April Coffee

In March I visited Boston for a meeting of the American Physical Society. The conference hosted roughly 10,000 physicists for 5 days, talking about new and exciting research. When I wasn’t steeping myself in science, I percolated through the city to find great coffee.

Mar19_GHow_front-01.jpegMy favorite this month has got to be the Kenyan from George Howell. On top of having a really impressive shop (more on this in my Boston review), they have been roasting and innovating in the specialty coffee world for a long time. This is their “flagship” coffee, and I can see why. I mostly drank this as a pour-over (15 g coffee to 270 g water, medium-fine grind), but had great experiences making some pretty potent Aeropress shots (30 g coffee to 250 g water, very fine grind and short time until press). The pour-over really brought out the darker berry flavors while the high concentration, short-time Aeropress recipe emphasized its citrus notes. I wish I had more of this coffee…

hdr_00073_0-01Gracenote cafe was one of the better places I stopped in Boston. The coffee I had at their tiny service counter was fruity and delicious, and I planned on taking that taste home when I picked up these beans. I must have grabbed the wrong bag though, because these tasted much darker and spicier than what I had at the shop. What a delightful mistake! Not to say that these are dark roast, but they definitely fall on the less citrus and fruity side. I loved these as a strong pour-over (15 g coffee to 200 g water, medium-fine grind), and they ended up being my preferred “first coffee of the morning” bean. The mouthfeel and mildness made for a satisfying, gulp-able brew.

The third sample this month doesn’t come from Boston, but rather Toronto. I got a little unlucky with the other cafes I tried in Boston. I ended up running out of time to explore and I didn’t want to bring back beans I thought were just “ok”. I hope that’s alright.

hdr_00071_0-01I finally got around to visiting Library Coffee near the Ontario College of Art and Design in downtown Toronto after being urged by friends for some time. I had an excellent long black and decided to bring back some slightly more challenging beans. These are a honey processed Ethiopians, and when done right there is a really nice fruit-tea flavor in there. I found them to be a bit sensitive, so be careful over-extracting. The result is still nice, but going a bit lighter on the extraction really lets the delicate flavors shine through.

As always, I hope you enjoy these coffees as much as I enjoyed picking them. While the window to get this batch is closed, there is still plenty of time to get on the list for May!

March Coffee

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I’ve been travelling a lot in the last month, which means the March coffee club review is coming a bit late. But this also means I’ve managed to source some nice coffee along the way!

In February I visited New Orleans, which from what I’ve read, doesn’t have the biggest specialty coffee scene. This couldn’t be further from the truth! …with a small caveat. It’s likely a visitor is going to stay closer to the tourist areas around the French Quarter, and aside from Spitfire Coffee, I had a hard time finding anything that great. However, if you are interested in exploring the neighborhoods surrounding the small pocket that is the French Quarter, there are plenty of great spots to check out.

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This month I’m bringing back beans from Mojo, HEY! and Stumptown (which I know is not a native NOLA roaster), and by subscriber request, they skew to the more traditional, dark-and-chocolaty flavors.

The Stumptown is a sweet and syrupy Ecuador with a bit of a grape or plum. I’ve really enjoyed this as a pour-over. I found it hard to over-extract, so would recommend 17 g of a-bit-finer-than-usual grind with about 300 g of water. For me, this took a little longer to percolate than usual, but I was happy with the results.

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I brought back some Mexican beans from HEY! and this was the darkest, heaviest of the bunch. It’s toasty and chocolaty, but easy to overdo it (maybe because it’s a natural wash). I had the best luck with a coarse grind in my French press. As long as you don’t leave it too long (start around 3 minutes), 15 g beans to 250 g water seemed good.

 

Feb19_mojofront-01Finally, Mojo had a nice Uganda available. It reminded me a lot of the HEY! beans, but a lot easier to get right, and a lot smoother. While the HEY! beans were heavy on the chocolate (or maybe cacao to be a little more specific), the Mojo had a bit more spice to it. I was happy with my typical pour-over recipe of 15 g coffee (medium-fine grind), with 250 g water.

I hope you enjoy tasting these coffees as much as I enjoyed finding them! While the shipping period for these ones is now closed, there is still some time to sign up for April. This month I went to Boston for a physics conference and just so happened to taste some of the best coffee I have ever had.

If you are interested in the coffee scene around New Orleans, I will be posting a bit of a travel report (including some breweries and veggie restaurants) in the next couple weeks.

PS. You might be wondering what that yellow bag is in the back. Apparently The South traditionally likes to add chicory to their coffee, so I figured I ought to try it. I can say definitively, that I do not like to add chicory to my coffee, so I won’t be sending any of that out. In the spirit of scientific discovery, even a failed experiment can be a learning experience. So before I give up on the chicory, the roaster recommends trying it as a cold-brew. Results to follow…