Saturday, April 08, 2006
where i ain't
by which i mean at the scaa conference in charlotte. it's a shame i had to miss meeting all my specialty coffee friends this year, but, there's always next year. . .i know dear readers you all are getting the news from there because so many people are blogging/podcasting/emailing from there.
but for those of us remaining at home -- even here in drizzly new york, where we are suffering a spate of autumnal weather -- we can keep our coffee spirits up in other ways. in my case, of course, with oren's beautiful finchwa and jessica's fabulous fresh batdorf dancing goat!
and of course a mug of nice warm floral-citrus-scented valrhona cocoa. i had to have a cup after traipsing down to the always-adorable economy candy, where valrhona's on sale for only one more week!
it's instructive to compare the finchwa i've been discussing recently with the dancing goat. one is a pure ethiopian coffee, the other a blend containing ethiopian.
i like to begin my saturday mornings with a cappuccino, and the dancing goat, with its flavors of caramelized walnuts and a hint of my beloved indigo (that is, a harrar), makes a lovely cappuccino. it doesn't cut through the milk so much as blend smoothly into it.
so soothing and sweet! but i did also try the finchwa this morning as a cappuccino, which honestly didn't suit it, imvho.
altho' most people who drink espresso with devotion -- the espresso hounds -- generally don't appreciate bright or wine-y coffee, i think the finchwa makes a fantastic single-origin espresso.
i didn't think an americano suited it. why?
preparation as espresso seemmed to crush the wine, plum, and blueberry flavors together into an invigorating wake-up tonic. as the espresso cooled a bit, the blue seemed to float over the retro-nasal aromas like a mediterrean haze.
the extra water of the americano seemed to dilute that blue feeling, so to me it seemed besides the point.
plus as an espresso, the finchwa has a nice syrupy body, which the americano thins out. here's where it bears comparison to the dancing goat.
the dancing goat, being a blend, has a more substantial, heavy syrup body, and more crema too. the finchwa as lovely as it is, just doesn't offer the same long-lasting crema as the blended goat.
which is to be expected -- the goat is formulated exactly to plump up the body and deliver a thick head of moussy crema.
despite this, i loved the finchwa as a single-origin pull. but i also love the goat.
thanks to the kindness of oren and jessica, i don't have to choose!
Tags: scaa conference :: charlotte :: fiori di sicilia :: valrhona :: economy candy :: oren bloostein :: oren's daily roast :: jessica :: batdorf :: dancing goat blend :: coffee :: espresso :: cappuccino :: americano :: ethiopia :: yrg :: yrgacheffe :: yirgacheffe :: harrar :: fortune :: frelkins :: fortune elkins :: bread coffee chocolate yoga
Friday, April 07, 2006
follow that plum
when confronted with a coffee as lush and gorgeous as yesterday's finchwa yrg, long-time readers know that my instinct is to reach for the bodum santos stove top vac pot.
as i've explained here before, while the vac pot is fragile, the particulars of its operation bring out the most subtle nuances in a coffee. and those nuances are the whole show when it comes to coffees as rare and lovely as oren's finchwa.
at just a few days old, i wanted to brew this joe fast before the most delicate flavors faded. and so i awoke early this morning filled with determination.
just a handful of minutes later, i was rewarded with a splendid cup -- of course yesterday i ranted and raved about all the blueberry aroma and dutch chocolate aftertaste this coffee displays.
the vac pot offers all that, plus a delicious note of ripe italian plum. i mean, it's like a plum and blueberry pie.
yes, the plum is clearly in the cup, as well as in the aroma. of course the trade off is in the body -- the finchwa adopts a medium-light body, just a little less thick than you'd find in the chemex, and of course much less heavy than you'd see in the cafetiére.
but it's worth it! and also, as would be expected, the coffee's sparkling winey-ness is more pronounced.
if this extra wine-y quality bothers you, just add a splash of light cream, which will enhance the body and the dessert feeling both!
it's just one of the most stellar coffees you could imagine. it's become a clear favorite in my house!
