New Coffee [9/21]

E.J. and I have been swapping coffee for a good little bit now. Everything he send me is always top notch and never disappoints. The other week we were talking about having so much coffee in our stashes and he mentioned having some to send me. When he shared who all he was sending I about flipped out.

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You see that bag in the top right labeled “Wendelboe”…? Um. YESSSSSSS. I’ll share why I’m so excited on this one down below.

Given the amount of each of these I’ll probably be brewing up smaller V60 01s (12.5/200).


Colibri (Guatemala) – Merit Roasting Co

Hey, a new roaster! These guys have an awesome website. And shirts, hats, hoodies. Take my monies. Anyways, a Guatemalan. Sadly I’m not too familiar with these. With the notes of this coffee however, I’m really looking forward to brewing it up.

[Peach, Mandarin Orange, Brownies]

Sweet upfront with a unique aftertaste. Took a second…but fudge richness. After finishing the cup I had a nice little acidic tinglyness lingering on my tongue.

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Sonora Natural (Costa Rica) – Amaya Roasting Co

Amaya isn’t a new roaster for me, but it’s one I really like thanks to E.J. introducing me to them during our first coffee swap (I think it was the first one). 95% of the naturals I’ve had are from Ethiopia so I’m looking forward to a little change. I want to say E.J. sent me this same coffee in our first swap, but if so that’s been a good ways back so I’m excited to give it another go if that’s the case. Also, these notes…holy crap it sounds delicious.

I love when roasters can give you a little summary on the farm/farmers that produced the coffee. In this case, it comes from a farmer that Amaya has been dealing with for 3 years and it’s actually an Amaya Roasting Co exclusive.

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[Strawberry Compote, Banana, Dark Chocolate]

HOT

This is definitely one of the most solid naturals I’ve had recently. I was expecting your typical berry bomb and weird aftertaste that so many naturals have been giving me lately. However, in this cup is super sweet and reminds me of strawberries dipped in sugar, which is like my favorite thing ever. If you’ve never tried that…DO IT. As it cools it gets a little more chocolaty. The sweetness and aftertaste as it cools would be as close as I can come to finding bananas.

ICED (W/ TONIC)

Ever since trying iced coffee with tonic water, I really don’t drink much straight up iced coffee anymore. Adding tonic water brightens it up so much. There’s nothing wrong with regular iced coffee, but once you try it with tonic water it’s hard to go back. But this cup was really berry/lemon-y. So good.

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Ignacio Gutierrez Imperial Reserve (El Salvador) – Spyhouse Coffee

Spyhouse has been on my radar, but my attention span sucks and other coffees roasters catch my attention. I’m really looking forward to brewing this up. It’s still available on their website so I’m curious… It says it has an effervescent mouth feel of lemon lime soda. Hmm.

[Raspberry Scone, Papaya, Pink Lemonade]

Upfront there’s a deep note. The aftertaste is definitely a tart/sour lemonade like finish. As it started to barely cool the deep note mellowed out and it was even more enjoyable.

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Nano Challa (Ethiopia) – Tim Wendelboe

Let’s be real, you probably came here for this one. For those that don’t know…Tim Wendelboe is a coffee roaster from Norway. Yeah, this traveled from Norway to the US. A bag of this stuff plus shipping to the states pushes $50. It’s not a bag I’ll be ordering anytime soon.

So why the big fuss? Wendelboe is legendary. The quality is beyond next level. The man even owns his own coffee farm in Colombia. How many roasters can say that they OWN a farm?? Barely any. He’s huge in the educational side of coffee and he’s just one that you rarely get to try in the states unless you plan on paying $50/bag. Which I’m not. But luckily E.J. got his hands on a bag and was super generous to send me a small sample.

Enough rambling…let’s brew it…

[Citrus, Stonefruit, Flowers]

Since I only have a small amount I brewed up a V60 01 for starters (12.5/200) and I’m going to save/savor the remainder. So, my initial reaction…it’s good, but not amazing. Like I’ve tasted equally as good coffee. The thing about specialty coffee in my eyes is that everybody (the roasters really making a new for themselves) is doing killer work. You’d have to try extremely hard to find bad coffee. So when it comes to all the good stuff, there’s so much out there that it’s impossible to ever describe a cup as “the best you’ve tasted”.

