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Cupping Lab June 2011

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Back in the lab we are getting ready to make our coffee menu a little bigger once again. The fast approaching roll out will see coffees such as Guatemala Semillero, and Guatemala Santa Clara from the Zelaya family. Luis Pedro Zelaya is our man in Guatemala. A fourth generation coffee farmer, he has been an integral part of our continually growing Direct Trade relationships throughout Antigua. In addition to those, look for the new crop of Ethiopia Mordecofe to be hitting our shelves in the very near future. This year’s lot brings us flavors of red fruit, honey, hops, chocolate, and peach tea. All of these wonderful new coffees are being roasted right now.

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Lots of Colombian coffee comes through the lab. We spend a lot of time working with Virmax on the ground cupping our way though hundreds of samples from extremely small sized farms scattered throughout Colombia. Some of these farms are no bigger than a backyard. Due to its geographical location, Colombia experiences two harvests a year making it very likely to find us cupping Colombian coffee year round. It was my pleasure to see more coffee from Isias Cantillo Osa come through the lab a few weeks ago. I have been a huge fan of his coffee, La Esperanza, for many years now. On the cupping table, his coffee consistently begs for our complete attention and rightly so. This years lot brings us flavors of toasted almond brandy, cherry cola and lavender honey with a foundation of the sweetest caramel you’ve ever tasted. I’m sure to be turning a quarter pound sample batch of this coffee purely for my enjoyment this weekend. Yes, I am spoiled.

The Brooklyn roast post has some amazing new coffees headed their way that will be exclusively roasted in New York. The Kenya Kangunu is back for the second year. Flavors of fresh watermelon, pineapple, maple sugar candy, and chocolate cream pie are explosive in this beautiful Grand Cru offering. In addition, we’re offering the Costa Rica Santa Rosa 1900 exclusively on the east coast. This coffee jumped off the cupping table. At high elevations like Santa Rosa, everything slows down for the coffee tree; the cherry takes much longer to ripen allowing it to develop more sugar giving the coffee an immense depth of sweetness. This is an extremely dense and structured coffee. Flavors of rose water and caramel support a soft and clean acidity reminiscent of a honey crisp apple.
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Perhaps one of the most exciting things that made its way through the lab over the last few weeks is some incredible coffee from our old friend Aida Batlle in El Salvador. A traditional staple on our menu, the Finca Kilimanjaro is back this year to once again charm us with an immensely sweet and syrupy profile. Flavors of kalamata olive and perfectly ripe plum are seamlessly integrated into a rich dark chocolate body. This is easily one of the most expansive and complex coffees that exists today. But Aida doesn’t stop there. For those lucky enough to have met her, you’ll know Aida is no ordinary coffee producer. She’s perhaps one of the most experimental coffee producers out there. This year, a small amount of coffee from her Kilimanjaro farm has been double fermented, a process that Kenyan producers have been doing for some time now. By fermenting the coffee a second time, it essentially polishes the seeds before drying, giving the cup an immaculately clean and transparent profile. Flavors of sweet lime and juicy pineapple are completely expressive in the finish making this coffee one of the cleanest and juiciest coffees I’ve ever tasted out of El Salvador. All in all, this extremely small micro lot is guaranteed to turn some heads later this summer. It will be well worth the wait.

AK