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    • I used to be totally ignorant about coffee beans and their different taste characteristics. Coffee was just that. Want to have a cup when I wake up!

      Over the last few years I’ve started to get curious about beans and roasts. It really opened my eyes on the variety and uniqueness of tastes from different sources of origin and roasting methods.

      Lately I’ve been a big fan of Ethiopia and Nicaragua beans for their fruitier and smooth flavor. I’ve also tried Columbia and Brazil but they seem a bit too earthy for me. So I am curious as to what kind of beans do you like and why?

    • Over the summer, we spent the weekend in San Diego for a much needed break from reality. So many great places to eat and the coffee was right up there with it. One of the places we grabbed breakfast served only coffee from Mexico and by far, I think that was one of my favorite cups. We drank it black and it didn't need any sweeteners or cream. Deliciously smooth and a great finish. Whole Foods also serves a drip where the beans come from Mexico. If you haven't tried beans from there yet, I recommend you give it a sip.

    • I like some of the eastern African coffees, which tend to be sweeter. Yergacheffe is a great coffee. I also like Costa Rican coffees quite a bit, especially if I can score a peaberry.

      Roasting, however, is really the key, so I spend less time worrying about the source of the beans beyond region and more about how the coffee was roasted. As a Bay Area person, I have access to Blue Bottle (excellent), Ritual (their espressos are excellent) and Red Whale, which is super local to me.

      I'm not sure if you make espresso at home or not, but I really enjoy Ritual's Sweet Tooth seasonal blends. They work for a flavor profile that's sweet by using a variety of beans and roasting them enough that they make great espresso, but not so dark that they generate that kind of oily tannic espresso.

      If you're a drip kind of person, consider Blue Bottle for drip coffees. You might like Three Africans, which is a long time favorite. If you talk with the baristas at one of their stores (not sure where you are), they're really knowledgable about their beans and their roasts.

    • Mexican coffees are generally Arabica beans and are really mild and smooth. My dad lives in Brownsville and I used to buy 1 kilo bags from a roaster just over the border from him.

      There's a mail order place in Boston called Terroir Coffee that is run by one of the early Good Coffee shops in Boston, the now departed Coffee Connection. They were into varietals and roasting methods back in the early 80s. Coffee Connection got sold to Starbucks (BOOOOOO!), but one of the CC principals founded Terroir. If you want to geek out on beans, try those guys. :)

    • I absolutely love Sumatran coffee, to the extent that most other coffees just taste wrong to me.

      I guess it's controversial? I don't know a ton about coffee and I'm far from a connoiseur, but I know what I like, and apparently what I like is dark, earthy, and spicy. ☕️

    • Costa Rican Terrazu from Cafe Britt used to be my favorite. My daughter toured their roaster in Costa Rica and sent me a bunch that had been roasted that day. I still buy Terrazu, but have been open to trying other lighter roasts.
      For me, the roast is more important than the bean or the region where it was grown.
      2 years ago, we were traveling along the west coast and went through a couple of days of only finding Americanos. Which is fine, until you want something that is not dark roast. It seems like there is a lot more subtlety to light roasts than dark roasts, which I really like.
      Right now, I have light roasts from Collectivo, a roaster in the Milwaukee, Wi area and some from a roaster in Montana (my youngest lives there and brought a bunch home at Christmas.) I also have some Cafe Britt Terrazzu as it was on sale over the holidays.
      Finding a good roaster is almost as enjoyable as finding a good butcher. They are scattered about and can be a fine destination for a ride.

    • I haven't tried Yergacheffe which sounds pretty exotic! Costa Rica was also on my favorites list, but it got edged out by Nicaragua.

      I also used to be a regular customer at Blue Bottle Coffee (in San Francisco's Hayes Valley) where they also had Ritual coffee shop nearby. Back then, I didn't drink drip coffee but was a huge fan of cappuccino and macchiato, so I didn't know which beans they were using.

