Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not raining ... pouring!

Regular readers will notice that I sometimes go through droughts in which I haven't tasted much worth mentioning. Well, the last week has been the reverse. Let's skim over it:

Brewed coffee:

Kenya Gethumbwini from Hazel: Grapefruit, creamy mouthfeel, dry.

Kenya Kitamaiyu from the Source: Tea, lemon sherbet.

Kenya Muchoki Peaberry from Square Mile: Crisp, strawberry, citrus.

Esmeralda from BBB: Mark NAILS the roast and it actually lives up to all of the ludicrous overseas tasting notes; floral, perfumed, peach ... can't even remember what it tasted like ... it just threw everything at us and stood out in the blind cupping by a mile.

Dale Sidamo from BBB: Peach, from memory.

Nicaraguan Natural from BBB: As always, mega clean coffee with natural process blueberry superimposed on top of it.


Kopi Luwak from Instaurator: Can't remember in much detail, but it was pretty ordinary, at best.

Devon Estate SL-795 from Instaurator (the monkey picked coffee): Black pepper up front, quite heavy in body, whilst it had a fair bit of acidity at the same time. Very heavy in body at the bottom of the cup ... wonder if the monkey spit was still left on it. A number of us agreed that the espresso machine must have been running cold, though. (Inny had gotten ECA to send down a Giotto Premium Plus for the event, as he isn't a fan of LM/Synesso ... ironically, I suspect that we could have gotten a lot more out of the coffee on the Synesso ... should've mentioned it whilst we were there. Actually, Inny had bought some new mountain top down to feed the Synesso ... totally didn't twig that it was there and taste it. Damn.)

... so that's ... like ... seven pretty good coffees in less than a week ... craaazy ...

I have to say that I feel almost swindled by the Kenyan coffees that I have tried this year. The stereotypical and much loved berry flavours seem to have been transmogrified into crisp citrus flavours in practically everything. Still some great coffee, to be sure, but I'm still hoping to get something in the same genre as the Mamuto, let alone in the same ballpark taste-wise. Anyhoo, this will be the subject of the first article on my new web page and I'll probably syndicate that to the new mag that's being launched.

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At 4:05 AM, Blogger James Hoffmann said...

Just on the Kenya coffee front (glad you liked the Muchoki btw - glad it survived the trip) - this year we specifically went looking for something that wasn't the fat blackcurrant profile. Having a strong attachment to a AA lot of Gethumbwini that I used in competition (which was almost too much blackcurrant style fruit) it seemed more fun to look for something delicious but different.

I kind of expected more of the big blockbuster Kenya lots to be around this year. Maybe the weather?

And thank you for the birthday wishes!

At 5:34 AM, Blogger hao said...

gosh! i'll be happy to get one good coffee here in 7 weeks!

the thing is i can hardly get good coffee here in Singapore, and no one does great single origins.

and shipping costs a bomb to get great coffee from anywhere, not to mention the possible detrimental effects to freshness.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Luca said...

Hi James,

The Muchoki was a bit of a standout; frankly, it was a bit better than the other Kenyans that I tasted for the inaugural review on (will have it up in a few days).

I think that it's wonderful to look for good coffee wherever it comes from and not to look to get stereotypical flavours from a particular origin - from memory, Andrew Barnett is the master of this; I remember the Ecco online store being almost exclusively coffees from Brazil. The caveat, though, has to be that it is the roaster's responsibility to educate their customer's expectations. Of course, the first thing that we did once the coffees were identified was to compare them to the taste descriptors and it was nice to see that we all agreed with most of yours.

And, yes, I think we were all a bit surprised that it wasn't more jetlagged!

I have been doing a bit of research on Kenyan coffee and it looks like a few people think that the blackcurrant thing is typical of SL-28. I wonder if SL-28 has been cultivated elsewhere in the world and how that might have turned out. A question for Peter Lynagh, no doubt.

According to the Nairobi Coffee exchange statistics, Kenya was down about three thousand bags of AA this year compared with last, but broadly in line with expectations from the few years before. Perhaps the failure to see more blockbuster lots is more to do with the changes to the auction system? Mamuto four months ago was utterly mindblowing.


Yes, it was a rather ludicrous run, wasn't it?!

Ross Bright from Spinelli bought some great coffee down from his roastery for the Golden Bean conference here. Have you had much of his stuff? Maybe it's worthwhile getting directly in touch with him to get his 'insider picks'? I know that here roasters are almost always interested to direct their most discerning customers to their best offerings and are even sometimes disarmingly frank about their own offerings that they consider not to be up to scratch.




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