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Brian Aliffi

Caribou Roastmaster since 2005
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When aging goes awry

Posted by Brian Aliffi

September 28, 2009 15:34 PM

Today on the cupping table we had what can best be described as an aged Ethiopian Harrar. As you might know, one of the pieces of the Reindeer Blend puzzle is an aged Sumatra. This coffee helps bring out the spiciness of the blend and deepen the body.

While i had some expectation of what we might find when i heard the term bandied about, it was nothing like i expected. There are coffees best suited to aging, and even then it requires strict monitoring to be sure the process doesn't ruin the beans.

Ruined is the friendliest way i could describe this aged Harrar. Something tells me either an importer sent the sample by mistake or has a pretty twisted sense of humor. The first slurp triggered a physical reaction that made me want to spit it our immediately and left me gasping. Dirty, burning burlap might be the words i'd use to describe it. Nothing like the juicy blueberry, high juniper or jasmine notes, and big bodied sweetness you normally find.

There are good days and bad days in the cupping lab, and while we'd love wine and roses all the time, there are the days that remind us why we must cup every sample, every time. Quality, specialty coffee doesn't happen by accident, and it's our job to be the custodians so you can reap the benefit in your cup.

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Brian

Brian Aliffi

Caribou Roastmaster since 2005
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What's new in our Fair Trade world?

Posted by Brian Aliffi

September 25, 2009 09:17 AM

From time to time you might notice a change in the coffee bearing the Fair Trade label in our stores. It's subtle, just a word change and the movement of a star icon, but the change in the bag is nothing less than amazing.

A couple of years ago we decided our Fair Trade offering would give us the means to bring in origins that aren't part of our regular line up. We're on our third this year, starting with Peru and most recently Mexico. Wanting to dramatically change the flavor, now we have coffee from Rwanda.

Hailing from the Musasa region, near the eastern border, this washed-process Bourbon-varitetal coffee delivers a range of flavors from the spicy tang and big body of a burgandy wine along with the delicate sweetness of raw sugar.

As i said, this coffee will change periodically, though i think we'll have this into the end of the year, so check it out and leave us your thoughts.

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