The Electric Coffee Bean Experience

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Archive for the category “Monmouth”

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.


Finca San Bernardo beans – Guatemala

Map of GuatemalaIt’s not often that I’m disappointed with  freshly roasted coffee beans from Monmouth.

In fact, this may be the first time.

Having run the beans through an espresso machine and tried two different filter processes, changed the coarseness of the grind, the amount of ground coffee used and the water, the best I can get from this Guatemalan coffee is something akin to freeze-dried Moccona. Disappointing to say the least.

Freshly ground, the coffee carries hints of jam in the aroma but brewed, it tastes very dry, slightly sweet and  very woody. Woody may not be the greatest technical term out there. Take a wooden ice-cream stick, leave it in your mouth for a minute then drag it around your mouth. Make sure the stick has plenty of contact with your teeth. For me, I’d rather hear nails on a chalkboard than go through that ice-cream stick sensation.

So I didn’t enjoy this coffee.

Trade logoGranted, not every coffee is going to be a winner. What truly disappointed me was the high expectations I had. The Finca San Bernardo is a Cup of Excellence award winner. I was so prepared to be blown away by this coffee but alas, it never happened.

For me, this was one of those coffee experiences to forget about, illustrating perhaps how much a palate can vary between people.

A serious 1 out of 5 beans ratings for this one. Avoid.

Unhappy face

Not so good.

Monmouth Coffee – FINCA LAS NUBES

Esquipulas, Guatamala. Grown by Senor Fabio Solis.Esquipulas

What they said

The farm is in the mountainous area of Esquipulas at approximately 1500m. This is high altitude for growing coffee and because of the stable climate that the altitude gives, the coffee develops and matures slowly resulting in a clean and sweet cup.

What we said

A good, sweetish coffee. Slightly under-powered but very drinkable. The crema was a little unsteady – some draws were great, others poor. Just a hint of pepper on the tongue. A rewarding cup when you don’t want a big coffee hit.

7 beans out of 10

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