I’m always on the hunt for fruity coffees that don’t have crazy acidity - it always seems that the more fruit, the more bright a coffee is these days.
Well, in early November 2011, I got to taste just such a coffee. It is the Ethiopia Tchembe from Coffea Roasterie.
(ed.note: I wrote this review in November, but left it in my drafts folder by mistake. I’ve updated it a bit to reflect the next roast date the Coffea Roasterie has for this coffee).
My first impression when taking a sip of the Ethiopia Tchembe? Sweet prunes. My second impression? Subtle chocolate. My third? The aromas hit me quite a bit out of the cup and were reminiscent of the flowers I had on my lemon tree this summer. I loved the low-medium acidity (just enough to make the cup interesting) and loved the sweetness level.
I had 12oz of this coffee, and it went extremely quick; I shared it with my neighbours and for at least one of them it was an epiphany coffee - she was amazed at the flavour reach. The sweet prune is so readily noticeable that she called out the flavour after a few sips and she is self described as “a complete non expert on tastes”.
I also found the coffee to be versatile: it brewed excellently on my first siphon attempt, and even became a highlight coffee for me on the manual pourover station (I’m not a big pourover fan). I did try some as espresso and, well, save it for brewing as coffee. ;)
This is a fantastic coffee, roasted in very small batches. It is sourced from one of the top importers in the US: Ninety Plus. It is not cheap - 12oz is around $25. But take my word for it, this is a boutique, “extra fancy” coffee and is a definite treat. Click the link above or the photo to order some. The next roast date is mid January for this small batch coffee.
Technical Brewing Style: Pourover, 32g coffee ground to medium grind; brewed in a Coava Cone V2, 425g water used. Siphon: 28g coffee ground to slightly-finer than medium grind, brewed in 3cup Hario, metal mesh filter used; 340g water used, steep time of 80 seconds.
Ratings I’m trying to come up with “every-consumer” ratings for these coffees. It is still a work in progress, but for now, I’m giving three ratings: approachability for newbies who normally take milk and sugar in their coffee; black coffee afficiandos who don’t care about cupping scores, and a basic cupping + pricing score where my scale is as follows: 80pts is a basic value, good tasting coffee; 85pts is an above average, good value coffee; 90pts and above is an exceptional coffee. My points rating also reflects on the coffee’s price - the better the price + better the taste = higher points.
Newbie Approachability Rating: A-. Newbies who normally put milk and sugar in their coffee must be convinced to try this coffee without either additive. It is naturally sweet, has low acid, and the fruit notes shine. If that fails, get them to try it only with milk: with milk, it becomes like a warm fruit milkshake and is fantastically sweet.
Overall Rating: A. Just a fantastic coffee. The only way I didn’t enjoy this was as espresso, where the powerful brewed-as-coffee flavours got harshed out. I liked it as a manual brew, loved it as a press pot, and loved it to death as a siphon. My first and last brews were as siphons, and I miss this coffee!
Cupping Score: 90.5. This coffee would be even a few points higher, but the price, at $25 for 12oz, factors a bit. Trust me though, it is worth every penny. I very rarely score any coffee over 90 points, either privately or publicly; this is only the 5th coffee of 2011 I’ve scored over 90 points. Taste notes: purple fleshy fruit, sweet, chocolate, floral on fragrance and aroma; low acidity, yet still clean and somewhat crisp. Rocks as a siphon.
Kurtis Kolt, a fellow I’ve learned to respect a lot when it comes to wine in Vancouver (not the least of reasons: he’s deeply respected by the wine community in general in this city!) is doing something special and definitely with an “East Van” flair when it comes to wine: he teaches consumers, in a very approachable way, about the joys of this beverage.
Wine and coffee have a weird relationship: secretly (and perhaps not so secretly), those in the coffee world want consumers to approach coffee more like wine. But what a lot of coffee nerds don’t necessarily get is how confusing even wine is to consumers! Kolt is helping break through those barriers, and last year, organized the highly successful “East Van Wine Academy" that he ran at the Waldolf Hotel and Bar on East Hastings Street.
Well, it’s time for Season Two of the East Van Wine Academy! Kolt fills us in:
I’m quite excited to launch the second season of my ’East Van Wine Academy’ wine nights at the Waldorf Hotel. I created the series as a response to hearing from so many people that they’d love to learn “a little more about wine,” but without the financial or time commitment of a long-term academic course.