Tags: oren bloostein :: oren's daily roast :: finchwa :: finch weha :: yrg :: yrgacheffe :: yirgacheffe :: ethiopia :: coffee :: java :: joe :: coffee makers :: coffee pots :: vac pots :: cafetiere :: french press :: stove top :: bodum :: chemex :: blueberry :: chocolate :: plum :: frelkins :: fortune :: fortune elkins :: bccy :: bread coffee chocolate yoga
Thursday, April 06, 2006
it's what's for breakfast
what if i told you that i had wild blueberry crepes with dutch chocolate sauce this morning? you'd say, yummy! right?
and yummy it is, because of course these are the flavors to be found in oren's famed finch wa yrg.
the second in that set of classic coffees from the all-important ethiopian internet auction -- remember, there's also the batdorf kello and the ecco hama -- the finch wa remains a mind-blowing bean.
i opened this 1-day-old coffee this morning and was immediately overwhelmed as the fresh whole beans perfumed the house with the delicious aroma of blueberry fruit preserves.
because oren is a big chemex fan, that's how i made the coffee. using his proportion of 26 oz. water to 2 oz. ground coffee.
oren roasted these beans to what i'd call full-city+, with only the occasional bean showing the tiniest patch of oil.
as the water hit the coffee in the filter, that's when the toasty smell of fresh-baked hot crepes drifted up. the intense and juicy blueberry aroma definitely made it into the cup -- tho' it's most intense when the coffee's cooled a bit.
at that time, you'll sip, swallow, and after swallowing you automatically take a little breath. and it's that little automatic inhale that brings the blueberry sensation back behind your nose where you perceive it strongly.
aahhhh! i loved it black, as well as with splenda and a dash of light cream.
what startles me is that oren has any of this left. i must not be communicating clearly -- if i were, dear readers, you'd have pillaged oren's stores and overwhelmed his shopping cart of any trace of this coffee. . .it would be a mass java riot. . .
Tags: coffee :: oren bloostein :: oren's daily roast :: ethiopia :: ethiopian internet auction :: finch wa :: finch weha :: chemex :: batdorf :: ecco :: kello :: hama :: yrg :: yrgacheffe :: yirgacheffe :: frelkins :: fortune :: fortune elkins :: bccy :: bread coffee chocolate yoga :: scaa flavor wheel :: blueberry
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
and guess what comes flying thru my door today? oh yeah, well, it's not a total surprise after my conversation yesterday with oren's roast manager.
yuppers, it's a lovely silver mylar bag of the amazing finchwa yrg, roast dated yesterday. i was told that all of oren's coffee is usually packed within 30 mins. or so of roasting.
so we are looking at fresh coffee. . .remember, this is the bean long-time bccy pal cgg (another of us coffee-lovin' yoginis -- we're practically our own niche-interest group here!) has compared to an all-in-one dessert.
ah yes, and today this nice list of coffee blogs was brought to my attention. it covers most of the major ones, but there are soooo many nowadays!
baristi have blogs, consumers have blogs, roasters have blogs, retailers have blogs -- i'm waiting for the coffee farmers to start blogging. that'll be a landmark.
as the passion for our beloved bean spreads, it's hard to keep up. finally, i wish all of you who are going a safe journey to scaa conference in charlotte.
since paying work has a habit of really intefering with one's coffee volunteerism, i alas will miss conference this year. but! there's always the scaa consumer member homecoming and swanky cocktail party this summer. . .
Tags: coffee :: finchwa :: finch weha :: yrg :: yrgacheffe :: yirgacheffe :: ethiopia :: oren's daily roast :: oren bloostein :: caffeinated geek girl :: scaa :: charlotte :: conference :: coffee blogs :: frelkins :: fortune :: fortune elkins :: bccy :: bread coffee chocolate yoga
a fantastic journey
wowsa! this is the most exciting email i've gotten in a long time: the invitation to a yogic journey. . .
our friends and fellow yoga students at the break-thru intellectual yoga magazine, namarupa, have put together the most fascinating itinerary through the astonishingly beautiful world heritage temples of tamil nadu. it's the dream journey of a lifetime, really.
even if you're not into yoga so much, it's an amazing tour from an artistic, architectural, world historical, and cultural point of view.
in other namarupa news, it's finally possible to buy the first issue on-line for just US$10. and if you've missed this, i urge all serious yoga students to immediately download it.
finally, if you practice iyengar yoga, ashtanga, or viniyoga -- or are just interested in the legacy of the great yoga master krishnamacharya -- download the incredible article that interviews the master's best-known students: bks iengar, p. jois, and tkv desikachar.
right here for free.