With that said, the body/mouth feel/drinkability of this cup is beyond anything I can recall trying. And I’m just not saying that because it’s Tim Wendelboe. It’s tea like, but unlike the majority of washed Ethiopians I’ve tried, this one has depth. It’s not just light and tasty and gone in an instant. It has character. This isn’t to knock other roasters and their washed Ethiopians. One of the first ever coffees I fell in love with brewing at home was a washed Yirg.

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Conclusion

I freaking love coffee swaps. E.J. killed it on this one. Huge thanks again to him, especially for sending the Tim Wendelboe. So many good cups from this batch.

Expect another a “New Coffee” post in the coming week as my latest bag from Populace is headed this way.

MENTIONED IN THE POST

E.J. – he now has a coffee dedicated Instagram: @coffee.all.day

Merit Roasting Co. – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @meritroastingco

Amaya Roasting Co – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @amayaroastingco

Spyhouse Coffee – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @spyhousecoffee

Tim Wendelboe – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @timwendelboe

New Coffee [D&W // Ladro]

NEW COFFEE! This will be a sort of part one of new coffee for the week. More will make its way to the blog tomorrow.

So the other week or whenever, I ordered a bag of Rwanda Hingakawa from Dapper & Wise. Shortly after that, I received a Kenyan from Ladro as part of the Coast2Coast coffee swap. Enjoy!


Rwanda Hingakawa – Dapper & Wise

[Kiwi, Fruit Leather, Limeade]

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This isn’t technically a new coffee for me. A while back I ordered their 3 pack sampler and it was included. I pretty much fell in love with it, especially iced.

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My pallet wasn’t as developed at the time (it’s actually grown quite a bit in that short amount of time), but the fruit leather note really stood out to me, along with the nice little limeade kick at the end.

Why I bought another bag is beyond me. I freaking love the coffee and I’m so glad I did buy it (it’s almost gone), but it’s rare for me to ever buy the same bag twice. Plus I’m not sure what sparked me visiting the site again. Anyways, I’m glad I did. The second time around was even more enjoyable.

Fun fact – This coffee as an iced V60 with tonic water added is AMAZING.

D&W are one of my favorites and they offer sample kits with 3 60g bags of coffee. It’s perfect for trying out their offerings. Sadly, this Rwandan is no longer available from what I could tell, but their Highbrow Blend is the bomb as well. It’s one of very few blends that I’d be tempted to buy a 12oz bag of.

Check em out! WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @dapperandwise


Kenya Kiamaina – Ladro Roasting

[Persimmon, Grape Jam, and Juicy Body]

Last month I came across a cool little service called Coast2Coast Roast. Imagine being paired up pen pal style with a fellow coffee enthusiast on the other side of the country. SIGN ME UP! Earlier in the month I got an email with my coffee pals information. I would be trading coffee with a guy named Michael from Seattle (INSTAGRAM: @heythatsneat). I sent him a bag from our local roaster Safehouse Coffee Roasters and in return got this bag of Kenyan from Ladro Roasting. Also, check out the sweet postcard that was included.

You’ve gotta appreciate the micro lot goodness too.

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Ok, not even going to lie…seeing a Kenyan scared me (my face looked like his a little bit…). I’ve seen notes of persimmon before in coffee. While it’s not a tomato, but it’s close enough without saying tomato. I’m slowly working on building up my acceptance of tomato notes in coffee. So here goes.

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Dang, not bad at all. It’s a touch tomato-y, but I’m digging it. Incredibly sweet. I haven’t brewed a ton of it yet, but every cup so far has been really enjoyable. A lot more so than I expected considering it plainly says persimmon on the bag.

Check em out!
Ladro Roasting – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @ladroroasting
Coast2Coast Roast – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @coast2coastroast


I hope you guys enjoy reading about the new coffee I order and get sent. I’ll have 4 more new samples posted tomorrow that I’m really excited to share.

