Saturday, June 09, 2007

Coffeesnobs Brown Launch/Guatemalan Huehuehtenango

I haven't taken particularly detailed notes for this review, but I thought that I should post it simply to celebrate the launch of "CoffeeSnobs Brown." For those of you that don't know, CoffeeSnobs is a group of home roasters who buy green coffee together. The webpage is also home to the most active Australian-only coffee forum, albeit one that caters more to roasters than gear-heads and has quite a culture of supporting the site sponsors.

Andy Freeman owns CS and has recently set up a roastery, "CofeeSnobs Brown," as a commercial venture. To buy beans, you must be a member of the site, which enables you to post in the forums and exchange personal messages with other members. CS members also get access to good deals from the site sponsors. Beans are sold through "Bean Bay," which is basically a poll that is run. The green bean polls take place monthly, whereas the brown bean polls are always open. I presume that Andy is yet to work out the details for the brown bean polls, but it looks like he will roast and post when his roast batches are all polled out.

Anyhoo, work sponsors CS, so last week Andy drove a carload of green beans down to us so that CS members could pick them up. In doing so, he brought down my 1/2kg of Huehueh. I told him that if it was bad I'd eviscerate him on this blog and he asked me to do so, so here goes nothing ...

Actually, it was quite good. I picked it up as something to use as a base for numerous cappuccini to keep me going through the exam period. It delivered clean and chocolatey milk based drinks throughout. I have noticed that home roasted coffee tends to have a very short lifespan, so I subjected Andy's stuff to the "torture test" of producing espresso a week after I got it, which would be about two weeks out from roasting. The result was a pleasant clean cup with some decent acidity and not much else going on. This is not a criticism at all; last year's batch of huehueh was identical. It would make a fantastic ingredient in an espresso blend, but isn't a stand-alone star. The take-home message is that Andy's roasts, executed on a 10kg Has Garanti roaster, seem to have the lifespan that one would expect of a commercial roast.

Overall, an interesting experience. I'm wondering if CS members will start buying a 200g pack of CS brown when they buy their green, just to give them a frame of reference. I'm also looking forward to Andy offering some blends.

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