Roast of the Month

  • Roast of the Month: Brandywine Costa Rica Las Lajas

    It’s that time once again for Roast of the Month! This month we have a unique and delicious Costa Rican Black Honey roast from the ever excellent Brandywine Coffee Roasters! 

    Region and Process

    Costa Rican coffee is always a treat because the flavors present are usually quite diverse. Typically coffee regions tend to have a unifying theme when it comes to flavor. Colombian coffee with its rich chocolate flavors and Ethiopian coffee featuring those strong berry notes. In the case of Costa Rican coffee, you tend to get a wide range of notes that are hard to push into a particular bucket. While that may mean it’s harder to pick out a perfect coffee from the region, for adventurous coffee drinkers it’s a great thing. Thankfully roasters like Brandywine also offer quite accurate and detailed tasting notes as well, which helps.

    Black honey processing is a unique method of processing that is becoming more common, but is still not something we see every day. Honey processing is a type of processing where the skin of the coffee cherry is removed (as opposed to a natural process where it’s left on) but the some of the mucilage inside of the cherry is left on the bean to ferment (as opposed to a washed process where the whole cherry is removed). The result is flavors that mirror a natural process but with slightly less intensity. Black honey processing is a process by which the smallest amount of cherry is removed from the bean, which leads to more intense flavor than a typical honey process. 

    Brewing and Flavor Profile

    As with most of our Roast of the Months, we recommend brewing this one as a pour over. This is because it has diverse and complex enough flavors that the separation offered by pour over really does the job best. We brewed at a standard pour over grind with a V60, 200 degrees fahrenheit water, and a standard 1:16 ratio. The result is a dazzling cup that brings out the notes on the bag pretty exactly.

    The apple juice note is subtle but present in a sort of fleeting way. It’s met with those delicious sweet-tart kiwi notes and a softer melon flavor. Finally, the brown sugar note is what ties these three fruity flavors together. It sort of dances around the edges of the palate, offering a delicious bow for this present of a roast. Body wise, this coffee is well rounded and full without venturing into heavy, oily territory. It’s definitely a medium roast that trends lighter, but without the brighter characteristics you get from a light roast.

    This coffee does hold up in other brew methods as well, working especially as a drip brew. With a great brewer and the right grind, you can get a near perfect cup of drip coffee from the roast. 

    Like with every single origin, this roast will only be available for a limited time, so be sure to order a bag before it’s gone!

  • Roast of the Month: Colombia Finca El Cedro

    It’s time once again for our Roast of the Month! This month we’re featuring Colombia Finca El Cedro from Bluebeard Coffee Roasters! We always love a unique Colombian single origin, and this one is no exception. Let’s get into brewing and tasting this delicious roast!

    Spice Forward

    We definitely think this one works in a variety of brew methods. Regardless of how you brew, this roast is very interesting because it really fits a “spice forward” profile. This is unique among Colombian coffees, which usually favor strong chocolate notes. In the case of this roast, the more chocolatey flavors are quite subtle, with much more spice coming out in the flavor profile. When we say spice here, we really mean a baker’s spice kind of thing. Notes cinnamon and nutmeg are what we taste, along with some of those sweeter notes from the fruitier flavors.

    The raspberry note on this one comes across as quite subtle, barely presenting unless you brew as a pour over. More prevalent are the brown sugar and apricot notes. When combined with that spice flavor you get a delicious fruit pie-like taste. We get the sort of pie notes that you might encounter in a Fall apple pie. 

    One interesting element to this roast is just how bloom time really affects the flavor here. Let’s talk about brew methods to get into that a little bit more!

    Brewing and Blooming

    When we refer to bloom time, we’re talking about the bloom step of brewing as pour over. This is the stage where acids are released from the coffee with a short pour at the start of the pour over process. By extending the bloom time on this roast, you can really affect the flavor. A longer bloom will bring out more of those spice notes, versus a shorter bloom time, which highlights a bit more of the sweetness. We’ve experimented with bloom times ranging from 20 seconds to a full minute!

    If you’re not brewing pour over, you’ll still get a great cup of coffee out of this roast. Drip brewing leads to a more balanced cup, which still highlights the spice notes we keep mentioning. As an espresso, you’re going to get more of that sweetness, which is usually the case with this richer brew method.

    No matter how you brew, Colombia Finca El Cedro is a delicious coffee that you won’t want to miss! Grab a bag today!

  • Video Roundup 6/19/20

    Hey there coffee fans!

    We missed you for last week's video roundup because of our wonderful Roast of the Month. That means this week we have a double whammy of video goodness for you! Let's dive in.

    First up, Allie and I chatted last week about roast levels and how they affect flavor:

    Next, we've got a look at the Jura Smart Connect app with Jake, his very first video!

    Then we checked out some Barista Pro setup steps with Allie:

    Next up, Allie took a look at the new white Barista Encore:

    Then Allie and I sat down together (virtually) to taste our Roast of the Month for June.

