Friday, March 25, 2005

Back in the Bay

Note: this post will be long and picture heavy so get ready

Upon returning to the Bay Area, Boyman presented his findings from afar and made offerings of several different beans from several different roasters. Nabbing the extra Mazzer from the BBC roaster, the tasting lab at Hayes Valley began in earnest.

We'll just run through these.

Doma: Ruby's Organic Espresso
Chris from Victrola pulled a shot of the Ruby's just a day after it had been roasted in Idaho. Organic espressos are of unique interest to the BBCC. James has "heard good things" about Doma, but until last week, the BBCC remained uninitiated. Pulling for 24sec and set @ 210F produced a shot with pronounced nuttiness, like dry roasted peanuts. The shot at Victrola was excellent, though the lingering memory of sweetness proved false in the later tasting.

Doma Ruby's Organic vs. Hayes Valley
The Ruby compared to the Hayes and the shot:

Doma Ruby's Shot

Doma: Vito's Blend
31 sec @210 Nutiness gives way to sweeter, almost fruity flavors. Both this and the Ruby had excellent creama. As before:

Doma Vito's vs. Hayes Valley

Shot of Doma's Vito's Blend

Zoka: Paladino

Zoka Espresso Paladino

As mentioned in a previous entry, the Paladino is one of those coffees that can be a little hard to pin down. It is also a coffee that the BBC has rarely had as a straight shot (preferring instead, the xx short A.) On our machine, pumping at 210F in about 24 seconds, the Paladino has a slightly salty flavor that developed into a sweetly smooth finish. Think fresh baked pretzels. Gone was the spiciness of previous sampling. Perhaps this is a coffee that changes dramatically as it ages. The Paladino is known to be a complex, many-beaned blend that appeared a little darker than the Hayes Valley.

Zoka Paladino vs. Hayes Valley

Zoka Paladino shot

Lighthouse Roasters
: Espresso

Lighhouse Espresso Coffee

The surprise hit upon returning to Hayes was the Lighthouse. This espresso had previously been kind of hit or miss, and even then... But everyone knows about Lighthouse and speaks very highly of it so we chalked it down to circumstances beyond our control. But these shots were so, so smooth and creamy.

Lighthouse Shot

The creama at about 31 seconds @ 210F was outstanding. The flavor, like a thick and slightly sweet stout. Now it's apparent what people get so excited about.

Lighhouse vs. Hayes
Their beans vs. Hayes. It's unclear how recently these beans were roasted. The presence of the oils on the beans would lead one to think that they were a little older but then again they just took a plane ride...

Hines: Espresso


These beans were handed to the BBCC by none other than Bronwen Serna Herself. It just might be that she even had a hand in roasting them. Afraid to offend the Queen in here hive, a phone call was placed in order to nail down the details of the pour.

"You're burning my beans!" she declared when told we were brewing at the 210F mark. See all those Seattle kids have been drinking Schomers Kool-Aid and can't fathom pouring anything set beyond the 203.5F gospel straight from the bolo tied prophet himself. But we are the revolution so we'll do what we want. Or at least what Bronwen says is ok.

Hines Shot that Bronwen won't like

And really the shots were fantastic. Having had the pleasure of cupping with these guys, the BBCC has some insight into some components of their highly complex roast. Let's say that with a little slurp, the first thing that comes to palate is berries, and then some sweet choco-smoothness. Heather, the Dk Gard'ner Guinea Pig to several of the BBCC's experiments said, "It tastes alcoholic." Don't even have to wait to get off work anymore.

Dare you to find much of a roast difference, at least by appearance.

Hines vs. Hayes
Hines of the left, Hayes on the right.

Victrola: Streamline

Victrola Streamline espresso

Tonx gave this bag to the BBCC on the last day of Boyman's trip, so we held on to this one the longest. Tonx was also a little critical of the shot we had in the shop, claiming that he wasn't happy with a particular component.

Victrola Streamline shot
Now, you, dear reader, are probably tearing your hair out in bloody tufts all over your keyboard asking: "How did they make all that creama!"

We at the BBC are in on the secret, and rest assured, everything is ok. See, they have this little gnome grinder in the back by the roaster, and nothing makes mountains of creama like little ground up gnomes. You just gotta watch out for the errant gnome hat or beard that didn't get totally processed.

Victrola Streamline vs. Hayes Valley
Again, find the difference.

So these dirty gnome-killers roast a mean espresso and we're not just talking about their hatred for magical forest residents. Super super smooth in the cup and whatever Tonx was hating before was on vacation. Either that or they just need to get rid of that Synesso. You know, something.

Thanks all for reading. We'll have to do this again soon.

Thanks again to these friends for their help, their encouragement and their patience with all of Boyman's questions.

Bronwen, Tonx, a tamper
Bronwen, Tonx, an ergonomic tamper.


Anonymous manboy said...

the victrola was outstanding, simply fantsastic, like all the solid foundation of the asian coffees plus enough of the east african acidity to make it nimble and interesting. this makes sense, as it's reputed to be indian malabar, which is just across the indian ocean from ethiopia but is itself still part of asia.
the bad news is that the stuff, according to bossface, is sprayed a thousand times with pure arsenic and also contains rat bones. or something like that.

2:34 PM  
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3:56 AM  

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