Thursday, January 13, 2005

thanks and ecco again

let me begin by thanking everyone who came out for the coffee meetup last night! it was fantastic to meet you all -- and i was so happy to see pro baristi luke and dan, who came all the way from pennsylvania.

i also want to express special appreciation to mary petitt at juan valdez (the colombian coffee federation); jim p. of 1st-line; oren; don s. at gillies coffee; steve colten of atlantic; and norman v. thank you for sponsoring this event and for contributing door prizes!

i'm deeply grateful. we decided as group that next month's event will be a basic origin tasting. more on that later.

right now i want to return to what seems to be theme of the last two weeks: superpremium brazil in espresso. i know, i know -- the pro baristi are still into the so-called "s.o.s." or "single-origin shot."

i love single origins, so i've no problem with that. but i do adore my blended italian-style coffee too.

this leads me, after yesterday's atomic, to go back to andrew's ecco northern-italian espresso, which also is a blend containing superpremium brazils.

again, grab those scaa flavor wheels. . .

i've been drinking andrew's espresso at intervals for about 10 days now. it's fascinating how during that time the coffee changes.

the ecco regular espresso -- you may recall that the organic espresso smelled so good through the valve a guest asked to take it back to vermont with her -- is a light-medium-dark roast, northern-italian style. if you put it next to the atomic veloce, it's noticeably lighter.

it too is a mellow, sweet coffee, with that heavy brazil motor-oil body. it coats the back of a demitasse spoon like thick thanksgiving gravy.

the mattos family andrew's brazil is noteworthy, grown by afonso mattos (pictured far right in green tie, with family members and lula, the president of brazil, red tie), whose fazenda braúna is located in matas de minas, the north of minas gerais. this coffee came in the top 10 of the 2003 brazil cup of excellence.

due to its slightly ligher roast and different components with the brazil, however, the ecco espresso offers a different flavor. and when i say different components, i'm talking about the famed monsooned malabar.

again, this is a prize-winning coffee: the malabar's from aspinwall and won the 2004 india fine cup of coffee competition. as you can see, andrew is intent on offering only world-quality beans.

no doubt the fresh dry grounds are also intensely floral, but with a bit of fruitiness, probably from the malabar.

when younger (say at day 4 to 7), the ecco espresso was nutty (that should be from the brazil?), and caramel-y. specifically, i'd say malty, toasty, and with a roasted almond feeling.

later, as in now, i'm feeling the heavier notes more, a maple-syrupy thing, but a little less candy-like.

the monsooned malabar aftertaste, that distinctive earthy quality, was less noticeable when the coffee was young; but has risen more into prominence as the coffee matures.

at day 4, i nearly despaired making triples with this coffee, because it offered so much crema that a reasonably timed pour was overflowing my shot glasses with foamy mousse before the coffee could settle out. i attributed this to the combination of the superpremium brazil and the malabar.

now at day 14, the crema's more manageable, almost "normal." if you like an especially distinctive sumatra, then you'll love walking through the ecco espresso lifecycle: it will seem familiar, but different.

you'll say hmm, earthy, i know this, but somehow it's also a little different. maybe you might say the difference between "wet earth that cracked hard" and "dry potting soil with vermiculite."

or however you want to express that. . .in a cappuccino, the ecco does stand out more than the atomic. it's distinctive, again, due to the malabar.

of course fans of dr. john's josuma cult espresso, malabar gold, will love this coffee. but since the ecco is all-arabica, it remains its own person.

and those who don't like the robusta in dr. john's coffee might very well appreciate the ecco too. however, if you don't like monsooned coffees, you are going to have to stretch yourself to "get" andrew's espresso.

highly recommended! what a fun journey with andrew's coffees!

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