    And finally, it's a sneak peak of the new Fellow Ode grinder!

    That's what we've got for now, we'll be back next week with more video content, have a great weekend!

  • Video Roundup: 5/15/20

    Hey coffee lovers!

    It's Friday, which means we've got our regularly scheduled Video Roundup for you! Let's get into what we've been up to at home and in the studio.

    First up, Pat and Allie break down SCG's May Roast of the Month, Kickapoo Spring Blend!

    Next up, it's a classic crew comparison between the Ratio Six and the Breville Precision Brewer!

    And finally, Gail dropped in to give us some tips and tricks on getting the most out of the Rocket Espresso Giotto Type V Timer!

    That's all for now folks! We'll be back next week with more for you to enjoy!

  • Roast of the Month: Kickapoo Spring Blend

    It’s that time once again for Seattle Coffee Gear’s Roast of the Month! This month we’re celebrating Kickapoo’s annual Spring Blend. We love this year’s offering on this always solid coffee and we think you will too. Join us as we give it a look!

    Origins and Producers

    This year’s Spring Blend features coffees from two of Kickapoo’s newest suppliers, one from Progresso, Peru, and one from Inza Valley Colombia. The Pillimue group is an independent farmer collective in Inza Valley, Colombia. This group focuses on traditional coffee development made difficult in other regions of the country due to the La Roya leaf fungus. Inza Valley has largely been safe from the fungus, and the Pillimue group has taken this advantage and ran with it to produce traditional Colombian coffee at a high level of quality.

    The Padilla family is a farming family in Progreso, Peru. Located in the Northern part of the country in the Andes, the conditions there are perfect for coffee production. This hard working family expertly tend this land and practice Minga, which means roughly “today for me, tomorrow for you.” Their quality coffee indicates what a positive impact this philosophy has on the practice.

    Brewing and Flavor Profile

    Spring blend features an approachable flavor profile that Kickapoo refers to as “layered and confectionary.” These are good descriptors, expanded upon through notes of milk chocolate, nougat, and cherry. These notes combine for a classic coffee flavor that is just rich enough for fans of something sweet without alienating someone who prefers a lighter roast. This is the perfect kind of coffee to hand to someone who is used to grocery store brands and chain coffee shops. It really gets across how good a classic cup can be.

    For brewing, we recommend starting with a good old fashioned drip brewer. Running this coffee through a Bonavita or Precision Brewer results in a delicious, classic morning cup of coffee. For a sweeter cup, try an espresso with some milk in a latte or macchiato. Finally, to get at that cherry note the best way to brew is a pour over. One of the reasons we like this blend so much is just how easily it works across these brew methods. This is exemplified by the roast’s flavor in a superauto or press along with the above mentioned brewers. Get a taste of this delicious seasonal roast now before we roll over into the Summer

     

  • Video Roundup 4/20/20

    Hey Coffee Lovers!

    We've got some VERY exciting videos for you this week, and for the time being we'll be coming to you on Mondays! Moving our video roundup day is temporary, but we wanted to help you start your week with some fresh coffee tips.

    So without further adieu...

    Gail gave us a look at her brewing setup from her RV!

    Then Allie showed us her process for dialing in Olympia's Big Truck Espresso:

    Next we've got a look at the brand new Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera!

    Then Allie and I sat down to for a video chat to talk about our delicious Roast of the Month:

    And we're VERY excited to share a limited return of Good Morning Gail!

    That's all we have for you this week, we'll be back with more next Monday!

  • Roast of the Month: Victrola Burundi Mpanga

    It’s a tale of twin processes this month for SCG’s Roast of the Month! We’re excited to share Victrola’s Burundi Mpanga single origins. One of these roasts is a washed process, and the other is a honey process. We hope our customers will give each one a try to better understand how process effects flavor!

    Both of these coffees are from the same producer from Nyangwe Hill’s prestigious coffee farms. From there, the coffee is processed differently, allowing the end customer to experience the different flavor profiles the processes impart. To best evaluate them side by side, we recommend brewing as a pour over. From there though, let your imagination run wild! There’s so much joy to be had in exploring the ways to get the most out of each coffee.

    Mpanga Washed

    Washed process coffee is fully cleaned of the cherry before drying and shipping. This means no trace of the cherry is allowed to ferment and impart flavors after harvesting. 

    For this roast, the result is mild, sweet flavors that are clean and balanced. Expect notes of soft fruit, brown sugar, and raisin. We find this one to be delicious and easy to drink, as well as versatile. While we recommend trying them side by side as pour overs, this roast works particularly well as a drip or press brew too.

    Mpanga Honey

    For a quick refresher on honey process coffee: A honey process splits the difference between washing all of the mucilage off of the bean and allowing the whole cherry to ferment on the bean like in a natural. Honey process coffee is hulled, but the mucilage isn’t fully washed off, allowing for a honey like wrap to develop on the bean. 

