin