Archive | September, 2012

Cherry Hill Coffee

27 Sep

In late August, James Calder got in contact with me to share some coffees from Cherry Hill Coffee (or @Mmm_Cherry_Hill on the twitter machine). I was surprised I had not heard of this Canadian roaster until now, this is a big operation! It has a flashy website and equally flashy looking coffee bags and merch. But when I headed to the Post Office to pick up the package James sent, I was still surprised to see such a large box. Inside was:

Cherry Hill Care Package

Cherry Hill Care Package

It was nice to see a Canadian Coffee Roaster so established.

James sent along some info…

“Cherry Hill Coffee originated from humble beginnings in 1986. Starting out as a small downtown Kelowna storefront coffee shop over 25 years ago Cherry Hill coffee now roasts 200,000 lbs for independent cafe’s, ski resorts, golf courses and restaurants across western Canada. Cherry Hill Coffee has 12 employees working out of our a 6500 sq ft roasting facility/espresso bar/lab. With a focus on quality organic coffee we considers ourselves genuine and passionate coffee folks, doing our thing the old fashioned way in the mountains of BC.”

Cupping four coffees at a time.

Cupping four coffees at a time.

The following afternoon I spent a few hours sorting through everything and cupping all the coffees. I had to narrow down what I thought were the best coffees, and then make some decisions as to what I thought I could get from each coffee.

The roasting profile used for most of these coffees seems to result in a relatively low acid coffee in the cup. For those of you who are long time readers, acidity is something I really look for in a coffee. Personally, I found these coffees were more suited to espresso brewing. Nevertheless, I made sure to give each one a chance.

The top two coffees James sent were the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe “Gedeo Worka” and the Espresso Milano light roast espresso blend. These are the two I’d like to explore in this post.

However, one other that deserves mention was a particularly surprising “Wine Barrel Aged Coffee“. Apparently they age green beans in an empty merlot barrel (from a local winery who just finished bottling) at the roastery for two weeks, turning it every day. The resulting french press coffee was heavily dominated by cassis and purple fruit. This was no every day coffee… It was certainly worth trying, but I wouldn’t want to roll out of bed with a hangover and try to gulp down a merlot infused coffee! Personally I found it to be a little overwhelming with cassis and purple sour-candy-like flavours.

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Ethiopia Yirgacheffe “Gedeo Worka”
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This coffee is produced in the Gedeo region of northern Yirgacheffe bordering on Sidamo. It is collected from area small farms and processed at the Worka cooperative. It is a natural process, Heirloom varietal coffee.

I found this was a pretty nice representation of a coffee from a region of Yirgacheffe near Sidamo. I found it had a very berry dominated profile with some nice citrus/ lemon and spice. I’m going to say straight-up that I found this was best on the French Press… the Pour Over methods didn’t do justice or emphasize the best aspects.

French Press

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe as a cappuccino.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe as a cappuccino.

It was in the French Press I found I was able to get the maximum sweetness from this coffee. It was brewed 24grams of coffee to 400mL water in a steel Frieling. The overall cup was dominated by a blueberry, spice and chocolate on nose, with lemon and berry on the palate. The finish was a mostly cocoa (almost a little dusty).
 Aroma  9 /10 
 Body  8+ /10
 Sweetness    8+ /10
 Acidity  8+ /10
 Finish  8 /10
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Espresso

I also thought it would be fun to play with this coffee as an espresso. For the most part I found this liked a medium dose in the range of 18.5 – 19.0g of coffee to 30-31g of water. On the E61 machine I found it was best with at 93 degrees Celsius in 26 seconds.

I was able to get some real nice baking spice notes, blueberry and lemon. This really worked well in 3-5oz of milk as a cappuccino or macchiato. All the best aspects cut through the milk: think baking blueberry pie and caramel.

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“Espresso Milano”
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This espresso blend was a bit of a throwback for me. Amidst all the single origin espressos and the lighter, brighter blends this one really holds true to the oldschool Italian blend. Thankfully, it’s a “Northern Italian inspiration”… meaning a lighter style roast.

This was a robust espresso, and leading into the fall season it was a welcome shift. I’ve included a short video working with the Espresso Milano blend, and below are my notes.