Tags: yoga :: ashtanga :: ashtanga yoga new york & sri ganesha temple :: ganesha tea stall :: namarupa :: krishnamacharya :: eddie stern :: spiros antonopolous :: chai wallah :: iyengar :: viniyoga :: desikachar :: tamil nadu :: frelkins :: fortune :: fortune elkins :: bccy :: bread coffee chocolate yoga
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
congrats to jonathan!
and a big bccy congrats to long-time bccy pal jonathan of joe on his recent designation as best ny espresso by time out ny.
as i sat here this morning, listening to my new fave album, marconi union's distance, i finished up peter g's counterculture rwanda as turkish. it makes a really nice turkish brew, and offered so much foam!
what a lovely coffee. distance seems meant to be a train journey at night, possibly on the eurostar. long-time readers know i'm a big eurostar fan, so this works for me.
i also had a wonderful chat today with oren's roasterie manager -- woohoo. being sensible people, we prattled with delight about oren's famous gothot.
yup, i want what every coffee-lover in nyc wants: a tour of oren's roasting floor! someday, someday. . .
Tags: jonathan rubinstein :: joe the art of coffee :: time out ny :: oren bloostein :: oren's daily roast :: gothot :: coffee roaster :: peter guiliano :: counterculture :: coffee :: nyc :: new york city :: rwanda :: marconi union :: eurostar :: turkish coffee :: frelkins :: fortune :: fortune elkins :: bccy :: bread coffee chocolate yoga
Monday, April 03, 2006
regional coffee culture, part many, redux
"a recent report by economic researcher bis shrapnel found that the number of coffees served each year in australia increased by 65 per cent over the past 10 years and the industry was now worth $840 million.
while local growers produce just 200 tonnes of beans each year, less than 1 per cent of the world coffee production, australia imports more than 40,000 tonnes, mostly from papua new guinea and indonesia."
and isn't this a very interesting article? long-time readers will recall i spent much of november and december last year in oz myself.
thus i can testify to the high quality of coffee -- and its lows! -- in oz's major cities. sydney and hobart have excellent coffee, truly world class; in several shops there it does surpass all but one or two places in the u.s.a.
however, i haven't been to scandinavia yet, where the quality of coffee beverage service has also lately improved dramatically. but in general, i think there's little doubt that in the past couple years, oz and scandinavia have been wrestling for the top global spot in specialty coffee culture.
i would also love to go to tokyo, to see how oz barista champ paul bassett's new shops there are doing. from early travel reports, however, these could be the best or certainly among the best, in the world today.
serious coffee lovers, start planning your pilgrimages now!
let's take a moment to go back to peter g's counterculture rwanda, which i've been discussing over the past several days. i think this is best brewed in the chemex, which shouldn't be a surprise, since that was also the conclusion i came to in considering dougie's gmcr rwanda.
Tags: doug cadmus :: peter guiliano :: counterculture :: gmcr :: green mountain :: australia :: coffee :: coffee consumption statistics :: regional coffee culture :: paul bassett :: frelkins :: fortune :: fortune elkins :: bccy :: bread coffee chocolate yoga
Sunday, April 02, 2006
now that we've straightened it all out
ok, i feel like the confusion about peter g's counterculture rwanda has been dispelled, so what's the coffee taste like now?
you could check out your scaa flavor wheel:
peter describes the coffee as "cashew," and today, i see where he's coming from on that. smelling the whole beans in the bag, there's a definite sweet nuttiness and even a little scent of those large dried sultanas i buy for the famed irish shooting cake.
the milk chocolate aftertaste definitely makes its statement too. i love drinking this coffee black, with just a little splenda to help that fruitiness along.
the past 2 days have been the beginning of our real spring; this morning all the daffodils blossomed at once, as did the ornamental pear trees in my nabe. just glorious.
the dogwoods and tulip trees mostly opened mid-week, but the little sprinkle of rain we got yesterday afternoon seemed to be just what the other flowers were waiting for.
it was just a lovely walk home from yoga, and even better to sit down after class in my sunny living room with a cup of peter's rwanda. just a lovely coffee on a late spring afternoon!
i don't know how much of this peter has, but i hope for your sake, dear readers, it's a lot. . .must go get the kitchen ready for pizza-making!