Saturday, August 13, 2005
surprise & the almighty yrg
i do love surprises, which is why i was thrilled to return home yesterday and discover a great gift from lon-time bccy pal don
schoenholt of gillies coffee. yes, 1/2 lb. of the fabulous yrg, whose praises i have sung here so often, the yrg that ken davids once called the best ever.
ooh ooh: that lovely wine-y, lemon candy yrg! but the surprise got even better -- don had included a 1 liter bonjour cafetiere, a new model french press with a couple of small engineering improvements over my classic bodum plungers.
the bonjour "monet" features just one ultra-fine mesh screen with a silicone edge to help keep even the finest coffee particles down. this is a big improvement over the classic bodum two-layer metal screen with wire coil setup.
also, the top of the pot offers a handy splash shield you can rotate into place to keep from being burned by splash through the pour spout as you press down. finally, opposite the splash shield there's another little super-ultra-fine mesh screen to ensure that not a single speck of grounds will make it into your cup.
and did i mention it's made of lexan, so it's unbreakable? this is a plus for many people, altho' i'm rather a purist and generally believe coffee should be made in either glass or porcelain.
maybe i worry too much that the plastic could possibly absorb odors. ..so i rushed this morning and after the usual cappuccini with jessica's marvelous fresh batdorf dancing goat, i made up a pot of the yrg.
it was remarkably clear, undoubtedly the clearest french press coffee i'd ever had. obviously this is the solution to dilemma i face with andrew's ecco nicaraguan cup of excellence: now i can max out the body in the press, without muddying the flavors. . . .
must check this out, if i have enough of that fine coffee left! if not, gosh gee whilikers, i'll console myself with my delightful old friend, the delicious yrg!
thanks again, don.
Friday, August 12, 2005
the nicaragua cup of excellence, part iii
i'm glad that tonx is also enjoying this coffee. i have to agreee with him: andrew b. of ecco "can do no wrong in my book" (er, blog); he's flatly putting out some of the finest coffee around.
following up from yesterday, i made andrew's nicaragua c.o.e. today in the cafetiére, because it does have the potential for a suprisingly heavy body, considering that it's a central. and i wanted to max that out to see just how thick it could be.
lemme step back a minute to talk about the coffee in a more organized way. got your scaa flavor wheel handy?
andrew's roasted this coffee to what i'd call full city; the beans show just tiny pinpricks of oil at 10 days old. as i've stated before, the fresh grounds are beautifully floral and due to its age, a tad round.
in the press, the coffee has low brightness, in fact i found it tasted rather soft. (i wonder if tonx would agree with me on this!)
the cafetiére just doesn't do this coffee's nuances much justice, to my mind -- i think its nutmeg-y, syrup-y feelings are muddied by this brewing method.
but the body is pretty amazing when made this way! as always, it's interesting to walk with a fine coffee through its freshness lifecycle and using different brewing methods.
at every age and with every brewing method, certain aspects of the bean come to the fore. it's just fascinating to explore the possibilities inherent in a truly great coffee this way.
thanks again for the opportunity to do so, andrew!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
regional coffee culture, part l
"consumers are shunning soft drinks in favour of healthy alternatives like water or a coffee. . ."
coffee consumption's on the rise in australia, no doubt! and soft-drink giant coca-cola's noticed.
"as temperatures dip during the southern hemisphere winter, business is heating up at trendy city coffee shops in brazil's biggest tourist resort, rio de janeiro."
and apparently in brazil too!
and as much as i love coffee, i'd offer a word of caution to the people of saipan before jumping wholesale into developing a coffee industry for themselves. to put oneself at the mercy of this commodity's vicious global market is the definition of heartbreak and hunger. . .
since the island's highest point is an extinct volcano at 1,500 ft., it seems like they might be trying to emulate a kona model. but kona's cloud-sun microclimates are unique and fragile.
i think it's pretty safe to say the kona experience probably can't be duplicated.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
the nicaragua cup of excellence, part ii
per yesterday, i made andrew's ecco nicaragua coe coffee in the vac pot. i was much happier with the result, even tho' i did lose some of the great body, as expected.
in the vac pot, wonderful nutmeg flavors came soaring through, along with a nice light cocoa-type aftertaste. but! i did sacrifice the body. . .
