Fratello Coffee – Colombia “Alvaro Losada”

13 Feb
 Colombian “Alvaro Losada”

Colombian “Alvaro Losada”

This is the second half of my thoughts on two coffees Fratello sent. Both of these were new crops of coffee, and perhaps a hint at what the guys at Fratello will be up to in 2012. I’ve already posted a preview of the two coffees they sent us with some video, as well as my thoughts on the first coffee I opened: Costa Rican “Miguel Rojas” (available on their site).

This review is for their Colombian “Alvaro Losada”.

__________

Cupping Breakdown

Brewed with 5.5grams of coffee, medium-fine grind, ~2.5 minute steep and 100 grams of water.

In the aroma I was getting all kinds of components: slight berry, brown sugar, vanilla, stone fruit, chocolate and lemon. They acidity was nice and crisp (9+/10), sweetness was high (also 9+/10). It was a balanced coffee, rich mouthfeel and clean finish. I found the clean finish and sweetness made the coffee feel a little ‘plain’. Not necessarily a bad thing… I’ll explain.

_________________________________

Section 1: Filter/ Drip Results
_________________________________

Pour Over

Brewed with 20grams of coffee via a Clever Dripper device, with 350 grams of water.
This was a deliciously sweet coffee. I found it to be sugary (cane sugar), with cinnamon, maple syrup with chocolate malt as the predominate flavour. The finish was nice, but faded quickly – this is one of my only complaints about this coffee.

Aero Press

Brewed with 16 grams of coffee via upside-down method and 220grams of water. I find the aero press to be more of a gadget than a reputable brewing tool (perhaps another post), however in this case it helped unlock some of the fruit components. I also found vanilla and spice. The acidity structure was not as nice as the Clever however.

Colombian “Alvaro Losada”

Colombian “Alvaro Losada”

Final Notes

The overall cup was very sweet, clean and a great expression of a nice Colombian with some stone fruit and berry. Finish was a little quicker than I’d like personally.
 Aroma  9 /10 
 Body  9 /10
 Sweetness    9.5 /10
 Acidity  9 /10
 Finish  8.5 /10
I’m including +2 cupping points (for its clean and crisp profile) pushing it to whopping 92 points!

_________________________________

Section 2: Espresso Results
_________________________________

This review was not intended for espresso critique. However, I had some coffee left over and explored its possibilities.

My notes were relatively small. The results were interesting:

“Alvaro Losada” as an Espresso

“Alvaro Losada” as an Espresso

Straight

The result was a pretty intense espresso (by this I mean flavour concentration not brew ratio!)

I found a good profile going from ~19.5 grams of coffee to ~29-30 grams of espresso in 26-27 seconds. It was intensely bright, had a molasses sweetness, malty, and faint blackberry/ blueberry.

In Milk

Milk simplified the espresso in some aspects, with mostly a sweet toasty and malty flavour. There was also notes of faint berry in the body of the drink.

_________________________________

I’m going to include my espresso results in this score. This was an interesting coffee, one of the better Colombian’s I have had. It performed pretty well in all aspects, be that cupping/brew/ or espresso. My cupping score for this coffee was 92pts, and my espresso scoring was around 90pts. A good average here, resulting in 91pts for the total.

Total 100 point score of 91/100.

52 Bottles of Wine Project (2012)

13 Jan

My New Years Resolution this year:

“ Drink a bottle of wine a week, for a full year “

Wine is something I have always found intimidating. At the heart of my fear are two things: the huge selection and the wealth of information.

However, I want to keep developing my palate and expanding both my tongue and brain. My thoughts are that I should be able to carry knowledge from Coffee and Whiskey, however I need to learn to be able to communicate across different mediums (wine being the oldest and most universal).

My hopes are that I can encourage others to break into the intimidating wine market, as I too start with the basics in a new medium. I have begun reading over the past few weeks, and will be using this project to dig into the basics.

