Coffee: Peaberry – Exclusive to Bewley’s
Origin: Blackburn Estates, Tanzania
Varietal: Kent & Bourbon
Roaster: Bewleys Coffee, Dublin.
The Roaster says…
This peaberry coffee has sweet stone fruit flavours led by subtle ginger aromatics. The cup is very clean due to the careful processing and has a fresh, pointed acidity.
Peaberry is a type of coffee bean where only one of the two seeds is fertilized, and the single seed develops. This smaller pea-shaped bean is known as peaberry. Around 5% of all coffee beans from any origin are of this form. Peaberries do tend to bring subtly different, potentially superior qualities to the cup, perhaps through more uniform shape and careful sorting.
The Blackburn Estate was rediscovered by the specialty market in the early 2000s and has since developed something of a cult following among specialty roasters around the world. The Estate is owned and managed by passionate husband and wife team Michael and Tina Gehrken, who in 1983 moved to the family owned farm.
The attention to harvesting and processing detail is incredible, resulting in a wide selection of micro-lots from the different zones of the farm, that each have their own subtle nuances and aromas. A team of 50 pickers selected only the very ripest cherries. Rather than paying its pickers per the bucket, Blackburn offers a decent fixed daily salary and limits its pickers to three 20L buckets a day. This ensures that the harvest is meticulous and assures pickers are not over-worked.
Bewley’s are privileged to buy at least 3 lots per year from Tina & Michael Gehrken at Blackburn Estates and this particular peaberry coffee is exclusive to Bewley’s.
How was it…
Sometimes we cup a coffee a few times, even after brewing it various ways. It helps to simplify the tasting process and gather thoughts on what is happening with the flavours and aromas. We brewed a Chemex, we brewed a V60, we made an aeropess… and then we cupped this one to try and get a clearer picture. I suppose we probably should cup every coffee first but we don’t… erm, sorry!
Anyway, we are rambling on there.
Ginger! We aren’t so sure the use of the word ‘subtle’ on the tasting notes worked for us… maybe I’m just super sensitive to ginger. It was pleasant initially but, once I’d noted it I couldn’t escape the ginger. I was smelling it and tasting it and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Sometimes you just have to take a step back from the coffee and allow it to cool down a little. Layers of flavour should emerge from a good coffee… in this case, the sweet fruity dark plum/raisin saved us from that ginger as it cooled down and mellowed. This was one of those times when the flavours changed and our opinion changed dramatically for the better with it… I’m just not too sure about the ginger!
But then what about the Chemex, V60 and Aeropress brews you say? The sweetness was more evident in the Chemex and V60 but we just couldn’t quite nail a sweet tasting brew in the Aeropress Boo!
In conclusion we think this is a good filter coffee but a little temperamental… or maybe it’s us that’s temperamental. Complex might be a better way to describe it… let’s go with complex.
It’s all subjective isn’t it.
You can sign up to receive a monthly coffee form Bewleys here. If you are in Ireland this is a great subscription option from a local roaster and, you can be sure of interesting coffee each month. Here’s a reminder…
Balanced washed coffee from the yirgacheffe region, with a floral aroma, raspberry and mint flavours and a pleasant acidity.
Yirgacheffe is known for its clean, floral and high quality coffees with genuine and unique fruit and berry flavours. The area where this coffee is grown, in our humble opinion, produces some of the most complex and intense coffee flavours in the world. Reko washing station started production in 2001 and is situated at an altitude of around 1850-2100 meters. During harvest, which normally takes place between late october and mid-january, about 850 farmers bring their red cherries to the washing station. The coffees are washed with water from a nearby river, after which they are pulped. The mucilage is removed by traditional fermentation, which lasts 36-48 hours depending on the weather conditions. The coffee is then dried on raised african beds for 10-12 days.
How was it…
It was Mint Aero. I’ve never tasted mint in coffee before… when I read the packaging I thought ‘nah… that’s going to be the flavour I just won’t get” but, did I say… It’s mint aero!!
After playing around with the Chemex brew we switched to the v60. Immediately we found a bit more balance with the finer grind and a bit of agitation of the brew during the initial bloom. In short, we stirred things up a bit. This seemed to help release some of that fruity raspberry-ness in the cup. The v60 was a lot more rewarding and for some reason the Chemex brew was a bit one dimensional for us.
Once we settled on that grind size and adjusted the recipe a little, we found this to be a really velvety smooth coffee and in true Ethiopian fashion, it delivered plenty of distinct flavour. The mint was still there but the balance of fruity-ness was really interesting.
