Testing 1,2,3

So many different taste tests today.  Saturdays tend to be like that, however.  The slower weekends allow for more experimentation and cupping than usual.  Today it just so happens that we also have a ton of new cocoa ingredients because we are working on reformatting our chocolate for the cafes.  So today the tasting went beyond coffee, although there was still plenty of coffee.

We are currently trying to figure out the best combination of high-end and not so high-end cocoas to use for our chocolate.  Sure if we could we would run with Bernard Callebaut at 100%, but our mochas would also probably cost about $5 for a 12oz, which some might be willing to pay, but then we also turn into “that” shop, and I enjoy not having to wear a suit to work, thank you very much.

So we purchased some different cocoas and tried them out.  Scharffen Berger, Ghirardelli, and plain-ole Costco bulk.

Now, I can’t do a full break down of everything flavor related because I haven’t developed a palate for tasting chocolate the same way I have for tasting coffee.  What I can tell you is that Ghirardelli tastes like crap.  I never would have thought so, but break it down into a straight cocoa sauce (cocoa and water) and it tastes like you are swishing a role of dimes around in your mouth.  Absolutely disgusting.  In the coffee realm we would describe these flavors as medicinal and metallic.  You get the picture for sure.  It’s like when someone tries to fake cherry.  It tastes nothing like cherry and just gets way too sweet.  There’s always something a little off, whether or not you can put your finger on exactly what it is, you know something is off.  That’s exactly what happened with Ghirardelli for me.  On the other hand, the uber-bulk Costco was actually leaps and bounds better than Ghirardelli.  Both cocoas were a little gritty, but the Costco had no off flavors like the Ghirardelli.  And at something like 1/3 the cost of Ghirardelli, I’ll take the one that doesn’t taste like crap, thanks.  The Scharffen Berger was about 100% better than the Costco, but that was to be expected.  The cocoa is something like $12.50/lb when you buy it in super bulk, not cheap at all.  However, also not gritty at all, no off flavors, just super smooth, dark, rich, velvety, “full” flavor.  The true taste test will come later when we compare the Bernard Callebaut to the Scharffen Berger to see which is the high end that we carry (although, I suppose we could end up going with both).  We’ll move forward with adjusting the ratios once we have a better handle on what all of the raw ingredients have to offer (or in the case of Ghirardelli, how catastrophic their nuclear mouth blast zone is… seriously, it took a lot of water to get that taste out of my mouth).  More to come on the chocolate side of things in the coming days.

The coffee.
More of the same, but also some new ones.  I revisited the two Ethiopians I tasted the other day to see how they had developed on a couple of days of rest.  The results were quite positive!  I also ran Burundi coffee past my taste buds for the first time in my life and was happy enough with it that I’m going to keep trying it throughout the week.  I’ll start with the Ethiopians I gave you a preview of the other day.

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Koke Co-op:
Final Stats:
Dry Fragrance: 4.1
Aroma: 4.2
Acidity: 9.1
Body: 8.9
Flavor: 8.9
Finish: 8.9
(add 50)
Total: 94.1!

In the cup:
A couple more days rest on this coffee made it quite impressive.  It gained a ton of sweetness and balance.  The flavors have really come forward.  There are more flavors and each of the flavors are more pronounced and easily detectable.  Maybe I’m just having a “good palate” day… who knows.  The citrus note that I was tasting before isn’t really as present anymore, but has been replaced by an extremely pronounced blackberry flavor.  It reminded me of a blackberry Izze soda, if that resonates for anyone.  The little citrus that I did catch today was more like Ugli fruit, if anyone has tried that.  Think a mixture of tangerine and grapefruit and you’ll get an idea.  Really sweet, though.  Fantastic cup.  If we can scrounge the money together we are going to try to snag up like 60 pounds, not sure if it’s possible yet.