Get excited!

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We Had A Moment…

Last week my mom and I headed up to Atlanta to spend the day for her birthday. She’d never been to Ponce City Market so that was our primary destination and goal for the day. We actually managed to take back roads 95% of the way, it was pretty awesome. On the way we swung by this wholesale place at the Forest Park farmers market. She got cake stuff and I bought plastic cups, lids, and straws. Random, but I’ve been wanting some for a while to take iced coffee (and now tea) with me in the car.

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After leaving there it was on to Ponce City Market. They have a really awesome coffee shop/kiosk called Spiller Park Coffee. Their menu online showed that they have guest roasters – Phil & Seb, Four Barrel Coffee, Reanimator Coffee, and Intelligentsia. LOVEEEEE. I got really excited. I had coffee on the drive up so I decided to wait until after we wandered around the shops a little while.

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Specialty chocolate is unfamiliar territory for me, but I knew one of the stores there had chocolate from Xocolatl (a specialty chocolate maker in Atlanta – SHOP LOCAL). It wasn’t set up in the same spot, but I did manage to find it. They had a pretty decent selection to choose from and a bar called the Americana ended up winning. It supposedly had notes of vanilla, pie spices, and apples. Some of the other bars had notes of various berry fruits and whatnot, but if you offer me pie/apple notes…I’m sold.

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On the way out my mom wanted a drink so while she did that I went back to Spiller Park and got a pour over. I’ve had a ton of Colombians lately and switched it up (kind of) with a Costa Rican. Ok, so I’ve had a bunch of Costa Ricans too, but I like them. I didn’t think to ask beforehand cause I wanted to try out Phil & Seb, but this Costa Rican was from Reanimator. I’ve seen them around on social media, but haven’t stayed up to date on their offerings. Let’s be honest…that’s pretty much impossible to do.

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(the cup came with a sleeve but of course I had to photograph this little detail)

**TIMEOUT – Real quick, just want to say that Spiller Park Coffee is freaking awesome. While admittedly I’m not a huge baseball fan, I can definitely appreciate the baseball theme. On top of that, the service was friendly and quick. Service at another shop has been questionable lately so it was a pretty refreshing experience.**

Ok. We went outside and sat cause it was a really nice morning. I’d taken a few sips of the coffee and even while scolding hot you could tell it was going to be good. I looked up the notes – vanilla, coconut, honey, and a gentle white wine acidity. I should also note this was brewed on a Kalita Wave.

After unwrapping the chocolate and oogling over the prettiness and taking pictures, I tried it. Dude. I don’t even really like chocolate all that much, but this was incredible. Worth the price? Absolutely. Without thinking I washed it down with a sip of coffee.

I about lost my mind. The explosion of apple pie in my mouth was unreal. I immediately broke off another piece, chewed it up, and swallowed it down with a bigger sip of coffee. LAWDDDDD. That was the most incredible thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. Sounds crazy, but go to Ponce and try it. Americana bar from Xocolatl (in Citizen Supply) and the Costa Rican from Spiller Park. That’s about $15, but I promise you…if you like apples and chocolate and coffee…do it.

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It’s weird to be making that big of deal over coffee and some chocolate, but small batch/specialty goods are incredible experiences. Who knew coffee could taste that good? Who knew chocolate could taste that good? Who knew combining the two could lead to an apple explosion in your mouth? It’s insane.

This journey into coffee has been eye opening as to what all is out there and the different possibilities of one item – coffee. Growing up we all think of coffee as the Folgers (or whatever brand) that our parents/grandparents drank. The coffee that we’d try as a kid and think it was so freaking strong and horrible. But now when you taste specialty coffee and give it a chance black, you’re shown that coffee doesn’t have to taste bad. It can taste like blueberries, strawberries, peaches, honey, grapes, chocolate, banana bread, pixie sticks, you name it.

I really hope that last paragraph didn’t come across as snobbish…

 

Angels Cup 12th Flight

So this week I didn’t cup. And one coffee didn’t make the cut. Enjoy the 3 that did though. They were pretty insane.

