Friday, July 14, 2006

mark inman's taylormaid farms rancho san antonio, take ii

leapt outta bed this morning to brew this up as a single-origin espresso on my beloved italian princess, silvia. as i suspected earlier, this is bean is best flat-out as espresso.

now serious espressohounds are at this moment squinching their noses at the screen -- because they know this bean, at 9 days old, should be rather elderly for good espressi. but!

mark inman and i had a rather interesting discussion on this very topic: the peculiar qualities of these pulped natural super-premium brazils. and one of them is that they don't seem to develop their best flavor for a few days after roasting.

devoted readers may recall that when world barista champ tim wendelboe (hiya tim!) sent me his stockfleth's blend last year, he specifically insisted that i not pull a shot with it until it was 9 days old -- for this very reason, i suspect.

they also have seem to have, as a class, a habit of spilling out more oil than their roast level might normally develop. i've noticed this myself with these -- that they seem so lightly colored for the amount of oil or sheen on the beans.

and mark says he finds this a typical behavior of these beans.

anyway, i found the organic rancho san antonio very easy to work with -- no dialing it in, the classic zero-point at the mazzer mini's arrow decal produced good coffee the first time. wonderful.

remember, my silvia doesn't have a pid; i still temp-surf. but for those of you with temperature control, mark says he recommends you brew this coffee at 202 f.

further, while i pulled it as a 30-sec triple, mark does actually seem to intend this coffee as a straight double.

mark noted as well that he thought the coffee was best as a plain espresso, finding it perhaps a bit quiet for a cappuccino. but i disagree: pulled triple, it made a lovely cappa, to my mind.

despite its 9 days, the san antonio gave great guinness effect during the pull. no crema shortage here.

when i tested its body with a demitasse, the brew coated the back of the spoon like heavy thanksgiving gravy, leading me to call it a great, buttery coffee. very sexy body.

tasting the espresso, i found the same basic flavors i did in the chemex brew from my previous attempt, but this time they worked together much better. it's lightly bright in taste, slightly orange oil, with a long lovely caramel aftertaste.

one important note came out much more clearly as espresso. and that was a delicious candied hazelnut quality.

i think this is key to why the triple made such a nice breakfast cappa -- there's something about this hazelnut that really reminds me of the cappas at the tazza d'oro (if you ask for the all-arabica blend).

however, mark mentioned that there should be some dried cherry in the aroma here, and i missed that. this could be a grind issue, or it could be a double vs. triple thing.

the point is: this is quite an impressive espresso on its merits, quality through and through -- as well as being sweet enough to not require any sugar. suitable for hardcore espressohounds, who will understand the clean technical virtues of the coffee, but delicate enough so that normal coffee lovers and those new-ish to espresso will be able to enjoy it with ease.

another knockout from mark inman!

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