      A few months ago I was meeting a friend at Blue Bottle in Palo Alto and had a chance to order an exotic drip of Myanmar's beans. I think I remember mostly that it cost nearly $7.50 per cup but the flavor was definitely "different" 🤔

    • True fact: The darker the roast, the less caffeine in the bean. I'm with you. I like a lighter roast so the real flavors of the bean don't get taken over by that sort of oily tannic ton coffee can get. That's really my issue with Starbucks and Peet's - I think they over roast most of their beans.

    • Umbria Coffee out of Seattle is delicious. I've been noticing a lot of cafes/delis in the Bay Area starting to use their beans. Highly recommended.

    • Vilen, you and Duc were the two guys who really exposed me to specialty coffee. Thank you for introducing me to such a wonderful obsession! Since then, my interest in coffee has evolved significantly.

      My all time favorite coffee was from 2016's crop from the Ethiopia Aricha Kebel Mill. This dry-processed coffee shines due to the intense care the farmers and sorters put into it. Very Fragrant, sweet berry and florals. Honey-like sweetness, intense plum and strawberry.

      From the importer:
      Dry-processing means that the coffee was not pulped (the outer skin removed) and fermented  to remove the fruity mucilage  layer. In dry processing, the coffee cherry is picked and laid out in raised "beds" in the sun, turning the red fruit to a deep brown color over the course of two weeks. After a storage period, the coffee seed is hulled out in one step, removing all the dried skin, fruit and parchment layers at the same time. 

      The Aricha was prepared to the standards for Grade 1, which means removing over-ripe and under-ripe cherries that can be seen in the final green coffee as with either shiny green silverskin coating the bean, or fermenty sour beans. This extra work improves the overall cup quality and consistency in roasting.

      When I roast it:

      Here is a secret of the best coffee roaster: best greens, best coffee. If you select a very high quality coffee, it tends to be difficult to screw it up. Can be done, but you have more flexibility with better coffee.
      That is true for this one, however I still put as much planning and thought that I can into each roast of this Aricha.
      I'll keep it light, aiming for approximately a drop temp of 405 degrees and a 20% development time.

    • We get Papachay here at work. He’s a one man show. Owns the property the coffee is grown on, oversees the production and even delivers on his cool delivery bike. Peruvian French Roast is what we usually get. If it sounds like I’m pimping, I am. Great story. Like Ben Java (for those who knew him); but larger.

    • <guess I'm testing how thread necromancy is received at Cake! ;)>

      I'm a supertaster coffee addict in a wonderland of small-batch coffee roasteries and pour-over joints and...I mostly drink Starbucks beans. Let me explain. No, it's too much, let me sum up: I like big-bodied coffee, round on the center of the tongue, with some mix of earth, spice, and berry or caramel notes. I like it dark but not smoked (Italian/French roast I would consider smoked). This does not seem to be the most popular flavor profile in Portland! The basic cup of coffee most people seem to want is bright, light-to-medium roasted, mostly or all Latin-American coffee.

      My favorite coffees also tend to be semi-washed, but that might be a coincidence since those are mostly from Indonesia; and from high-altitude volcanic soil, which is more likely meaningful since I also love single-origin Peruvian coffee (rare, period!) Starbucks Sumatra is reliably the big round spicy kick in the teeth I want in the morning, and reliable is good for mornings.

      I know I'll get mocked for drinking Starbucks, but I'm not ashamed. I worked there in grad school, I've tasted all their normal beans and nearly got my coffee master apron -- so if you ever want to know what their lighter-roasted coffees are, I'm a good person to ask!

      Luckily I also enjoy a second cup in the afternoon sometimes, and then I am more adventurous. I enjoy tasting different single-origin coffees and charting the amazing range of tastes. Kenya, Costa Rica, Brazil. And these explorations I'm much more likely to find material for in a Portland indie coffee bar!