Saturday, February 18, 2006


otta feel like a heel

it's really quite horrible of me, i know, to rave about a coffee you, dear readers, just can't get, because dougie and lindsay at gmcr sold out of it all in a day and a half. that's gotta be a record.

but what can i say? that's how good it is.

of course i'm referring to yesterday's rwandan. run for your scaa flavor wheel now.

i think dougie's packaging describes this 4-day-old coffee quite accurately. an excellent job on that!

naturally, i brewed this up in the french press as promised. i would call the roast a light city or american+.

the beans have expanded, all right, but there's still a lot of snappy-tasting brightness. when you open the bag, you are overwhelmed with a great smell of india tree dark musovado sugar.

the fresh dry grounds have more of this dark sugar as well as a slightly spicy floral feeling. when the hot water hits the coffee and you stir down the bloom, that's when the dried cherry scent arises.

i couldn't capture that in the cup tho'; i need to experiment to find the right grind, i suspect, before that happens. the main aromas of this beverage i think are molasses with a slight dark dutch cocoa aftertaste.

and the body is heavy, thick, perhaps even slightly gelatinous. this is all very very good.

as don schoenholt of gillies onced remarked, good coffee isn't brown. bad coffee is brown.

thus the classic perjorative for bad coffee: brown water.

good coffee is some interesting shade of red, which is why coffee companies tend to use red in their packaging. with this in mind, you'll understand what i mean when i tell you dougie's rwandan is an intriguing dark oxblood color, like an antique new mexican floor.

once again, i'm deeply sorry you can't experience this rare coffee yourselves, and i hope the tragedy of this fact impels you to consider signing up to catch a pound of their next reserve coffee, an ethiopian, in march. good luck!

the wind was so completely nasty and cold that while running my errands today i had to take refuge in economy candy where the smell alone forced me to pick up quite a few bars of café tasse 77%. hey, it was on sale!

as i headed home i passed the brave souls from wiklow orchard upstate, who were still peddling their local heirloom apples despite the siberian weather. this gave me an idea!

i bought 8 apples -- winesap, rome, an old golden-delicious-type thing -- and let the wind shove me down to the local nabe vino parlor, run by big jeff. big jeff is an uber-wine geek, but nice about it.

hey big jeff, i said, i have here some local upstate apples and i'm going make 'em up into the best compote ever. what wine should i cook 'em in? i want a local one to match the fruit.

big jeff never hesitates, but he rarely gets up either. he beckoned to one of his minions, and pointed a bottle out to him.

to me he said, you see, this weimer from the finger lakes? it's a semi-dry riesling that contains cinnamon and vanilla esters, which come from the nitrogen in the soil.

further, he explained, the kind of yeast the winemaker uses highlights a hint of crisp apple in the wine itself, thus reinforcing your dish and making it taste more intensely apple-y. this is just how big jeff talks -- you are going to have to learn about wine when you buy from him!

cool, jeff, i said, and brought the bottle home. and he was right -- it may be the best apple compote ever.

i absolutely cannot tell you how delicious the sauce tastes: the wine and apples mingle, the apple pectin thickens it naturally, and the cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, allspice, nutmeg and extra vanilla i dropped in just made it heavenly. . . .

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