Friday, June 30, 2006


i still love her

so now i've spent a couple of days brewing the intelligentsia version of the hacienda la esmeralda panama geisha. i've made the coffee in both the chemex and the vac pot, as promised.

and i have only one thing to say: descriptions of this as "a perfect coffee" or "coffee's answer to 1799 lafite" are suprisingly not hype. it's truly a world-class, benchmark bean this year.

(for discussions of this coffee for the previous 2 years, see 2005 and 2004. long-time readers know bccy has a strong and consistent interest in this bean.)

i do think doug zell has done a wonderful job with it. got your scaa flavor wheels nearby?

doug's roast level -- i don't have an agtron level from him -- seems to me to be city. i brewed 1.75 oz. fresh ground coffee to 30 oz. water in the vac pot, with a total time top to bottom of 4 mins., 25 secs.

the grind setting on my saeco 2002 was 11 (out of 15). i call this setting "fine coarse;" but naturally each grinder's a little different.

first, when i opened the bag, the scent of the new beans was primarily candied almonds. oh, just heavenly.

when ground, the dry fragrance was enchantingly floral, like orange blossom water. oren once remarked to me that no coffee fragrance was as aromatic as a good kona's; that's true, but i do think the geisha is very close to equal here.

as the water hit the top globe of the vac pot and the geisha bloomed, i could smell another fruit fragrance, like dried mango maybe.

the prime aromas of the geisha seemed to me to be sweet lemon oil -- think meyer lemon peel. the prime nose was malt-y -- balsamic rice is the classic descriptor here, i think.

the aftertaste is caramel, caramel, caramel, which is where the sweet candied almond thing comes back into play. the sensation the coffee left at the back of my mouth was a little dry, a little powdery, a little tart -- i do understand why doug zell describes this as green grape, altho' it seemed to me to be more like, say, if you had chewed on the on the slightly tart skin of a grape (for those of you who have peeled grapes for classic dishes like chicken veronique).

this is just one of the richest coffee bouquets i've had the privilege to witness.

the vac pot tends to attenuate body. however, this coffee had a lovely, lush medium body even in the stovetop bodum santos.

the taste of this coffee is lightly bright. i found this coffee so delightful that i drank it black.

this morning, when i brewed it in the chemex in the so-called "oren proportion," (2 oz. ground coffee to 28 oz. water), it was just as lovely, although a little different. it had even more body, for one thing.

i missed the dried mango with the chemex, and thought it became more dried apricot. whatever.

just a fantastic coffee. if you drink it with cream, you'll lose some of the lemon-y brightness. a little sugar enhances the sweet candied-ness.

nope, dear readers, i think this one is to drink black, or at best with a tiny pinch of raw sugar. just glory in it, glory.

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