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Straight 

This, much like the Yirgacheffe listed above, was pulling well in the range of 19.0g of coffee to 30-32g of water. On the E61 machine I found it was best with at 93 degrees Celsius in 26 seconds.

This was a simple espresso. Nicely dominated by chocolate, cocoa, vanilla and a little spice/ cedar on the aromatics.
What can I say? This was a good workhorse espresso for everyday use.

In Milk 

In milk I found myself going a little finer on the grind as to get 28-30g of espresso from the same 19g of ground coffee in 26 seconds. This really boosted the sweet chocolate notes in milk. Again, this was a real throwback: I found notes of milk chocolate, vanilla, and malt. A 5oz cappuccino had a nice malted milkshake-like feel.

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Big thanks to James for hooking me up.
Have a look out for “The Best of Coffee: September” coming in the next week!

– Matt

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“The Best of Coffee” – August

5 Sep

The months of July and August ran into each other, simply because of the timing – I chose to start this “Best Of” feature in mid-July. This made it a little confusing as to what I would include in each post, as well as how it would look.

Pouring up some coffee in the backyard.

Pouring up some coffee in the backyard.

Since I’m still working on the actual layout for these monthly updates, it may still change slightly (however this seems to flow nicely). Featured coffees for this month include Phil & Sebastian and Fratello, as well as some updates out and about in St. John’s.

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Coffee

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Phil & Sebastian
KENYA NGUNGURU

Very early in August my good friend Steve down at Rocket Bakery gave me a shout and let me know about the @PhilandSeb Kenya Ngunguru. Thanks to some friendly coffee exchanging some time ago, Steve was going to bring a bag in complementary!

Generally my experience with Kenya coffees is underwhelming on the ‘cost to taste’ ratio.

P&S Kenya Ngunguru

P&S Kenya Ngunguru

HOWEVER, this was a real nice coffee. Usually I never finish a bag of coffee because I have so much work to do trying multiple coffees, but this one I happily drank almost every morning. It was really one of those coffees I could drink everyday for a long time. I finished the whole bag.

This was good on both the french press and the clever. On the nose I found it to be very floral, dried fruit, spice, and faint melon.

Aroma 9 /10  

Body 8+ /10 

Sweetness   9 /10

Acidity 9 / 10 

Finish 9+ /10

On the palate I found it had a huge juicy acidity and lots of sweetness. I found melon and spice with faint dried fruits. There was also a citrus component that became particularly apparent as the cup cooled- grapefruit in particular.

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Fratello
ETHIOPIA ECX TOP LOT

Ethiopian ECX Top Lot

Ethiopian ECX Top Lot

I’ve been trying out coffees from @FratelloCoffee for some time now and I’d like to think I have a good relationship with Russ (@FratelloCoffee2 on the twitter machine). Whenever they receive and roast new coffees they are happy with, he always makes sure to send some my way for feedback.

This month, I receive two coffees from them. I’d like to put my focus on one in particular here: an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Sadly, we will never know its exact origins because it was placed on the Ethiopian exchange (hence ECX in its name), nevertheless it is a very interesting coffee.

This coffee was very a-typical for a Yirgacheffe, something you would want to try out if you are looking for something out of the ordinary. I need to point out my early reactions with this coffee were because I had brewed it too fresh (August 20th roast date). I actually found this started to peak around 7+ days off roast.

On the nose I found it had a medium intensity with grapefruit, spice, and some ‘fruit doughnut’.

Aroma 9 /10  

Body 9 /10 

Sweetness   9 /10

Acidity 8+ / 10 

Finish 8+ /10

On the palate it showed it’s unusual-ness. I found it had a typical citrus, but also a persimmon-like middle and sweetness. It was delicate and had a black tea finish (also savoury).

Despite its delicacy, I found this coffee did far better on a french press. It seemed the Clever accentuated it’s dry aspects and sucked some of its sweetness out. Maybe some tweaking could fix this.

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Out on the Town / Other Thoughts

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My cafe visits were few in the month of August. Sadly I can relive the month simply by looking through my phone – if there were no photos of espresso in cafe, well then it just wasn’t a really special experience.

I found myself enjoying the last bit of summer, taking my french press and hand grinder around and brewing outdoors. As we move into the month of September and I dig back into school work, the cafe visits will climb greatly.

Hold on tight and brace for fall…

Keep warm with coffee, and thanks for reading!

– Matt