as i was agonizing over this trade-off, a little bird offered me 2 more chemex tips: put a straw(!) behind the filter, on the opposite side of the pour spout (to make the coffee drip faster) and also to fold the pointed bottom tip of the filter flat. this supposedly helps prevent the fine particles in the grind from clogging it.
i'll try both of these tomorrow.
and finally, a big bccy thanks to everyone who made the coffee meetup. in the middle of august -- prime vacation time -- i should be grateful that anyone shows up at all!
i should be posting this right now, but (sigh) blogger's down. for planned maintenance. why didn't they tell us this before we logged in to write???aaaarrgghhhhh. . . that's why i'm mailing this in.
maybe it'll make it.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
the nicaragua cup of excellence
made this great ecco coffee up lickety-split this morning in the chemex instead of the vac pot, simply because i already had the chemex out. i was so happy to see this come in the mail yesterday because i knew it would be intriguing.
it's an organic, fair-trade coffee with a great floral character. i'm not sure the chemex really does it justice, even if i take oren's tip and brew with no less than 30 oz. water (that requires a nice 1.75 oz. ground coffee, minimum!).
tomorrow i really have to make this in the vac pot -- the chemex did justice to this coffee's body but not, i think, to its nuances.
tune in tomorrow for an update. . .
Monday, August 08, 2005
and in a total surprise, andrew sent me this morning even more of his fabulous ecco coffee: the much-anticipated 2005 nicaragua cup of excellence 5th place winner by tofilio c. torrez, of the luis alberto vasquez co-op, as well as two more espressi, including the ello reserve.
wowza! this nicaraguan is going right into the vac pot tomorrow morning!
nyc coffee meetup just 2 days away
yes, it's true: it's already time for another coffee meetup. run on over to the event and r.s.v.p.
you'll be glad you did! it's at jonathan's joe east side location. no big agenda this time, just hang out with other coffee lovers and chat for a bit.
i did make andrew's ecco espresso with the ello resevere in the chemex this morning. i have to say, chemex doesn't suit this coffee, to my mind.
the cafetiére is probably going to be better.
also on the yoga front: yesterday at i managed a pose i've been working on for quite a while, another arm balance. at yoga people, we tend to call this pose "flying lizard," but if anyone knows its real sanskrit name, do tell!
so, lemme describe this asana: from lunge, turn the forward foot out 45 degrees and set your elbows down on the floor, keeping the back leg straight and the head and spine in line. this is "lizard."
to make the lizard fly, nestle the arm nearest the front leg under the thigh, so the leg comes over the shoulder, and extend the arms out to the side. this is commonly called "airplane," tho' again, if anyone knows the real name, please offer it!
doing airplane allows you to get the feel of a balance in this position. it's much easier to balance if you press the head of your shoulder into the back of your calf like a mad dog.
once you're in airplane without effort, then put your palms down on the floor and bend the arms, as if to create a wide crocodile arm position. the shoulder is still under the thigh.
now lean your upper body forward so you can pick your front leg off the floor and straighten it. once you're there, all you have to do is pick your back leg off the floor likewise and push the crown of your head towards the front of the room.
your weight is fully held in both arms and when you're still new in the pose your upper body may be resting on the backs of the bent arms. i'm sorry that i can't find a pic of this pose on google anywhere, but i hope this description is adequate.
i've always assumed that this pose is named after the flying lizards of southeast asia (such as here). i'm crediting my new once-a-week acquaintance with pilates recently for the breakthrough in this pose.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
ecco espresso with ello reserve
and what makes a fine-sipping americano when making pizza dough? naturally, andrew barnett's ecco northern italian espresso with ello reserve.
this coffee has a stronger chocolate/cocoa aftertaste than that silly chocatal product ever dreamed of. as long-time readers know i'm just a huge fan of andrew's coffees, and this is another example of why.
in fact, i wonder if this coffee would be fantastic iced -- with some light cream it might be rather like a coffee-chocolate milk. . .hmm. must try this in the chemex.
if it brews nicely there, we'll see how it takes to refrigeration. . . btw, i hope you all are as fond of dougie cadmus' new blog look as i am.
i've added another folding step to my pizza dough, so it's time to run off and do that now. i think even just one more fold during the rise makes the dough chewier, which is always an important goal to me!