Originally inspired by Mike White’s “2010 Coffees,” (and now 2011) I began saving all the coffee bags I finished back in January. However, when June came and I decided to move to Sweden, I didn’t want to use limited luggage space to haul empty bags. The top image captures my coffee consumption from the first six months of 2011 and the bottom image captures the second half of the year after I moved to Sweden.
There were several bags left behind or shared with friends while traveling—leaving the second part of the year a bit incomplete. But the collection above still accounts for at least one bag of coffee a week. Not too shabby.
I also narrowed down a list of the 10 most memorable cups of coffee from 2011:
1. Finca San Luis: Libano, Colombia – Gimme! Coffee
2. Kieni: Nyeri, Kenya – The Coffee Collective
3. Luis Alfredo Rojas: Huila, Colombia – Heart Roasters
4. Katowa Don K Estate: Boquete, Panama – Koppi Roasters
5. Limoncello Pacamara Natural: Matagalpa, Nicaragua – HasBean Coffee
6. Worka: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia – Verve Coffee Roasters
7. Guji Natural: Sidamo, Ethiopia – Forty Weight Coffee
8. Finca Machacamarca: Sud Yungas, Bolivia – HasBean Coffee
9. Zirikana: Abangakurushwa, Rwanda – Intelligentsia Coffee
10. Elephante: El Porvenir, El Salvador – MadCap Coffee
I look forward to more great coffee in 2012. Have a safe and Happy New Year!
View the high res image
posted by bwj
on 12.31.2011, under Misc.
Since the beginning of October, Mike White (one of my favorite coffee persons) has been chronicling his daily coffee experiences on a feed simply titled “My Daily Coffee.” The photos are all simple overhead views of an empty cup, which creates a nice visual collection of vessels contrasted with a great variety of table textures.
Each photo is captioned with a brief description of the experience. The observations drift between flavor notes, environmental observations and customer service. Many of his thoughts are concise enough to be tweeted. Enjoy.
One of my favorite things about great coffee, is that no two are the same. For many years I thought coffee always tasted like “coffee.” Now, as my girlfriend begins to enjoy coffee with me, she describes bad coffee as tasting like “coffee.” Which usually means she isn’t tasting the coffee at all, just the roast. However, there is a growing segment of the industry who focus on roast levels that accentuate the coffees terroir—the natural environment including soil, topography and climate that affect its unique flavors—instead of trying to replicate a uniform taste with dark roasts and blends.
When you visit coffee shops who brew these coffees, they often do so one cup at a time—ensuring a fresh cup is made just for you. Baristas use a vareity of manual methods that not only bring out the best in the coffee, but also create a bit of theater allowing you an opportunity to engage them with your curiosity. This also prevents you from getting a cup of overheated swill from a giant batch pot that you have no idea how long has been sitting there.
This approach to coffee has been called many things, most commonly the “Third Wave.” But a new company called Craft Coffee, has taken a step towards defining it for consumers in a more understandable way. This start-up has developed a subscription based model that brings an evolving array of artisan coffees—that are craft roasted in small batches—right to your door each month. This allows connoisseurs a chance to indulge in a variety of great coffees, while giving beginners a fantastic way to explore and discover new coffees and roasters. It’s a win for everyone.
The Craft Coffee box comes with three 4oz bags, giving you enough for 6-8 cups of each coffee. Every bag is marked with information about the roaster, producer, origin, varietal, elevation, process and tasting notes. An extra notecard elaborates a bit more on each coffee giving you more insight into where it came from and why it was chosen.
Colombian coffee crops have been devastated by unrelenting weather and punishing floods. Which makes this coffee, a Caturra varietal, grown by Didier Reinoso on a small farm in the mountains of Las Mercedes, Herrera—where he also grows avocados, plantains, yucas and herbs—all the more exceptional.
The first box included the following coffees:
Gimme! Coffee: Caranavi Bolivia
MadCap Coffee Company: Las Mercedes, Colombia
Coava Coffee Roasters: Chalalacktu, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
I would personally recommend any of these roasters, so it was a treat to have all three in one box. It made for a fantastic weekend of coffee tasting. This format allows a great opportunity for boxes to be specially curated, or even present the same coffee roasted by different roasters, creating new experiences and encouraging new exploration in coffee.
One thing I found curiously absent from the package where roast dates on the coffee. I know Mike & Mike, and spent time with them a week prior to their first shipment. They are both detail oriented and grasp the value of such a detail, so I can only assume they forgot or are still working out the logistics. Every bag is hand packed with love, so I can understand if certain steps may not have found their way into the system yet.
Overall, Craft Coffee is an affordable luxury that combines elements of surprise with culinary excellence and better understanding of the beverage we all love.
Get on next month’s list at CraftCoffee.com
Enjoy some photos from behind the scenes courtesy of Mike White.