    In practice, this gives this roast more unique and striking notes than its counterpart. Victrola lists notes of Maple syrup, cherry cola, and graham cracker. You’ll get plenty of sweetness that hits different parts of the palate differently, and a bright acidity that pulls the notes together. A great pour over, this roast also results in a sweet and delicious espresso!

    Again, we can’t recommend trying both of these roast side by side enough!

     

  • Roast of the Month: Tony's Ethiopia Banko Dhadhato

    This month we're celebrating a delicious roast from Tony's Coffee - Ethiopia Banko Dhadhato!

     

    This roast is bursting with loads of berry flavor that you have to taste to believe. There is so much huckleberry in a cup of this coffee that it's hard to believe it's not flavored! Banko Dhadhato comes to us from Yirgacheffe region, a location known for some of the most flavorful coffee in the world. Even by those standards, this roast surprised us. The beans are Heriloom varietal, which is a high quality bean, but still on it's face would not suggest such a complex set of notes. Between these factors and the natural process used for these beans, something magical was definitely the result.

    That's not to take any credit away from Tony's, of course. One pitfall when roasting a natural coffee is working out that sort of "funky" taste. Some naturals come off as tasting less of berry, and more as funky and off. This can be because of over or under roasting, but that's not a problem with Banko Dhadhato. Instead, you're left with a delicious brew that brings to mind beverages like a sweet berry tea. it's also more drinkable than most naturals in terms of intensity. Where you might normally get strong, overpowering cherry flavors, instead Banko Dhadhato is quite drinkable.

    Which leads us to brew method. This is a roast, like many we select for Roast of the Month, that we just adore as a pour over. By brewing it this way you'll be able to tease out some of the more complex, bright elements of the berry flavor. As a drip brew it comes out a little bit more flat, but is still enjoyable. This is one of those roasts that will be tough to dial in for espresso, but for expert brewers out there, it could provide an exquisite ristretto or latte.

    We hope you love it as much as we do, try this wonderful coffee for yourself before it leaves our shelves!

  • Roast of the Month: Methodical's Ethiopia Nano Challa

    After a holiday break, it's time once again for Seattle Coffee Gear's Roast of the Month!

    This month we're featuring the delicious Ethiopia Nano Challa from Methodical roasting. This roast starts with fantastic coffee from an ever consistent producer.

    Exploring Nano Challa

    The Nano Challa cooperative was founded in 2004. After over 15 years this group has grown to a whopping 350 farmers. The farmers here grow world renowned coffee in the shade of the local forest. When it comes time for processing, the coffee is similarly dried in the shade. Drying coffee in this way does take longer than sun-drying, but also leads to more developed flavors. By the time it makes it to roasters around the world, this coffee has been lovingly grown, sorted, dried, and washed to perfection.

    Methodical's take on this coffee is absolutely exquisite. The roaster only lists two simple tasting notes, but there really is so much going on in the cup. The tangerine and sweet lemon notes on the bag get to the citrusy, bright acidity of this coffee. This flavor profile mixes with more common Ethiopian notes like berry and chocolate that we expect from coffees like this.

    What's even more impressive is that this coffee features a really smooth, balanced body too. This isn't a super light, flavor chasing type roast that requires a super refined palate. This is simply a good, drinkable coffee perfect for a wide range of tastes.

    Brew Methods

    Of course, as you might expect, we recommend a pour over for this coffee. This is a brew method that will really give you the richest flavor profile without being too strong. It's the best way to understand this coffee. With that said, this one will work well as a press and drip brew if you generally prefer those methods.

    Check out Methodical's Ethiopia Nano Challa today right here.

  • Roast of the Month: Camber Guatemala Santa Isabel

    This month's Roast of the Month comes to us from Camber Coffee. Camber is a local roaster just north of Seattle in Bellingham Washington. We've been fans of Camber for a while, and we're really excited to be able to feature them!

    Origin

    Guatemala Santa Isabel was grown near the town of San Cristóbal Verapaz. This central Guatemalan town was at one time not renowned for its coffee. The producer of this particular coffee, Don Luis, worked with his son to develop the farm. By improving their cultivation techniques, they're fully developed their crop into a prize winning coffee. We loved Camber's take on this roast, especially given that it's from a region we don't see as many coffees from.

    The Coffee

    The coffee itself is a delicious washed roast that evolves as it cools and depending on the brew method. We've had this coffee as everything from a pourover to a vacuum siphon brew, and it's always interesting. Depending on brew method, you'll get sweeter cherry notes with more prevalence. On the other hand, our siphon brew highlighted the marzipan note that Camber lists. A classic drip brew should give you a nice balance that still offers some interesting taste.

    This adaptability and general great flavor was what really grabbed us about this camber. This is just a great coffee that you and other coffee drinkers you brew for will love too! Check out Camber's Guatemala Santa Isabel here today!

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