Ethiopian Sidamo Guji Shakisso, Maduro, Haile Gebre
Final Stats:
Dry Fragrance: 4.3
Wet Aroma: 4.4
Acidity: 8.9
Body: 8.9
Flavor: 9.2
Finish: 9.1
Total: Ninety Four Point friggin Eight!

In the cup:
I score coffees low.  Truly I usually do.  For me to give a 90 takes a lot and the difference between a 90 and a 93 for me is like the difference between a $3 bottle of beer and a $7 bottle of beer- i.e. those $4 go a long way, and so do those 3 little points.  So for me to give a coffee a 94.8 is saying something.

I haven’t tasted this much blueberry in a coffee in 3 years.  It isn’t like it is fermenty or anything, far from it.  The blueberry taste is so fresh and pleasant, it’s amazing.  Blueberry on the nose, blueberry when it’s hot, and blueberry as it cools.  Floral aspects are laced all throughout the cup, but today they reminded me much more of rose than of the lilac and honeysuckle I was getting the other day.  Truly an exceptional coffee.  I could go on all day about how much I enjoyed this coffee and how glad I was that I decided to taste it first thing this morning.  It really put me in a good mood all morning and afternoon long.

Burundi Kirimiro Mwurire Bourbon
Like I stated earlier, I’ve never tried coffee from Burundi before.  Not sure why, they produce some awesome coffees and I’ve known this for a while, just never gotten my hands on any.

I used a different scoring system for this coffee, and I think I like the system a lot.  The new categories for grading are all based on a scale of 1-10, with the different categories being aroma, flavor, acidity, body and finish.  There is an additional “Cupper’s Correction” category, but I rarely award bonus points to a coffee.  At the end you add 50, just like in the other system.

About the farm (what I’ve gathered by scouring different internet sources):
This coffee comes from the Mwurire washing station, located in Kirimiro, which is in central Burundi.  The farms have an elevation of approximately 1785 meters.  Different smallholder farmers bring their coffees to the Mwurire mill.  The coffee is of the Bourbon varietal, but has different Bourbon derivatives (among them Jackson and Mibirizi).  The coffee is fully washed, undergoing double fermentation (18 hours dry, 18 hours wet, then 12 hours soaking) before being dried for 5 days on raised (“African”) beds under shade screens.

In the cup:
The enticing aroma had me hooked early.  It wasn’t really complicated, but that almost made it more complicated.  I realize that makes no sense, but I often go “hunting” when I’m tasting a coffee.  I try to seek out an outlying flavor or attribute, and in the aroma I couldn’t.  It was clean, fruited and a little floral.  I guess I could summarize it as being a little like a merlot.  The flavor had me even more hooked.  Extremely sweet (I know I’ve been tagging a lot of coffees as sweet earlier, but if you were tasting them, you’d agree).  It was rather complex, berryish and winey, but also a little toasty with glances at some sort of sweet roma tomato sauce or something.  Quite interesting.  The acidity was brisk, with continued sweetness and mirrored the winey attributes of earlier (think dry red).  It had a pleasing medium body, or mouthfeel, something like what a 2% milk would give you over a skim milk.  The finish was very long and lingering, still giving weight to the winey flavors (so I suppose overall you’d be stupid not to say this coffee was very winey).

Final Stats:
Aroma: 7.3
Flavor: 8.0
Acidity: 8.1
Body: 7.1
Finish: 7.8
Correction: +0
Total: 88.3

The Burundi was only 1 hour old when I cupped it, so it should do a lot of changing over the next 6 days or so of tasting it.  I’ll post my findings.

Busy, fun day.



One Response to “Testing 1,2,3”

  1. ‘Glad you had a fun day tasting!! I thoroughly enjoyed the new chocolate-tasting notes in this blog. You can imagine . . . . miss chocoholic here. Your blogs are always so interesting and even to someone who doesn’t know that much about coffee, very understandable!! Thanks for all the effort you put into your blogs . . . I always keep an eye out for them 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: