Monday, October 08, 2007

Espresso Wow

Background

In the comments to my last post, I bemoaned the fact that I haven't written up coffee reviews recently. My grinder at home usually features a mix of coffee from work, coffee that I have roasted for myself at work and then coffee from a few of the roasters around Melbourne that I like. I have avoided reviewing coffee from work on my blog - you can find out about that on the Veneziano Coffee webpage. Recently, the sample roaster at work has been down, after five years of faithful service, so I haven't had much of a chance to roast stuff for myself. So you'll have to forgive me for dredging up memories of a coffee that I had several weeks ago for today's instalment.

Introduction

Espresso Wow is Andy Freeman's first foray into blending for CoffeeSnobs Brown, which itself is his first attempt at commercial roasting. However, both of these ventures draw upon considerable experience of home roasting. Andy's description of the coffee is as follows:

"This blend has been years in the making, 1000’s of roasts and samples and this is easily the best all round espresso blend for my taste.

Great as a double espresso with a creamy viscous body, a complete palate that oozes flavour throughout your mouth and an aftertaste that lingers nicely for a good length of time. This flavour profile works just as well in milk based drinks and the strong crema should make a great canvas for latte art."

Unfortunately Andy's roastery was broken into recently. Nonetheless, he managed to roast some of this up and bring it along to the green bean pickup a few weeks ago.

The Cup

As a result of the break-in, Andy and I were actually unsure how old the blend was. Pours at work as soon as we ripped open the bag were relatively bubbly, but, surprisingly, the resultant espresso had quite a heavy mouthfeel and was low in acidity. The flavour was rich and chocolatey, with a rather large salvo of aromatics. I can't remember them exactly, but I think that I said canteloupe (Andy raised his eyebrows) and blueberry (yes, I concede blueberry ;P).

Straight out of the bag, the blend wasn't as impressive in milk, but there was a dramatic improvement after it sat in my hopper at home for a day or two. I left the bag open and noticed a bit of a decline after a week or so. So if you are planning to have Espresso Wow sit around for any length of time, I would recommend splitting it into a few lots and putting them in airtight containers.

I used my standard dose for this, which is to say that I ground more than I needed, rapped three times to settle and struck off. I didn't try my down-dosing technique and would be very interested to see what sort of results that might produce.

Impressions

The thing that I like about this blend is that it is very Andy. There are a number of trends taking place in coffee blends in general. First up, I think that we can thank the various Cup of Excellence programs and Klaus' WBC blend for setting in motion a trend to have espresso that is light in body, sweet, acidic and aromatic. This runs counter to the trend that I had noticed in Australia of heavier bodied blends that are low in acidity, often pulled quite short to accentuate this even further. Next, I get the impression that many commercial roasters are going lighter in a bid to preserve aroma and increase shelf life. One theory that I have heard (from Mr Schulman, I think) is that roasting lighter starts you off with more aromatics, so you end up with more after you let the coffee sit around to age.

As I said, Andy's blend is the opposite of these trends. By going for heavier body and lower acidity, there is no need for you to wait for a lighter roast to age for a longer period of time to develop these qualities. I suspect that this means that Andy relies on freshness to get that fistful of aromatics into the cup.

Conclusion

Andy's espresso strikes me as a very good expression of his particular style, which makes it well and truly worthwhile trying out. It is a particularly good blend for home roasters to try out because it seems to perform very well after a short resting period, which I imagine would be quite useful. Personally, I like this style of espresso, but I basically appreciate any style of espresso that is done well.

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3 Comments:

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Luca

We got huge amounts of cherry notes with the espresso wow. Not fresh cherries, like a cherry you would find in a cake. The coffee reminds me of black forest for sure. Opened the bag and the smell is different with notes going everywhere. Not your typical blend which is great to have something different. Never had espresso like that.

Andrew

 
At 5:01 PM, Blogger Luca said...

Yeah, it might have been cherry, but I didn't think that it was huge. It was either the light roast mount elgon or sipi falls that had an incredible cherry taste to me. Regardless, it was definitely something in the whole berry spectrum of flavours, but not anything in the side closer to winey flavours. If that makes sense to anyone!

 
At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im sure the coffee would vary machine to machine. I couldnt put my finger on it. Dialed the temp down to get rid of the cherry and got other notes. Sort of thought it had more personality with the cherry.

 

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