Archive | May, 2011

Fratello Coffee Roasters

18 May

So it has been a little while since my last update… Truth is, I’ve very busy working.
The good news is that I’m back behind the bar and in the speciality coffee industry.

This entry is going to be entirely dedicated to Fratello Coffee Roasters and everything about the Prefountaine family name.

Three coffees, the box, and detailed information on the coffees and farms.

Three coffees, the box, detailed information on the coffees and farms.

I’ve been watching the Slayer Machines develop and hit distribution over the past 2 years or more via Jason @ slayerespresso.com. So, when the guys at Fratello hit me up via twitter, I was excited to see what they were doing.

My main contact at Fratello is Russ Prefontaine or @FratelloCoffee2 on the twitter machine. He set everything up and sent out three large shop bags rush delivery roasted to order (certain day of the week). Once the package arrived, I opened everything up and took a photo. Inside were the three coffees, detailed info on each one, and a tea sample as well.

For the sake of this review, I have narrowed my results to only two of the coffees: the Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot  and Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill. I will attack both separately, but it actually helps at times to compare and contrast the two.

I also need to point out that I worked on all these coffees BOTH at the Coffee Folk lab and on a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Digit WBC competition machine.

_______________________________________

Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill, close up on the beans.

Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill, close up on the beans.

The first coffee I began working with was the Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill. As per usual I began at baseline with 19grams and made some guess work at the grind by texture. First shots were good, but slight tweaking was necessary. I was finding the best flavours consistently at 94degrees Celsius. The dose seemed to work best at 19-19.5 grams, with a final liquid weight of 32grams and all the to 38gramshowever, best in the 32-34gram range. Total shot length of 26-28 seconds was ideal. Note, when I was pulling this on the Nuova Simonelli I found shots best at 25 seconds.

Straight Shot

As espresso at 94degrees Celsius with 19.5grams ground coffee in and 32-34grams liquid espresso out, there was a VERY pronounced orange and orange rind going on. Also found vanilla aromatics, sweetness, mellow chocolate, and some spice. Did significant work with the dose, and when shots were crutched to a small volume ( <28grams), I was able to find a more pronounced acidity and a grapefruity-ness.

In Milk

In a 6oz traditional cappuccino it mellowed out significantly. There was a nice caramel going on, with some spice/ bark and a little orange rind on the finish.

Americano

Pulled on top of 5oz of hot water, I found many of the same characteristics as the straight shot. Perhaps the extra water opened up some more delicate notes likes spice and some clove-like play.

Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill in the cup, from the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia.

Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill in the cup, from the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia.

Final review is at the bottom, keep on reading!

_______________________________

The second coffee I worked on was the Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot. 

Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot, Direct Trade, close up on the beans.

Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot, Direct Trade, close up on the beans.

Again, I started at baseline and did the guesswork with the grind, working my way into the testing. This coffee, however, took more work to figure out then the Burundi I first played with.

The dosing on this one was interesting. I was first pulling this at 19grams and into a final volume around 28-30 grams liquid espresso. At one point I even played with a super-ristretto of 20 grams in and only 24 grams out. The results from this were interesting, and shots were acceptable. I was finding sweetness, toasty-ness, cinnamon and bark with a toffee thing going on.

However, after playing around, I was able to unlock a lot more by brewing at 20 grams to a final liquid weight of 30-33grams. Total shot length of 26 seconds was ideal. Note, when I was pulling this on the Nuova Simonelli I found shots best at 24-25 seconds.

Straight Shot

As espresso at 94degrees Celsius with 20 grams in and ~30grams out, I was finding sweetness, stone fruit (dark cherry!), an excellent mouthfeel, notes of spice, and an excellent balance.

In Milk

In a 6oz traditional cappuccino it was nicer than the Burundi. There was also a nice caramel going on, a buttery mouthfeel, and a cereal-like toasty play. It was very pleasing.

Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot, Direct Trade pouring on the naked portafilter.

Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot, Direct Trade pouring on the naked portafilter.

Americano

Pulled on top of 5oz of hot water, the americano was also nice. Most of the components were similar to the espresso profile, with stone fruit, spice and toffee.

____________________________

The Verdicts: 

> Colombian Suaza Micro-Lot

Straight: sweetness, stone fruit (dark cherry! and hints of peach), an excellent mouthfeel, notes of spice, and an excellent balance  9+/10
In Milk: sweet, caramel, toffee, buttery 9/10
Americano: decent, good balance and spice 8.5/ 10

This was very complex and one of my favorite Colombians I’ve had in the past year or two. It really was tasty, and there was lots to find in this coffee.

I’d happily correct the Colombia up a little. It was one of my favorite Colombians I’ve had in some time now.

Total 100 point score of 91/100 points.

_____

> Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill

Straight:  orange and orange rind, vanilla aromatics, sweetness, mellow chocolate, and some spice  9+/10
In Milk: good, but lost the berry play 8.5/10
Americano: good, opened up on the spice notes 9/ 10

The Burundi initially blew me away, but was rather one-note through the cup and changing the brew profile didn’t make for any further discoveries. However, it was a really damn good coffee, and beautiful as a straight espresso.

Total 100 point score of 92/100.

_____ 

I’d happily report Fratello’s latest coffees offerings are pretty excellent. Quality product, direct trade coffees, and lots of information on the farms they deal with. Definitely high on the list of top Canadian roasters in my books.

Thanks + Happy Coffee,

– Matt