I've decided to try out at least some of the many small roasters I find on Instagram & Twitter. There are a lifetimes worth to try, but I'm not planning on going anywhere soon so I should be able to get through a few. (ignore the weird highlight. I'm not in the mood to figure out blogger this morning)
I started with Bespoken Coffee Roasters and their Kochere from Ethiopia. They are a husband and wife team in Corvallis, OR, who just opened a shop called Tried & True Coffee . Hopefully when I make my west coast trip I'll be able to stop by and check it out. I also ordered a mug. The shipping was fast. I placed my order on Thursday and by Monday I had my coffee. I love the packaging too. A pretty label won't improve coffee but that doesn't make it a waste of time. For me coffee is about the whole experience from bag to cup. I liked having something enjoyable to look at.
Then comes smell. The bag was well sealed so I needed some scissors to open it. There is a valve for gas escape so being well sealed is a plus. CO2 out, but no air in. I opened the bag and was greeted by a wonderful aroma. The smell of good coffee puts me in a great mood. This was a real day brightener.
I always taste a couple of beans. That's the best way I know to determine if I want to use them for candy later. Chocolate covered coffee beans are yummy - but only if you start with the right beans. These aren't bad for that. I'll have to give it a try sometime this week. I think some coffee caramels with a chocolate covered bean on top would be a good fit.
This morning I put both my new beans and new mug to use. Most mornings I make a carafe of pour over and today was no exception. The beans were ground, the water heated and the cup warmed. In no time at all I had a nice cup of coffee. The color was a nice rich brown and there was a golden crema on top as I poured the water.
I'm new to the whole describing coffee thing. The fact that I even like good coffee is a miracle. I grew up in a house where instant was considered coffee. Even today my mom will use generic coffee from the grocery store. I'm talking lower than store brand. Remember those white cans with coffee written on them in black? yeah, she's used that.
So how would I describe this one? There was a natural sweetness and it was bright kind of a citrusy taste, kind of crisp. It had a good feel in my mouth, kind of like a strong cup of tea, but not heavy or weighed down. I have a ton of stuff to get done today and this is a good coffee for a work day.
It was really enjoyable. I'll be making a second carafe after lunch.
and I loved the mug. I like a nice heavy mug - keeps my coffee warm a bit longer.
I will be ordering more coffee from Bespoken. I'm planning to try their Gatuyaini from Kenya next.
A puzzle - because I like puzzles. you can play it here click through to jigsaw planet for a bigger screen version.
It's a 30 min drive from my house, but then everything in KC is 30 - 45 min from everything else. I wanted to try Headrush because they will roast coffee for you while you wait. OMG it smells good in there. I know there is a lot of smoke given off from roasting coffee and you could see a layer of it in the shop - but I love a good campfire and the smoke didn't bother me in the least.
The young man at the register was very helpful in helping me choose which coffee to have roasted. I ended up going with one called India Monsoon. It grows during the monsoon season and has larger beans. Was told it has a distinct flavor and less acidity other coffee.
The beans are a little larger than others and it's a nice medium roast.
When we got the bag it smelled HEAVENLY. The kid said it smelled a little like fresh gingerbread. I brewed some of this for my morning coffee - pour over method - and while it didn't taste like gingerbread it was excellent. Smooth and not bitter with a lot of body and a kind of earthy spiciness. Really really really worth the drive.
I also got a bag of espresso blend, but I have not tried that one yet.
My husband had their Headrush drink. He enjoyed it. I got a Mocha because I judge coffee houses on their ability to do two things - a good pour over or chemex and mocha if they serve them. If it tastes like sugar water or syrup (Gloria Jean - Starbucks) I wont' be back for any other item on their menu. Conversely I don't want it to be too bitter from the espresso. A balanced mocha is wonderful and surprisingly hard to make. The one from Headrush was not bad. Not the best I've ever had, but still good. A little bitter, but I'll take that over diabetes in a cup. I like to taste the coffee with the chocolate. Not just chocolate and sweet but no coffee.
The kid enjoyed the trip and here's my requisite photo of her giving me odd looks in a coffee house.
I enjoyed the atmosphere. It's a great place to hang out and talk with friends.