When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When Counter Culture Coffee hands you some of their fresh roasted organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, you can make something even better than that.
The fruit and floral notes in this coffee are just amazing. If someone had asked me before I'd tasted this whether I'd enjoy a coffee that tasted like lemon blossoms, roses and honeysuckle, I would have eyed them in disbelief, tapped my temple gently and suggested that those flavors probably wouldn't go over too well in a cup of coffee. But through some alchemy of flavor magic, it really does work. I brewed it good and strong, with eight 7-gram scoops to 20 scant ounces of just-backed-off-from-boiling water, and the flavors and aromas came through with crystal clarity.
It tasted like a sin to muddy this delicate cup with additives, but in the name of experimentation I added a bare sprinkle of Splenda about halfway down. It was like drinking a delicious lemon candy, with just a tiny amount of sweetener bringing out the natural sweetness of the brew. A small splash of cream towards the end of the cup did obscure most of the delicate flavors. Even if you don't normally drink your coffee black, this is definitely one to drink pure and natural.
There are a lot of knowledgeable folks who claim the Yirg as their favorite. If you can get a hold of CCCs Ethiopian Sidamo, you will be blown back by the not too subtle blueberry aroma. I brewed some in a drip, and baked blueberry muffins at the same time (coincidentally), and I wasn't sure which one was giving off more of the fragrance, no exaggeration.
I don't know if you are in the Charlotte or Triangle area, but if you get to Raleigh, come down to Helios (www.helioscoffee.com) on Friday nights, where I work, I can hook you up.
I did make it to Helios when I was in Raleigh as it had been mentioned by the Counter Culture folks as a good destination for folks who liked fresh roasted coffee. Chatted a bit with the barista re: how many pounds of pressure he used on the tamp and which coffee had the most complex and interesting flavors. Did we meet? Your pic does look a bit familiar.
I don't have a lot of pics of me, but here's about the only place on the Net you'll find one. http://www.snakegetters.com/demo/tube/elapid-grip.html Furthest row to the right, in the middle. I think I was wearing the same shirt at Helios as I was in this picture from the vet clinic.
I got some of the Yirgacheffe roasted by Cappojim, and while it was very tasty, it lacked the floral/fruit aromas almost completely. I will definitely be getting some of the Sidamo next, as I was totally blown away by the lemon blossom/honeysuckle character of the Ambessa.
I am only working on Friday nights, I am known as Friday night Phil, and I don't recall anyone asking geekish questions lately.
No one has ever asked me how many pounds of pressure I use to tamp. I'll tamp on the bean scale tonight and get an average. In my former job as a playground safety specialist, whenever we had to push a probe through an opening, we had to use a pressure measured in foot/pounds, and I know what 50 f/lbs. feels like, more or less. So, in a completely un-scientific fashion, I would say I never tamp with more than 20 f/lbs. Now that I think about it, I could wright an essay on tamping, which I'll post in the appropriate category, because you've got my gears turning on the subject and there is a bunch I want to say about it.
So any way, Friday nights I can be found there, just let me know if you plan on coming to town and stopping by.
Will do! I don't get up that way very often, but I'll drop you a note if I do. My email is snakegetters a*t yah00 d0t c0m; email me and we'll have a line of communication open even if these forums are down (which I've noticed they have been lately).
Counter Culture produces several espresso blends. We serve Toscano at our shop. It is modeled have a sweet "dolce" style espresso found in Siena. Recently the Brazilian component of the blend was switched to a new crop. Toscano is usually noted with caramel and usually has a big hit of sugar at the bottom of the cup. With the recent change in the blend we have lowered the tempeture of the machine to 202 to get the best flavor.
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