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Blending Alchemies

Posted by brett struwe

December 13, 2013 14:36 PM

It's always curious how the seemingly most menial and subtle changes to a blend recipe can have such profound radical effects on cup quality and flavor. It's also reassuring to know there is so much validation for sourcing such a wide array of different coffee origins. Guatemala is distinctive from El Salvador, which is distinctive from Costa Rica, etc. And even within a country there is a tremendous amount of disparity and variety. Reduce a blend by 10% of one Central American quality and replace it with 10% of another, and you suddenly get brothy instead of cider. Who knew?!?!

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Nate

Nate Hrobak

Caribou Roastmaster since 2003
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SAD?

Posted by Nate Hrobak

February 26, 2010 14:14 PM

Every year Seasonal Affective Disorder (whose meaning is summed up in its acronym: SAD) reasserts itself on my psyche. As winter wears on, simultaneously wearing on everyone's nerves, with the exception of the unique group of people who engage in outdoor wintertime activities, It seems as though the world will never be warm again.

On a positive note, along with the weather-related funk, mid to late winter also brings some great coffees. Coffee, like any other agricultural product, has peaks and valleys in its harvest, and subsequently, its quality and freshness. We're finally working our way through last year's crop of coffee, which is starting to seem a tad lackluster. At the same time, we're starting to receive newly harvested coffee that practically sings with nice fresh notes; clean and sparkling - just like the spring that is sure to arrive any day now.

This bright note in an otherwise windy and cold reality has become one of my life's little pleasures. I hope you enjoy some of the bright and juicy coffee flavors that will be finding their way onto our shelves now, and in the coming months.

brett struwe


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Green Coffee Evolution

Posted by brett struwe

January 23, 2010 10:28 AM

Interesting cupping today. Noted the difference in Papua New Guinea coffee residing in our warehouse here in Mpls for just the past few weeks. The coffee that is 'fresher' and due to deliver from NJ/NYC cups with a slightly more tart and sharp note, while the current has turned more milky, herby, and almost hint of rhubarb. Reminder of this is why we taste every day, and the roasters can adjust accordingly. ~B

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Brian

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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Nate Hrobak

Caribou Roastmaster since 2003
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Brian Aliffi

Caribou Roastmaster since 2005
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Brett Struwe

Caribou Roastmaster since 1995
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