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Colombia – Huila, Estrella del Ostro – Crema Coffee

[Yogurt, Citrus, Melon, Nougat]

Smooth, almost creamy body and a tad honey-ish. Really sweet cup.

I didn’t guess any of those notes, which doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t see how I didn’t get the nougat note. I’ve been able to find that in the past. I did sort of describe it, just didn’t link it to nougat. But as usual, Crema killed it. I’ve had so many amazing offerings from them.

*The website says that this cups as a Kenyan. As it cooled I could definitely detect a touch of tomato. Weird.*

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Ethiopia Illubador Sota – Commonwealth Coffee

[Peach, Lemonade, YooHoo]

I actually wrote down that my pallet sucked on this one. It tasted sweet, fruity, and possibly light chocolatey-ness. Couldn’t tell much.

Flipped the card over and I actually got really close, just not that specific. But “YooHoo”??? I took a few more sips and waited. Um… THAT’S FREAKING YOOHOO. So crazy, but true.

Being a washed Ethiopian it wasn’t that tea like, but I had a little left in the server so I added ice to see what would happen. The peach/lemonade really shined then. I checked the website for it, but it’s not there. Sad…

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Kenya Nyeri Nieni AA – Commonwealth Coffee

[Raisin, Chocolate, Banana Bread]

Nothing stood out too much on this one, but I enjoyed it. It had a nice balance, not crazy sweet, maybe a tad acidic. I would’ve never guessed a Kenyan. It said as it cooled it’d change a lot so I waited.

It did. Tomatoes came out, but was drinkable. I think I’m slowly developing a slight appreciation and tolerance for tomato notes. Still weird though. I don’t know what winter spice is though. And I’ve not had enough banana bread to see it in the coffee. But it was dang good.

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I shared this on Instagram, but this is the Kenyan over some ice and milk. Since it was brewed as regular old V60 is wasn’t too strong and didn’t shine through the milk as well as it would’ve as an Aeropress stubby.

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Conclusion

Minus the one coffee not making it, this was an incredible week. I mean, coffee with the aftertaste of a YOOHOO?! So freaking good. Crema killed it (duh) and getting to try Commonwealth was pretty sweet. I’m going to be putting in a order with them soon and my selection might just surprise you… AND if you haven’t, check out their packaging. It’s sick!

**Save 25% on your first flight by using the code “CoffeeHunter7245”.**

Mentioned in the Post

Angels Cup – WEBSITE // Instagram: @angelscup

Crema Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @cremacrema

Commonwealth Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @commonwealthcoffee

 

 

Cupping @ Home

What is cupping?

Coffee cupping – “the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee”.

Basically, you have really small cups lined up, add roughly 6 grams of coffee (per 100ml of water) in each one, smell it, add 205°F water to each one, smell it, after the coffee settles at the top you break what is considered the “crust” with a spoon. As you break it you lean down to smell the aroma. You then remove that crust with two spoons (looks really cool when a professional does it). After that you taste it as it cools and observe the tasting notes as  they change.

Why?

Every coffee shop and roaster cups coffee when deciding what to purchase. It’s generally done on really large scales where 50-100s of cups are being compared. In a recent podcast I listened to they mentioned doing a competition at origin (in one of the major coffee producing countries, can’t remember where in this case), but they were cupping around a 100 coffees. They’d narrow it down to 50, re-cup, narrow it down, re-cup, narrow it down, re-cup, repeat until a winner. That’s a ton of coffee.

For this competition it was crucial because it went alongside an auction of the coffees being cupped. The winner (even top 10) would see a huge increase in their price per pound. Way more so than they would if trying to sell it themselves. So this competition could mean the difference in a decent season and little profit, or a huge profit and being able to operate the farm for another X number of years and/or upgrading equipment, planting more plants, etc.

Cupping is a HUGE deal.

But why at home?

So why cup coffee at home when it’s probably been cupped a ton already? It’s already good right? Well yeah. It’s not really a must at home, just something fun to play around with and practice your tasting.