52 Bottles of Wine Project

52 Bottles of Wine Project

The Project

Follow the Project by clicking here!

The Idea: drink at least a bottle of wine per week, over the course of a year, totalling 52 bottles of wine (minimum).

The philosophy: wine can get very expensive. By spreading it out in this manner, it becomes a lot more approachable and attainable. The goal is to try and sample classic/ typical expressions of the major grape varieties. This sets a reference point for my brain and tongue as I begin to work into other wines, later in the year.

I have started a counterpart website called Wine Folk:

http://winefolk.wordpress.com/

Feel free to participate with me, or even try buying the same wines and commenting in along the journey!

Happy 2012,
.Matt

Fratello Coffee – Costa Rican “Miguel Rojas”

10 Jan
Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

Near the end of 2011 I received two coffees from Fratello. These were new crops of coffee, and perhaps a hint at what the guys at Fratello will be up to in 2012. I’ve already posted a preview of the two coffees they sent us with some video. You should go and check that out if you haven’t already.

This review is for the first coffee I opened: Costa Rican “Miguel Rojas” (available on their site).

__________

Cupping Breakdown

Brewed with 5.5grams of coffee, medium-fine grind, ~2.5 minute steep and 100 grams of water. What struck me about this coffee was its uniformity. It wasn’t over-bearing in any of its components and was well balanced. My notes were short and simple: cinnamon, spice, chocolate, and some cane sugar. I also noted faint berry. The acidity was juicy and the mouth-feel was nice and round.

_________________________________

Section 1: Filter/ Drip Results
_________________________________

Pour Over

Brewed with 20grams of coffee via a Clever Dripper device, with 350 grams of water.
This was a nice clean coffee. My notes were: aroma of vanilla, spice and sweetness. The coffee had a tart lemon/green apple acidity (crisp), and clove, citrus and a dry chocolate. Dry finish.

Clever pour over of Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

Clever pour over of Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

French Press

Brewed with 26grams of coffee via Frieling. I found the french press muddied some of the clean and crisp flavours possible in this coffee. The flavour profile was similar to the clever, but a little more muted.

Final Notes

The overall cup was well balanced, great acidity, with a good nose and mellow, but sweet, main body.
 Aroma  9.5 /10 
 Body  8 /10
 Sweetness    9 /10
 Acidity  9 /10
 Finish  8.5 /10
I’m including +1 cupping points (for its clean and crisp profile) pushing it to a 89 points.

Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

_________________________________
Section 2: Espresso Results
_________________________________

This review was not intended for espresso critique. However, I had some coffee left over and explored its possibilities.

My notes were few. I was able to find a profile similar to my cupping notes, with some spice, chocolate and some caramel sweetness.

In Milk

The caramel notes were amplified in milk. I made a 2oz macchiato as well as a 6oz cappuccino, and both had a creamy butterscotch flavour profile.

_________________________________

I’m not including my espresso results in this score. It was included as a piece of mind, and for fun.
I’m instead only judging strictly the cupping/ clever/ french press results. Scoring…

Total 100 point score of 89/100.

Fratello Coffee – Preview of early 2012 Coffees

4 Jan

My main contact at Fratello is Russ Prefontaine or @FratelloCoffee2 on the twitter machine. From time to time, Russ will get in contact with to send out some coffees for feedback. It’s a pretty fantastic process and dialogue.

Once the package arrived, I opened everything up and took a photo. Inside were two coffees:

Colombia "Alvaro Losada" and Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas"

Costa Rican "Miguel Rojas" and Colombia "Alvaro Losada"

Included were two Direct Trade Micro lots. A Costa Rican “Miguel Rojas”, and Colombian “Alvaro Losada”. Both coffees will be getting separate and in-depth analysis, which will be posted over the next week.

Here is a quick video detailing the two coffees once I opened them and cupped them:

All for now!
.Matt

Transcend Coffee – “Santa Lucia” Espresso

14 Dec
Detail photo of the espresso profiled Costa Rican coffee.

Detail photo of the espresso profiled Costa Rican coffee.

