blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The African Coffees

So how did they taste? Here's my take on it:

Tanzanian Peaberry
The ground coffee had strong, complex aroma. In the cup, we noticed a brightness and a hint of blueberry. Good acidity, light body but enough to carry the cup through. We had some Tanzanian fans at our table. This is a well-loved coffee.

Zimbabwe AA
I found this coffee the least complex of all. After the initial flavor, the profile dropped off, with minimal aftertaste or chew. This would be a good choice for the beginning coffee drinker, since it is a good example of straightforward, good quality acidity with not too many other characteristics. It has what is known as a "clean finish".

Yemen Mocha Mattari
I love Yemen coffee. The aroma of the ground coffee was intense and earthy. Coffee is one of the few things that can smell like dirt but that is not a bad thing. In the cup, this coffee was noticeably different from the other four. It was more mellow than the others, with good chew and aftertaste, but it also had enough acidity to be interesting. We noticed chocolate overtones and a unique, again earthy, quality to this coffee that made it memorable and enjoyable. On the Sunday following this tasting I also had Yemen at a friend's house, brewed in a French press and again, it was noticeably interesting, memorable, wonderful coffee.

Kenyan AA
The Kenyan was a hit. Its acidity combines so harmoniously with the other flavor characteristics. Its flavor profile resembled the Zimbabwe, but with more punch and a more lingering mouth sensation. Although when I say punch I don't mean that this coffee is incredibly intense. It's not. It has a very light body. And its acidity is light insofaras your mouth does not pucker. However, the wonder of the acidity that our Kenyan coffee has is that it is very noticeable but still subtle. Maybe because of the volcanic ash in their soil, the acidity that Kenyan coffee has can only be described as elegant.

Fair Trade Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
One thing we noticed about this coffee is that its flavor characteristics changed noticeably as it cooled from the temperature at which it was served, approximately 180 degrees, down to 160 degrees or lower. As it cooled, the acidity became more pronounced, so much so that the coffee became disagreeable to me. However others at our table still enjoyed it at that temperature. When it was first served, we enjoyed the slight smokiness of this coffee, due to its being roasted at a slightly darker temperature than the other coffees we were tasting, as well as a light to medium body and medium acidity. The ground Ethiopian coffee that we sampled had a less pronounced aroma than the other coffees.

What have you been drinking lately?


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