At the time of writing you could still buy the Ethiopia Reko from Bailies Coffee Belfast here.
Remember you can subscribe to a monthly single estate super tasty coffee from Bailies Coffee here. You know it makes sense!
Origin: Hacienda La Esmeralda, Panama
Roaster:Bailies Coffee, Belfast.
The Roaster says…
A big bodied and bold coffee with sweet citrus acidity. Flavours of hazelnuts take centre stage before the vanilla caramel after-taste. This is also a part of our great father’s day bundle, for the dads who only get the best
Farm direction has been in the hands of the peterson family for the past 35 years and is now into its third generation. Esmeralda strive for absolute consistency and excellence in preparation. They devote enormous time to the details and ne touches that have always distinguished Esmeralda estate coffee from ‘just another coffee’. The palmyra covers the areas we refer to as Santa Maria, Aguacate, Louvain and the thatcher and is what sustains close to one thousand Ngobe-Bugle pickers during harvest. The Ngobe-Bugle’s are a nomad group, migrating to the highlands during harvest (november through February). The nursery, with child care, is the centre hub, from where pickers go to harvest and are able to leave their children cared for with food, teachers and supplies.
How Was it
I have these wonderful vivid memories of cracking hazelnuts with an old nut-cracker in a dark autumnal room as a child… I’m pretty certain it’s not a figment of my imagination.
When we opened this bag of coffee and sucked in the initial aroma that escapes from a fresh bag of coffee, I was instantly transported to those hazelnuts. Sometimes the smell is way better than the taste could ever be but we were pretty excited to get brewing this coffee to see how it was tasting.
As an espresso, it was really bold and lively with lots of sweetness… reminder that we are using the ROK Espresso maker so, fined tuned to perfection as an espresso I’d say this is even more glorious.
The Chemex and V60 was a delightful experience but especially using the Matt Perger V60 method. In fact, we reckon this nailed another dimension of flavour… the vanilla, hazelnut combination was awesome. Bailies don’t mention Nutella in their cup profile but we were getting a big mouthful of sweet nutty chocolate on top of that vanilla. So so tasty!!
Sometimes you have to step away from your favourite or regular brew method to see a coffee from a different flavour angle. That’s one of the things we love about speciality coffee… the challenge of accuracy and flexibility that you have to juggle from one coffee to the next keeps everything exciting.
You can the Panama Palmyra coffee from Bailies here. Check out their full range of current speciality coffee here.
This coffee grabs your attention straight away with it’s pleasant juicy lemon citric acidity and balanced sweetness. What follows is a black tea quality that together with the acidity gives an impression of earl grey but a surprising and a satisfyingly full creamy body is evident throughout. This coffee is roasted light to retain the delicate aspects of the flavour profile.
The Yirgacheffe region has a deserved reputation for being one of the world’s foremost coffee growing region. In the mountainous southern part of Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe and Sidamo generally exhibit clean cup characteristics and in particular the best washed Yirgacheffe coffees have an almost tea-like quality.
How was it?
We love lemons.
Lemon tea, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie, lemons lemons lemons… what else is super lemony!
We love Ethiopian coffees too, they are often bold, bright, fruity and generally always exciting to drink. Our favourite coffee from 2014 was an Ethiopian.
It’s been a while since we had an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe in the kitchen so we got excited about this.
Did we mention the lemons?
We cupped this first and lemons were hitting us around the nose as soon as we opened the bag, and again when we ground the coffee. The creamy mouthfeel which followed that initial lemon acidity was a lovely surprise.
Brewed every which way but loose, this was a real taste sensation… we had a lemon meringue pie in the fridge this week and, as I write this post we’ve just enjoyed a slice of that delicious pie with this coffee and… it was just splendid! Too much lemon eh?
Here’s who we know a coffee really has memorable qualities; my wife is not a massive coffee fan, she likes it but not like I do. I opened this bag of coffee and said “here, smell” to which she replied “oooh, lemons… not at first but lemons… definitely lemons.”
We love it when a coffee is what it says it is.
As an espresso this was bright and lively with big acidity and brewed in the Chemex it was full of those lemons to begin with and, then mellowed out as it cooled. The earl grey flavour was really pleasant as the coffee cooled down, it was like another drink entirely.
In conclusion… this Ethiopia Yirgacheffe from Bewleys was another fine fine coffee in their Coffee Project.