I’ve already posted a preview of Transcend Coffee, as well as their filter coffee “Genesis” from Costa Rica.

I had high expectations for this coffee, and planned to experiment with a few different profiles. I started with the usual baseline for this espresso (94 degrees Celsius, 19grams).

This espresso seemed to work well at both 93 & 94 degrees Celsius. The dose seemed ideal in the 19.0 gram range, with a final liquid weight of ~31-33 grams with a total shot length of 25-26 seconds. Keep reading for details.

_____________
Straight Shot

While I found this was great at both 93 and 94 degrees Celsius, I personally found myself leaning towards the profile @ 93 degrees Celsius (best results in my personal opinion).

@ 93 degrees Celsius: a delicious jam-like aroma and initial taste. Berry (blackberry), wildly fruity, great sweetness and a mango mellowness filling up the body of the espresso. Also had slight hints of cocoa and tobacco on the finish.

Bottomless photo of espresso extraction.

Bottomless photo of espresso extraction.

@ 94 degrees Celsius: also quite jam-like, but with more chocolate and cocoa present in the taste profile. Still some mango in the body and an almond/ amaretto sweetness.

I was able to highlight more chocolate and cocoa with a lower dose as well (<18.5 grams) but it was not as sweet as at 19 grams. I found that doses higher than 19.5 grams were counter-productive and muted everything in this coffee – instead it became indistinguishable and sweet.

Not only was this a delicious espresso, it was relatively easy to work with and pull. I could see this working in a cafe setting.

In Milk

Pulling ~19.0 – 19.5 grams solid to 32.0 – 33.0 grams liquid and adding ~100 grams of milk (~6oz total volume cappuccino), the dominate flavour was a fantastic honey flavour. I also found some milk chocolate and a little pear coming through. At a higher temperature espresso (94 degrees Celsius) I found more chocolate, malty components and less sweetness.

______________________________________

Straight: truly a multidimensional single origin espresso with a jammy profile, tons of berry, sweetness and complexity with cocoa and tobacco 9+/10

Cappuccino with five-push tulip.

Cappuccino with five-push tulip.

In Milk:  great in small amounts of milk, nice honey and caramel with pear coming through in the perfect drink build 9/10

This was a highly versatile coffee. I personally favoured 19 gram dose with a lower temperature highlighting the berry components and jam-like qualities with a juicy mango thing going on. I was struck by the cocoa tobacco components, in addition, offering a wonderful complexity. Final score for this coffee… 92/ 100.

I’ve had a lot of Costa Rican coffees in the past year, but this one certainly sits in the top few.

Total 100 point score of 92/100.

Transcend Coffee – “Genesis”

7 Dec
I’ve already posted a preview of Transcend Coffee.
Costa Rica "Genesis"

Costa Rica "Genesis"

If you haven’t read that already, you should check that out. In a nutshell, I received two Costa Rican coffees from Transcend; James @transcendcoffee hooked me up. One was profiled for filter coffee named “Genesis” and the other was profiled for espresso called “Santa Lucia” (which I will post at a later date).
To make sure it’s clear, these are two different lots of coffee from different farms.
_________________________________
Filter / Drip Results for “Genesis”
_________________________________

Region: Lourdes de Naranjo, Costa Rica

Pour Over

Brewed with 19grams of coffee and 340mL water via a Clever Dripper device. The first few coffees I prepared were pour overs. This was a nice clean cup, good mouthfeel (though slightly thin), wine-y and mellow pear. The acidity structure was not as nice here as I expected, better on the french press (read on). Notes included: the aroma on this was delicious, spice and apples. Main body was that mellow pear/ melon. Clean finish.

Press Pot (French Press)

Brewed with 26grams of coffee via Frieling. The biggest surprise here was the change in the acidity structure. I found a nice sparkling acidity here, which was snappy and citrus-like. I found more spice and cinnamon present as well. It was still relatively clean and it cooled a little better.

