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Verve Costa Rica Don Jose is one of the finest coffees I have ever tasted. First of all, the tasting note is dead on…malt and lemon curd. The most impressive thing about this coffee is that it manages to maintain great tension from the first sip through to the finish while maintaining elegance and finesse throughout. In wine terms, this is a Grand Cru Burgundy from Romanee Conti. The only other Central American coffee this memorable to my palate is Ritual Hacienda Carmona. I knew when I read the story behind the beans that this would be a winner (you can read the story on Verve’s site) and Juan Ramon Alvarado is a genius.
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Verve Coffee Papua New Guinea Kunjin is an odd one. I have been grappling with this coffee for over a week and I think I have come to the conclusion that the beans in this one are just not up to snuff. When I brew this in my Hario V60, it turns out hollow on the midpalate and short/insipid on the finish. I think Verve nailed the roast on this, so I don’t believe that is where the problem lies. In the end, I experimented with different brew methods and found the beehive dripper to render a fuller, better cup, although it did also taste slightly more bitter. I am therefore fairly certain that this coffee benefits from brewing methods that promote more extraction and bring out the dark tobacco and bitter chocolate flavors. Using this to pull espresso or even an Aeropress may be more appropriate. In the end, I can’t do either of those methods, so this will be a pass for me in the future.
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Camber Ethiopia Shakiso Mormora is a marvel. I brew A LOT of great coffee from great roasters using great beans at my house. But this one is possibly the best I have tasted in a very long time. This coffee has it all. It is floral, shows citrus acidity, nutty flavors and a star anise and Christmas cookie spice component. The complexity of this coffee blows my mind and Camber Coffee hit a Grand Slam with this masterpiece. I am usually pretty disciplined about only making one carafe of coffee a day, but with this coffee, I have been making two the last several days…it is that good.
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Heart Ethiopia Yukro has been on deck for just over a week and I am glad I checked back in with one of the first roasters that helped me “see the light”. Glad to say not much has changed. The roast that Heart have put on this is absolutely perfect. Light but not too light and just enough to bring out the sweetness and nuttiness in this coffee. I think the only thing I am slightly surprised by is that the beans had just a touch less acidity than I was expecting, but that is really a minor quibble. It is a surprisingly round and smooth coffee that should quite literally be a crowd pleaser.
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Camber Coffee Honduras Pedro Moreno this morning. This is from a roaster that I had not tried before but their story is good (read about them online) and I wanted to give them a try. And I am glad I did. Camber Coffee got the roast on this just right. One can tell from the color of the beans and aroma that they really know what they are doing. In the cup, this shows quite a bit more powerful than I was expecting with the tasting notes on the label of cherry and red apple being right on the money. Overall, I like this a lot although I continue to only like, not love Honduran coffees. But that is a personal preference not Camber’s issue. I have a different coffee of theirs in the wings which should give me a second chance to evaluate a very different kind of bean soon.
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Sweet Bloom Arnaud Causse Pichincha Ecuador is mindblowingly good. The coffee is crazy intense on the palate. In wine terms, this is like a tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. It also has an absolutely stunning citrus acidity that is obvious when one drinks this black. And a pleasing sweetness that balances the coffee out. The roast on this is more or less identical to the roast in my other favorites like Verve and Ritual. My second homerun from Sweet Bloom Coffee in a row and also my second Ecuadorian coffee that I have liked in a row. I see a pattern emerging…
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Sweet Bloom Colon Merino in the cup this morning. While Verve and Ritual continue to generally be my two favorite roasters, I wanted to revisit a different roaster just for fun. And Sweet Bloom Coffee doesn’t disappoint. This is a very nice coffee that is ultra soft and round with tea-like body. It is floral and sparkling with zero bitterness or rough edges. This is a coffee everyone can find something to like in….coffee snobs and noobs alike. One added benefit is that Sweet Bloom’s prices are very fair, so a great roaster to sample to get into ultra high quality coffee.
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Counter Culture Finca El Puente Gesha is my first foray into the vaunted Gesha variety. This was a present from a very generous person since I would be too cheap to spring for even a mere 4oz of this myself. That said, it is a marvelous #coffee that has tiny beans and in every way drinks like Ethiopian coffees (little surprise since the variety is from Ethiopia originally). I actually found this to be surprisingly powerful and sparkling citrus notes were ever present. What I did not really experience is the tea-likeness of this variety, but that doesn’t really bother me as I want to drink coffee when I brew coffee. @counterculturecoffee nailed the roast on this, too. Overall, while this was a real treat, I would buy a high grade Ethiopian coffee rather than this for a similar tasting experience at a 3rd or 4th of the price. That said…YMMV.
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Verve Kenya Gakuyu-Ini. I know you are getting sick of my fanboying over Verve 😁, but this is another stunner of a coffee. The note on the label is spot on with the guava describing the soft, round texture and the tangerine describing the sparkling acidity. What is missing in their note is the milk chocolate/toffee note that runs through this coffee that gives it some earthiness. 👊
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Ruby Coffee Guatemala Rincon is a bit of a conundrum for me. While I personally find it roasted too dark for my taste, my wife LOVED it. She even commented on the coffee before I got to ask her what she thought. And that never happens. We have been working on this bag for two weeks and just finished it, so my impressions are not the result of a “hit and run” tasting of this coffee. Overall, I find it difficult to taste much other than caramel and bitter chocolate. The sweetness of the beans is lost with this roast profile and if it were for me only, I probably would not buy from Ruby again. But since my wife was a fan, I am going to order from them again for sure. If you want to order any of their coffees, you ought to make sure you like darker roasts based on my very limited experience. Or call/email them to figure out if there are coffes they have that get roasted more lightly.
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Been working on this Madcap Finca de Dios for the last few days and it is pretty good. Super powerful and intense, but lacking a little bit of elegance and slightly wild and rough around the edges. Looking at the beans and smelling the grinds, it feels like Madcap got the roast just right, but in the cup, I detect just a touch more bitterness than I like. I will retry this with slightly less beans/grinds to see if that addresses the bite on this one. Overall, I am still really pleased and can see Madcap becoming part of my rotation of roasters.
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Verve Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yukro. I have been working on this for about a week and I really like it. I find this to be a particularly powerful coffee that is really dominated by dark chocolate and nutty flavors. Think chocolate covered walnuts. Very earthy and less overtly floral than I would have assumed, but no less enjoyable for it. Another home run from Verve Coffee.
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Verve Nicaragua Jaime Blandon Maragogype is the perfect antidote for the disappointing Chromatic coffees of late…and to spice up otherwise uneventful mornings. First impression is that these beans are HUGE. No small wonder that this variety is also referred to as “Elephant Beans”. The roast Verve Coffee put on this is absolutely perfect. Flavors of juicy fruit, walnut and savory pecan praline. Stunning stuff that I have been reveling over for days now.
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