The whole run-down on our new espresso blend.
Tristan Stephenson puts it perfectly: “A shot of espresso is an honest and unforgiving thing. It celebrates attention to detail by highlighting what may be excellent about a coffee, and laughs at your bad practices by tasting intensely bad.”
As we start to partner with more cafés, we embarked on a quest to come up with a versatile espresso blend that tastes good both straight up and in a variety of espresso-based café drinks. We started off by heavily researching good espresso blends, what type of beans are typically used for bases and how to add highlighted flavors we wanted. We then worked with our contact over at Cafe Imports to find just the right origins and sent off for a bag of each. When the pallet of beans arrived at our roastery, we set about sample roasting them individually to different roast levels. Next, a lengthy cupping process took place that resulted in roast levels being settled and an ideal ratio of the beans to use for our final blend. Next up we roasted the beans in our commercial roaster, and had another round of cupping to make sure the quality was what we wanted, and then countless shots were pulled and just as many lattes made.
The final blend is a product of labor and love. We are intensely satisfied with this blend and hope you will be too! It does produce a nice espresso, but feel free to enjoy it brewed it a variety of ways. We did a pourover in our Chemex with it and it produced a fantastic cup that was sweet, medium body the whole way through, and smooth with a slight peanut note but much more milk chocolate through the end and aftertaste.
A lot of roasters like to keep their blend a secret, but we want to share with you all the background info we could get on the beans we used for the blend. We ended up using a combination of Brazil Mogiana and Sumatra Harmau Tiger from Mandheling.
The Sumatran beans we used come from a signature series sourced by Cafe Imports called Harimau Tiger. Cafe Imports looked to capture the classic charicteristics of a Sumatran coffee when sourcing the beans while also offering a cleaner, sweeter profile and higher cup quality than a standard coffee from the Mandheling region. They sourced it based on profile and quality so we have limited traceability and can’t tell you exactly what farm it comes from. It’s a wet-hulled coffee that as a stand-alone coffee that tastes tart and heavy with milk chocolate and sweet cedar. What we can tell you is that we’re very happy with how it cups and it complements the Brazilian beans quite nicely.
The Brazilian comes from the micro region of San Sebastiao da Grama which is South of Minas in the south-eastern part of Brazil. The farm is called Fazenda Recreio and dates back to 1890. Since it’s opening, Fezenda Recreio has had five generations of the same family manage it with Diogo Machaedo currently in charge as head agronomist. 618 of the 1473 acres on the farm are cultivated resulting in 5000 bags of coffee produced a year (25% of which is high end specialty). One neat aspect of Fezenda Recreio’s operation is their very large drying patio which allows them to dry coffees quickly as they harvest them. This means the crops can be harvested when the cherries are perfectly ripe instead of when the drying/processing queue allows. The farm won the cup of excellence in 2004 and finished in the top 5 from 2006-2010. The farm also has cattle and grows eucalyptus and some citrus in addition to the coffee.
Our particular lot is a pulped natural process Yellow Bourbon varietal that as a stand-alone coffee tastes mild, tart and chocolate with a peanut flavor. We sourced this particular lot because we felt the chocolate and nuttiness would complement the heavy milk chocolate of the Sumatra Harimau Tiger while providing a nice base that would let a little bit of the cedar come through in a shot.
So there you have it: a brief run-down of our espresso blend!
Here's a bonus video showing Fezenda Recreio