Clever Dripper with Costa Rica "Genesis"

Clever Dripper with Costa Rica "Genesis"

Combined Notes and Scoring

The overall cup was well balanced, great acidity, with a good nose and mellow, but sweet, main body.

 Aroma  9 /10 
 Body  8 /10
 Sweetness    9 /10
 Acidity  9 /10
 Finish  8.5 /10
I’m including +3 cuppers points (for cooling well and overall balance) thus pushing it to a high 90 points.
Total 100 point score of 90/100.

PeterAsher Coffee – Preview

22 Nov

John Herriott at PeterAsher Coffee & Tea got in contact with me two weeks ago, offering coffee samples. He linked me to their website, which is insanely misrepresentative of their knowledge and product. I was, to say the least, very sceptical of what I was to receive. The site says nothing about any of the coffees, at all, except for a random (and irrelevant) blurb.

Thankfully, this is one of those cases where I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box. There was lots of information on the coffees, nice clean proper packaging, and some info on relations with their farmers.

Here is a quick video of the un-boxing and some updates:

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

The coffees I received were:

“Minussi Brothers”, Brazil – PeterAsher Coffee
“Bob-O-Link”, Brazil – PeterAsher Coffee
“Kimel Estate”, Papua New Guinea – PeterAsher Coffee

PeterAsher Coffee

PeterAsher Coffee

All of which had detailed info on everything down to the processing and drying. Nice! I look forward to cupping these up this week.

Also, stay tuned for the Transcend Coffee full detailed posts.

Happy coffee,

.Matt

Transcend Coffee – Preview

17 Nov
Transcend Coffees

Transcend Coffees

The last few posts have talked a little about the Canadian Barista Championships this year. So, without further delay, I had to get a hold of some Transcend Coffee, they held down the first and second place spots!

After some dialogue with James @transcendcoffee, I received three bags of coffee: Two of the “Santa Lucia” espresso and one of the “Genesis” filter coffee (both from Costa Rica).

Here is a quick overview, the video is short I promise!

_____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________

Stay tuned for the full detail!

Happy coffee,

.Matt

Social Coffee – People’s Liberation Espresso

31 Oct

It’s a rainy Monday afternoon and I just got in some new coffee from Social Coffee Company; an espresso blend called “Farmer’s Liberation”.

Here is a relatively short video about that coffee and an espresso extraction with it. I do a quick summary of the blend at the end. It’s really nice, with notes of chocolate, berry, red fruit and a sugary-honey sweetness.

________________________________________

People's Liberation

People's Liberation

Coffee:
Social Coffee – People’s Liberation

Shot parameters:
19.3grams of coffee in
29.2grams of espresso out
@94 degrees Celsius
26 seconds

Music:
Digitalism – Idealistic

You can also check out the Coffee Folk channel on Vimeo here:
http://vimeo.com/channels/205698

Thanks for checking it out, and more detailed reviews soon!

.Matt

Clever Coffee Dripper: Brewing 101

24 Oct

On this website I spend a lot of time discussing and working on espresso coffees, as well as the espresso brewing process.

After some thought, I finally decided to talk about one of my favourite methods of brewing filter coffees: the “Clever Dripper”. It is a relatively inexpensive brewing device that produces a really clean, crisp cup of coffee.

This is an in depth look at the device, and the brewing principles behind it. [NOTE: I absolutely do not work for/with Clever and am in no way affiliated with them!]

Coffee: Phil & Sebastian Ethiopia Sidama “Suke Quto”
Grind Size: medium filter grind
Weight: 19.0 grams of coffee
Water: 345.0 grams or 345mL

Any comments or concerns can be left in the comments.

If you wish to use this video, please credit Coffee Folk and link back to the site. I’d also love if you emailed me where you featured it so I can check out your site as well.

I hope this helps people understand and use the Clever, and moves towards a standardized brewing method for the device.

Thanks and happy brewing!

.Matt