Two coffee roasters on the island of Ireland, Bailies in the North and Bewleys in the south, two coffees from opposite sides of the world, similar but yet different.
Let’s fight it out to the death!
Ok, it’s not a contest! Sorry to disappoint! We love both these roasters and over the past year we’ve tasted some excellent coffees from both but, this week as we gathered some notes on the latest two coffees from their subscriptions we decided to highlight how two coffees can have some similarities but yet be so so different.
The Bewleys Coffee
Coffee: Noblecito Mamani
Origin: Finca El Noblecito Mamani, Carvani, Bolivia
Varietal: Caturra & Typica
Process: Washed process & dried on African Beds
Roaster: Bewleys Coffee, Dublin.
The Bolivian Noblecito Mamani immediately yelled cadburys whole nut at us before mellowing out on our tongue with melon and red fruitiness. We loved the sweetness and nice balance of flavours. Some coffees can be a little too sweet for our liking so when we say we like the balance that just means it was sweet enough but not too sweet… makes sense right? The milk chocolate nuttiness was a real treat here and we think this coffee was a good all-rounder, one that most people would enjoy.
The Ethiopian Henna was fruity from the first taste and had us thinking about cranberries though less tart. There was also chocolate and nuts here but a hint of spice in the flavour threw us left-field a bit. We don’t mind that spice that sometimes pops up in coffee but it’s not to everyones tastes. Bailies used the word complex and after some thought and a look at at thesaurus [actually] we agree, complex is a good way to describe this coffee. Complex… we love the fruitiness that you just come to expect with Ethiopian coffees but again, not every coffee drinker we know loves fruity Ethiopian delights.
So, what was the real point of this combined ‘just tasted’ post again?
Oh yea… taste is taste, we know that. Some of us like fruity flavours and, maybe some prefer a chocolate nutty flavour but I think, often we miss the nuances in flavours that are on offer throughout the year because we stick with descriptors we like the sound of. It can also be hard to keep describing coffees with originality when nuts, chocolate, acidity and similar one word terms always seem to be appearing.
Yet, with a few similar descriptors popping up this time… chocolate, nuts, fruit… when we had them side-by-side and tasted them, things were so so different.
As espresso, filter and cupped… all the differences got us excited but also reminded us to tell you this: taste more coffee! more! MORE! And also, taste different coffees side-by-side like we’ve done here. If you subscribe to a coffee from a particular roaster then perhaps consider another subscription, or try to occasionally pick up coffees from other roasters. Then taste them, think about what you experience, the smells and the flavours.
Both these coffees were great, in different ways but with similar qualities… there, clear as mud!
Ironically the next Bewleys coffee in their Coffee Project subscription is Ethiopian – check it out here – a superb coffee will arrive with you once per month, you won’t regret signing up!
We aren’t sure what’s up next from Bailies but you can still buy the Ethiopian Henna on their website here and, also you can buy the same coffee processed differently here which is another interesting way to experience subtle differences in coffee flavours.
Ps: we promise not to do a Bewleys vs Bailies post again… [maybe]
Coffee: Finca Gamboa
Origin: Montanas Del Diamante, Costa Rica
Process: Washed. Fermented in tanks for 8 hours & then sundried.
Roaster: Bailies Coffee, Belfast.
The Roaster says
A stunning sweet and fruity washed micro-lot coffee from costa rica. Full bodied, with caramelly nutty flavours and a milk chocolate aftertaste
The Gutiérrez Family have for years dedicated their efforts to cultivating, creating and producing coffee of superb quality in the beautiful valley of Santa Maria de Dota, Tarrazu. The farmer takes special care of all the parameters in each stage of growing; this enables them to achieve a very high quality coffee. Half of coffee received and processed is shade grown with plantain trees, mixed with fruit trees like avocado, sweet lemon, orange, bananas, tomato and peach, from which permanent and temporary workers benefit.
How Was it
This coffee was our first proper dive into seeing what the Kalita Wave Dripper could do so we were back and forth a little with under & over-extracted coffee for a bit. I can’t remember how many attempts it took to feel like we nailed the extraction but it was good few and… we still had some sinus issues obscuring things! I promise we won’t mention that again!
It was sweet and fruity… we thought dark fruits, red berries and then cooling into some nuttiness.
We haven’t too much else to say this time around, sorry! Eeeek!
On the week that we tasted this coffee we were super excited to be tasting anything because of that… oops, we said we wouldn’t mention it! Normal service has been resumed now though.