Finally the time is upon us in our epic Coffee Saga. Let the tasting begin.
It’s like Christmas morning. Do you remember that feeling ? Awaking, jumping out of bed, running to the living room pushing the sleep from your eyes, clutching your blankey. What did Santa bring? You begin searching for your name and you spot the first gift labeled with your name and then… a familiar voice of authority reminds you to wait. You can’t believe it…WAIT……AAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s how I felt over the last two days. WAIT, WAit, wait. But the wait is almost over. I have the coffee scoop, the French press, water is nearing the proper temperature (195˚-205˚F,) and the two day old, rich smelling, Sumatra in the little brown bag is open and being scooped into the burr grinder. The proper ratio is two scoops of coffee to 6oz of water and the grinder is set to coarse. It should look kinda like sawdust that is if you are familiar with a wood shop. The scooping takes place, the nearly boiled water is poured and the timer is set. The standard timer is set for 4 minutes on a press, although many like a little more strength in their brew and add a minute depending on taste preferences, or you can reduce a minute for a lighter coffee and pallet. As always, do what you like to suit your taste. The smell is intoxicating at the moment. The coffee smells rich and bold. You can smell hints of earthiness arising from the presses glass container. I can almost taste it…
The timer is off and the coffee is poured into small tasting cups. Only a few ounces at first. This is for tasting the coffee and not drinking. This is the slow dance of patience before the final wait. The coffee is very hot and could burn your tastebuds if not careful.
Suggested temp for tasting is between 120°-140°F, although many of my friends and I do taste the coffee at these temperatures—we tend to like seeing how the coffee changes as it cools further, often noting changes in the complexity of the coffee with mellowing or strengthening certain notes or character. As the Sumatra begins to cool, the smell begins to take shape. The air takes on a smoke earthy note. For me this is classic Sumatra. Remember we roasted it to the second pop. My nose is doing its job so much so that I can almost taste it and I’m about to. Remember we are not drinking coffee but doing a tasting, so we slurp the coffee trying to aerate and spread the liquid across the whole tongue, thereby capturing the sweet, sour, bitter, and umami at one time.
The Sumatra is as it smelled earthy, smokey and now sweet. The earthy is prominent at first followed by the smokey note. The smokey note, which I like, might be because I roasted the coffee a little to long (This turns out not to be true as I have roasted several batches since this post. The Coffee has a smokey note to it.) Then it gets lightly sweet. the coffee is bold but not really bold like and Italian/French or even other Sumatra’s I’ve had. The coffee was great. Some of this might be due to my being the roaster and waiting so long but memory still stands. I really liked the coffee and so did my tasting friends. Some tasted the sweet, others really tested the smokey but we all found the earthy in the cup. This Coffee always pairs nicely with dark chocolate as it did today, which brought out its sweet notes and lightened the earthy a little. I missed the smokey note with the chocolate. I wish I would have had bacon dipped chocolate that would have been amazing both with or with out the Sumatra. Seriously I’m thinking about that right now ooohhh… or maybe, a Maple donut with smokey bacon crumble…..Ok, it must be time for lunch, to many thoughts on food, but that does sound really tasty.
Second tasting: As the Sumatra began to cool, the smokey flavor mellowed and the earthy sweet notes began to pop even more. I would like this as an ice coffee. The medium bold taste with earthy sweet notes and a hint of smoke would be very good for an afternoon refresher over ice and a hint of sweetener.
Thank you all so much for following us on this adventure. First Roast to First Taste. We are looking forward to many more roastings and tastings adventures. If you like, maybe we’ll write about another soon.