The Electric Coffee Bean Experience

The search for kickass coffee

Archive for the category “Africa”

The tea that blew me away

So this past week was barista training – and I passed.

Bearing in mind that I’ve only spent two hours pulling shots before the course, coming away with a solid pass with merit was very satisfying.

Apart from a basic grounding in espresso and similar, the class also introduced me to an extraordinary notion; tea is good.

Now, I like tea – always have. But Ben Townsend, tutor at the London School of Coffee, prepared leaf tea – not from a supermarket and not chopped up in minuscule slivers – for tasting and quite frankly it changed how I’ve always thought of tea – a nice, ho-hum drink, comforting but without the x factor of good coffee.  The Oolong particularly converted me into a tea lover.

Saturday was spent (apart from purchasing dry and natural-pulped processed coffee beans) in the pursuit of some Oolong.

Postcard Teas, close to Bond and Oxford Streets, is a haven. The teas and preparation utensils are elegant and beautiful.

Now I’m the proud owner of 50g of Yimu Oolong from Taiwan. Sweet and floral, it’s a winner any time of the day.

Coffee fans, don’t despair, I’m still all about the bean. Let’s just say that I’ve expanded my taste buds.

And on taste buds, I brought home some Ethiopian coffee beans from Monmouth and cupped them this morning. (See – back to the coffee.)

The Kochere: wow, a challenging brew. There’s a savoury, umami aspect going on in these beans – not far removed from a good green tea. As it cools, the expected coffee profile takes shape but for the first few minutes drinkers would be forgiven for questioning which plant species the brew came from – but that’s part of why we love coffee – no two cups are the same, let alone harvests.

The Kochere was the coffee that had been proffered as pulped natural – and although the tasting notes explain that Ethiopian coffee can be difficult in tracing a particular bean’s origins it does illustrate how much a bean’s tasting profile depends on how it’s been processed.

Apparently there’s not much left of the Kochere at Monmouth – so if you’d like to try it, hurry down to Borough Market before it’s all gone.

Back to ozone

Just returned from another sitting at Ozone in Leonard St, London – this time with friends.

Stunning food a la NZ brunch. The eggs benedict uses bubble and squeak instead of a muffin base.

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Coffee-wise, I opted for the soft brew option. African coffee tends to underwhelm me but I gave the Rwandan a go. Alas, underwhelming. The Ethiopian harrar was a step up but it too was missing a certain zing.

It’s not a roasting issue – it’s my palate. It gets excited by the Central and South American beans. Maybe I’ll grow into Africa…

Service was attentive even though Ozone was fairly packed on a Sunday afternoon – the only minor quibble was a glass of juice that never arrived. Not bad considering our party of five arrived over a half hour period.

So once again, a big thumbs up to Ozone.

Monmouth Coffee: GETHUMBWINI ESTATE

From the Thika District in Kenya, northeast of Nairobi.

What they saidkenyan coffee

– full of bold fruit flavours and juicy acidity. Bright blackcurrant and blackberry fruit with full body and medium acidity. Due to the comparatively low temperatures at the farm and high altitude, the fermentation time can take up to 36 hours.

What we said:

Disappointing coffee for us. The aroma was good on the nose as I opened the pack but everything else about this coffee was decidedly average. Crema was poor. The taste was distinctly woody rather than fruit-laden. The aftertaste was quite long and very dry, as if sucking on a wooden ice cream stick for a long time. After 250g of this coffee, I would not be in a rush to replenish my supply. Better than a supermarket brand though and you couldn’t say it was bland. Not my cup of coffee but my tastes do run more to spice notes – not fruit or herbal.

7 out of 10 beans.

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