In February the harvest is well underway in Central America. New coffees from CA are still a couple months away and it is increasingly harder to find coffees from last year's crops that don't show age. It is the time of year to take a close look at your CA coffees from last year, if you still have some. We've been looking at coffees both on the offerings list as well as coffees that we haven't yet offered in order to check for faded cups and age characteristics.
The plus side of this is not just the clearing out of faded coffees, but some coffees that were still showing remarkably sweet and lively like the Tempisque and Carmona Pulcal, as well as an offering from Panama that will launch this week. These CA coffees that are still lively at this time of year are fantastic in Espresso as a blend component or as an single origin. These coffees perform really well at Full City and Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide. ">Full City+, which I know is not the most popular at the moment, but the right coffee at this roast level is a real treat. The right coffee at this roast level will show bittersweet cocoa and candy sweetness in the long finish with spice and almond notes.
I recently did some roast experiments for an article published in the Sweet Maria's Library looking specifically at roast development between first and second crack. The roasts for the experiment were all taken to the back edge of Full City, and show a very interesting picture of the development of sweetness, body, and acidity in the cup. I would really love to hear your thoughts on these experiments and to hear some results if anyone else has done a similar experiment. One thing that I think this really shows is both where under-development and over-development occur, but also that there is a range for positive roast attributes depending on what you're looking for in the coffee. I truly believe that there is no perfect roast for any particular coffee, as much as I believe that you should never judge a coffee simply on one roast of it.
Here is the link: http://www.sweetmarias.com/library/node/2934