I’ve found it a lot easier to cup 2-3 new coffees than brew up 2-3 V60s. You get to taste each one while it’s still hot and as they progressively cool down. Plus it’s a lot of fun.

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Should you cup at home?

If you’re crazy obsessed with coffee, go for it! Even if you’re new though, I’d still totally recommend it. It always seemed a bit daunting to me at first which is partly why it’s taken me so long to get around to doing it. But with a few cheap cups from Target, coffee, a grinder, and some spoons…you’re set.

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There’s so much information out there on the web and cupping is actually a pretty detailed activity, but at home it’s really chill. I’m going to doing a couple more posts discussing cupping in the near-ish future. I have a few little ongoing tests happening and once I get enough data (that sounds more fancy than it actually is), I’m going to be sharing that. Stay tuned!

ALSO, if you have any local specialty coffee shops in your area be sure to check them out and see if they offer public cuppings.

MORE INFO ON CUPPING

http://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=cupping-protocols
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_cupping

 

Recent Brews (9/4-9/11)

This week was more like it should be – so much brewing!

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(9/5) Home Roast – Loas

(6 minute roast)

V60 01 #15 12.5/200
— @ 2:17
smelled savory when brewing (also bell pepper)
1st sip – earthy and bell pepper
BELL…freaking….PEPPER

I’ve had sweet peppers as a note, but never bell peppers.


(9/5) Barista Parlor – Ethiopia Nikesse

V60 01 #15 12.5/200
— @ 2:19
(notes of white grape, raspberry jam, and peach)

as cools, it’s good. sweet and bright.
juicy. however…it’s not worth what I paid. luckily I split the cost, but
still wasn’t anything outstanding. pair that with the service, it’s nothing
special.

[With that said, BP has some really incredible branding and packaging, but
you can only cover up things so much…]


(9/7) Honest – Burundi

Aeropress Stubby      26 // 50 + 100 + 100

one of the smoothest cups I’ve brewed since the black honey gesha
from Brandywine. not overly sweet, but juicy? still fruity, but not crazy.
the Aeropress body makes it the right balance of creamy and smooth.
awesome cup


(9/10) Java Pura – Costa Rican Cascara

For some reason I decided to try a cold brew cascara. Sounded good in
my head.

50g/600g – steeped for 24 hrs. it smells pretty amazing
first sip, oh no… it’s strong and salty/raisin-y.

“hey, let’s add tonic water!”
It got better with enough tonic water…


I brewed so much more, but if you’ve read my Angels Cup post from yesterday then you already know about those. I’m working on starting a new morning routine so hopefully I can get through more of this awesome coffee I have.

Angels Cup 11th Flight

The other week I got to thinking – I’ve been into specialty coffee for quite a while, yet I never cup at home. I have a cupping subscription, but don’t cup them. Brewing these up as V60s is rather fun and gives me a realistic sense of how these coffees would typically brew up. Well, Friday night I bought some cups at Target to cup with.

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$3.99/each for almost perfect size porcelain cups, I’ll take it.

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How I Cupped These (and wasn’t biased/cheating)

I put 12g of coffee in each cup, ground at #20 on the Encore. Under each cup I put the empty bag (turned over so not to reveal the card #).

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Since I didn’t know the number for each cup, I flipped all the cards over and tried to put them next to whatever cup I thought was that coffee – based on the beans, smell, and taste. I actually ended up only getting one right (the Kenyan) so it was a tad harder than expected. But fun.

Writing this post (mainly about the cupping of each one minus the Kenyan) is confusing me. I had the other 3 mixed up and I’m trying to articulate my guesses vs what they actually were and I’m all confused. Haha, sorry. It’s my first time going this route, I’m learning…

*EDIT – I got it figured out.*


Kenya Keini Peaberry – Passion House

[Raisinettes, Tomato Soup]

**SIDE NOTE – I’m curious… When a shop carries a Kenyan coffee that tastes of tomato soup (a common note and sign of a “good Kenyan”), why do they always sell it without the note of tomato soup in the description. If that note is so good, why not include it? Or is supposed to be understood from the consumer perspective that buying a Kenyan means possible tomato soup coffee?**

Cupping

This one wasn’t hard at all to spot on the cupping table. Peaberry beans stand out enough by themselves, but after breaking the crust and tasting it…definite tomato soup.

