Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Espresso 'Aida' (All El Salvador Blend)

Courtesy of Nim and, I believe, Jon in the US, two bags of Counter Culture Coffee's Espresso 'Aida' made their way to Melbourne about a month ago. It's a safe bet that this is the furthest south that this particular blend has ever travelled.

This blend was developed by CCC and Murky Coffee's Nick Cho to win the US South Eastern Regional Barista Competition, which Nick did. But it's greatest achievement was surely travelling halfway across the globe with multiple pit stops and still behaving itself. Ordering coffee from overseas is a fun and expensive way to pass some time, but it often ends in heartbreak. Last year alone, various people have had various blends from most of the "usual suspect" roasters in the US and they have invariably been oily and well past their prime by the time that they got here. (But that's not going to stop us!) So it was certainly a very pleasant surprise when we ripped into this one and it looked like it had been roasted here.

OK, so a fair bit of time has passed since I tasted it, so my descriptions aren't going to be the best. I remember that as an espresso it was very acidic, but not unpleasantly so. Where it really shone for me, though, was as a cappuccino, where the blend tasted of nuts and honey.
Pretty funny, because I heard that Nick used a different blend for cappuccini in the SERBC! Certainly, I think that plane travel really does alter the flavour of any coffee.

Checked the CCC webpage today and evidently Nick's blend is done and dusted. Damn. Hmm ... maybe I should shell out for Aida's Grand Reserve ...



At 1:21 AM, Blogger Nick said...

Woah... unbelievable! Glad you got to try it, but you're insane!!! In a good way, of course.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Luca said...

Bwahahaha .... wondered how long it would take you to find that post!

I like to think of myself as the coffee equivalent of "well read." ;P

We wanted to order direct from CCC, but the shipping was utterly ridiculous, so it went from CCC to Jon in Texas (I think - I didn't organise it), who then posted it to us using a much cheaper air freight option. The bag must have come straight out of the roaster, because it was good to go when we got here.

Nice job!

At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Framey said...

Last time I had some coffee sent to me from the USA, it got held up by AQIS for 8 days!
I've been contemplating ordering some Black Cat, just to see what all the fuss is about, but have my reservations as to whether transport logistics will do the coffee a great disservice. Not to mention my less than stellar barista skills...

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We got the other bag at the Maling Room. What i remember was balance and a coffee you could drink very easily. One of the cleanest coffees and would love to get some more because i cant really remember. I know St Ali got a bag too. Im sure some geeks in Australia would love to try some more.
Greg and I just cupped some El Salvador La Montana La Hondurita. The weather in Melbourne damaged it a little.

At 12:16 AM, Blogger rice said...

4 bags made their way down to Melb, Awstralia. StAli, Maling, Lucatech and the final for me. It shipped direct from CCC to moi, Jon was the credit card dude with massive trust towards a stranger.

First gotta say thanks to Jon (in Houston) and Mark Overbay (at CCC). CCC's website didnt allow international credit cards to be processed, so Jon was bloody generous in that he trusted me and actually paid for the goods before my paypal transfer to him cleared!!! He was away interstate on Thanksgiving hols at his parents, but like a true coffee trooper he assured me it would be done before the cutoff date for the weeks' roasting and shipping.

Roasted and shipped on Tuesday, arrived in Melb on a Friday, but I didnt get my paws on it till the Monday. The parcel was dicked around at the courier headquarters for the weekend. God knows why. Maybe they played rugby with the carton :p

I was originally gonna just order a bag for myself, but then due to the ridiculous shipping (***see bottom for breakdown), I thought what the hey, share the love. Its a unique gift to be able to give 3 peeps/places that have really opened my eyes as to what true espresso should be. And a top bunch of blokes too. Also , I had an ulterior motive. My skillz are poor, my machine could be better, so what better way to savour the beans than through Cyncra, FB80 and some very competent baristas.

p.s. I also ordered a DVD and a bag of their 'Forte' blend. Wasted over half dialing it in, so wasnt able to share the dark roasted love. Sorry.

p.p.s. Thanks to Mark O for the tshirt and sticker.

p.p.p.s I already knew about Andy's generosity to his customers, but it was an 'awwww' moment when I saw him serve a new customer that had just walked in an espresso Aida. Kudos to you dude.

For the geeks interested in trying out from CCC, shipping rates by courier UPS Worldwide Express SM.
1 x12oz = $71.82...
$81.32 / $93.03 / $104.10 / $114.85 / $125.93 / $137.00 / $147.76 / $158.84 / $169.91

At 12:17 AM, Blogger rice said...

Wish El Cho would've autographed the bags :p


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