Friday, May 26, 2006


the batdorf pico del tucan

as promised, i brewed up yesterday's batdorf bolivia c.o.e., the pico del tucan in the chemex. i made it just as i had made peter g's counterculture version the other day.

so. the first thing i noticed was that scott from batdorf had roasted his take on this prize-winning coffee more lightly than peter g. did, what i might call standard+. this roast level, plus the week age difference, makes it hard to compare these coffees head-to-head.

so i won't. let me consider scott's coffee on its own merits, altho' i think some things about how scott and peter handled the coffee could be contrasted. for example, when i first opened peter's bag, the scent was beautifully nutty; whereas scott's bag had a stronger straight vanilla smell.

i also thought scott had a more chocolate-y aftertaste, while peter's coffee had more vanilla-syrupy aftertaste. in terms of the flavor wheel, i'd say scott's coffee is more bakers chocolate, while peter's is more what the wheel calls swiss, which to me is how vanilla custard, like flan, tastes.

in short, this comes about technically because peter roasted his on his smaller machine to a ground agtron of 63; scott has a bigger machine and obviously went lighter. (please scott call me with your agtron number, ok?)

so both of these coffees are vanilla coffees -- it's just how and where the vanilla enters into the picture you know? and both of these variations make sense in terms of the roast level, i think.

these are also both very floral coffees: peter's fresh dry grounds reminded of a bouquet, of wandering by the flower store (he calls it "wildflowers"); scott's is very similar. i think that's just the nature of the pico del tucan itself.

and both coffees are caramelly -- i think they both have a honey-type smell when the water hits them and they bloom.

the two also share a great body. it's a medium-bodied coffee, but just feels great when you smooth the coffee across the roof of your mouth.

scott uses the word plush, which i think works for both coffees. as for the taste, scott's is slightly brighter, more lively, altho' the pico del tucan itself is a bright coffee.

since scott's roast looks slighter lighter in color, i would expect it to be a tad brighter. i love both of these coffees, and if you're considering which to order, i'd say: first choose the roaster that's nearest you for freshness and second go for roast color.

but the roast color difference, while noticeable, isn't extreme. if you like slightly darker coffees and live nearer peter in the carolinas, go for peter.

if you like a slightly lighter roast, and so a somewhat brighter coffee, go for scott. scott roasted this batch, jessica tells me, in olympia, on the west coast in their big probat, altho' batdorf does also have some roasting in atlanta.

myself, i'm happy to have been able to have tried both. so in the end, it's not about peter vs. scott at all.

rather it's all about the farmer, anacleto uluri, and the nuances he grew hidden in this lovely bean, the nature of his origin. peter and scott, each talented roasters, sampled this coffee and then applied their own artistry to it.

both are interpreters of what the farmer gave them. in this way, drinking these two versions of the coffee is like listening to different recordings of a piece of classical music; think of it as a tone-poem in flowers, honey, and vanilla.

this conductor led his symphony to emphasize the finish of the coffee; the other, to emphasize the lilt and movement in the coffee.

some classical music listeners will buy both versions. others will carefully choose the one that suits their own temperment.

which type are you?

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posted by fortune | 7:28 PM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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