V60 01

I won’t even lie, I didn’t really want to brew this up. Tomato soup coffee is not my thing. But if I didn’t brew it up and give it a shot what’s the point of this blog??

So I brewed this one last as to not screw up my pallet for the remaining cups. To my surprise though, it wasn’t what I expected. While cupping it was a definite in your face tomato soup, but this cup was fine. Maybe a little sweet raisin note. Until it cooled more. And the tomato soup showed it’s face. Not terribly, but enough.

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Panama Camiseta Estate – States Coffee

[Honeysuckle, Vanilla, Pistachio, Graham Cracker]

Cupping

My first ever offering from Panama so it was exciting to see this on the card. The beans made me think something African. For some reason I had this pegged as the natural Ethiopian. It had quite a bit of body to it. Once it started to cool I could see pistachio and graham cracker notes (by this point I’d revealed each one). It was heavier on the pistachio side though. Not a bad thing, something new for me.

V60 01

Looking forward to brewing this one up. First sip, really mellow sweetness. Light body and sort of tea like. Nothing in particular jumped out at me though. When cupping it was heavy on the pistachio note so I let it chill for a bit to see it that would emerge, but it never really did. Instead, it developed some kind of cooking spice flavor. I really enjoyed it, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. It was sort of a herb maybe – possibly oregano? I don’t know. Feels weird to guess, but it was definitely there.

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Ethiopia Guji Shakiso [WASHED] – Modcup Coffee

[Tea, Lime, Florals, Bergamot]

Cupping

I guessed the Panama offering instead. I don’t know why, still puzzling me, but the natural version of this tasted SO tea like and floral. But nope, the washed Ethiopian.

V60 01

Another one I looked forward to brewing up. I have a washed Sidama from 1000 Faces (Athens, GA) that has a note of bergamot. Took a Google search to learn what that is, but now I can see what it is.

Man, this reminds me so much of that Sidama I have. It’s really bright and has a light body. Very tea like and pretty much your typical washed Ethiopian, but still tasty.

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Ethiopia Guji Shakiso [NATURAL]- Modcup Coffee

[Blueberry, Grape Candy, Milk Chocolate]

Cupping

This smelled super floral after grinding. Each sip (slurp) was bright and tea like. Definitely thought it was the washed Ethiopian. As it cooled (and after revealing) it got really blueberry-y. Which is odd, cause 99% of the other natural Ethiopians I’ve brewed have been heavy berry-like upfront, not on the back end.

V60 01

Curious to see if it brews up the same as it cupped – more blueberry on the back end. Yup, not a huge blueberry bomb like some natural Ethiopians I’ve had. It does have this unique aftertaste that I’ve been tasting a lot in naturals. Not even going to try explaining it. It’s weird. As the cup cools though it did mellow out and the cup got a lot sweeter and more fruity. Like this card says, you have to give this one time. I never would’ve guessed it was a natural in the beginning.

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Conclusion

Cupping, revealing, then brewing was an awesome (yet confusing) change. This flight was awesome. I finally got to try my hand at cupping, wasn’t great, but it was fun to see how brewing these up really brings out certain notes more (and vice versa). The tomato in the Kenyan shined more in the cupping than in a V60 – didn’t expect that at all. Also finally tried States Coffee (I LOVEEEEEE their packaging – simple and black) and Modcup Coffee. Pretty sure I’ve tried Modcup, but never went to their site until this weekend. Their coffee truck is freaking B.A. I’ve always wondered how a coffee truck (like a food truck) could do. Pretty inspiring.

Overall, really great flight this weekend. Thanks Angels Cup!

Mentioned in the Post

Angels Cup – WEBSITE // Instagram: @angelscup

Modcup Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @modcupcoffee

Passion House Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @passionhousecoffee

States Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @statescoffee

 

**Save 25% on your first flight by using the code “CoffeeHunter7245”.**