While I have a fun series of nights coming our way (a night with James Nevison from Had A Glass (ed.note: cool iPhone App for under $20 wines in BC), a ‘Blending Bootcamp’ with Tinhorn Creek's Sandra Oldfield, and other events) I figured a good way to start the New Year would be a quick, casual (but pretty damn thorough) Wine 101-esque evening I've dubbed “Around The World In 80 Minutes!”
This event will cover the globe’s major regions, grapes and wine styles, I’m priming it to be fun, fast and furious, helping real people’s wine knowledge grow by leaps and bounds. They give me an hour-and-a-half and I’ll ensure they leave well-equipped to tackle store shelves and wine lists, findnew favourites and have their enthusiasm stoked.
For only 40 bucks they’ll be on the path to a pretty awesome 2012, swirling, spitting and moving well past Yellow Tail.
This introductory 101 style, definitely BC flavoured (at least in what you can buy in BC, not BC-made wines) seems like a killer way to start 2012 into your exploration of great wines. Kolt’s a fantastic teacher; he gave me serious primers on sherry wines and what he taught me not only stuck with me, but helped me in my exploration of more delicate tastes in coffee.
More details can be found on Kolt’s website - this January 10th event is a must do event if you’re into discovering more about wine and beverages in general! Click the image below for more info!
Our local Safeways have the “u-check-out” stations on one side. I used it to buy three things - a loaf of bread, a container of fresh soup, and some eggs yesterday. There was a lineup. When I got to an open station, I scanned the items and my soup was priced wrong, or so I thought. I picked up the soup because of a big “$3.49” price sign. But it was scanning as $6. So I called the clerk over to check it out. Unfortunately, she was busy trying to figure out if someone was leaving the store with stolen goods (door alarm went off). So I waited, probably longer than I should have (it was only $2.50 after all).
But she came over and asked what’s up. I said the soup scanned wrong, could she check. She asked where the soup was from - I pointed to a display about 15 feet from the cash till I was at. She couldn’t see it, so I pointed and walked to it a bit. She walked over and saw it.
I turn around, and a guy is at my station. He’s cancelling my order on the U-Serve till. I walk back, and say “I’m sorry, but I’m not done here yet, we’re checking on a price”.
He looks at me, and says “well, you walked away. I’m cancelling the order.”
I look at him and the screen - it’s not quite cancelled yet. There’s a “back” button. I pressed it, and said “well, I’m sorry, but I’m not done here yet.”
The clerk comes back and says the soup is only on sale for a smaller size. We discuss. The guy is standing there, literally 1 foot from me. Fuming. Won’t step back, won’t move back. I got the clerk to cancel the soup order from my bill. So I’m sort of done. And the guy is literally a foot away from me. I turn to him, and say “would you mind stepping back sir, I’m not done here yet”. He goes “you walked away, get back in line”. I looked at him, and said, whatever. Proceeded to pay for my purchases.
While doing so, the till next to us opens up, free to use. I look at him and say “there you go, that one’s open, you don’t have to wait any longer”. He looks at me and goes “I shouldn’t have had to wait any longer here. You walked away”. I just looked at him, and said “really, now you’re in dick move territory. You don’t have to be an asshole about this, I was checking on a price!”
"Fuck you!" was his response. I said what? Go fuck yourself he says again. I look at him and say "Very nice;, must of been a bad year for you or something, huh?". He says again "fuck you asshole!" and really starts getting in my face.
At this point, I’m at a loss. I was polite to him at the first encounter. But I also said he was an asshole. Which he was, frankly. But if you get in my face….
"Perhaps we should step outside and continue to discuss this" I said to him. Very politely. I think I smiled at him when I said it. This made him step back half a step but he says "go fuck yourself!" and doesn’t budge. Keep in mind, the other cash right next to us has been open for a minute or two at this point.
I look at him and said quickly (I don’t think he heard it all) “three things I know about you in the brief time here: you’re an asshole, you revel in dick moves, and you seem quite stupid as well. Best of luck in your life with those qualities” and I turned around and walked out to more of his loud swearing. Debated staying outside waiting for him, quickly realised how stupid it all was, and walked home.