Latest Posts

  1. A Look at  Flores Manu Lalu as Espresso

    A Look at Flores Manu Lalu as Espresso

    Wet process Flores makes fantastic single origin espresso. Have a look at our cupping notes.

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  2. Behmor Espresso Roast Profile: Peru FTO Don Rigoberto

    Behmor Espresso Roast Profile: Peru FTO Don Rigoberto

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  3. Sumatra: Arabica Varieties in Aceh

    Sumatra: Arabica Varieties in Aceh

    This is a list of coffee varieties / cultivars found in Aceh and more broadly in Sumatra, Indonesia

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  4. Sumatra: Stories About Aceh, With Pictures

    Sumatra: Stories About Aceh, With Pictures

    A Sumatra travelogue in photographs, focused on Aceh area around Lake Tawar and Takengon town

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  5. Sumatra: Some Things I Have Learned About Aceh, Perhaps.

    Sumatra: Some Things I Have Learned About Aceh, Perhaps.

    Thoughts on Acehnese coffee and the trading system here, written from Banda Aceh, October 2019.

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  6. Organic Certification and Green Coffee

    Organic Certification and Green Coffee

    An inside look at Fair Trade and Organic Certifications

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  7. Not Another Fruit Cake! (and what to do about holiday blending?)

    Not Another Fruit Cake! (and what to do about holiday blending?)

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  8. Sumatran Coffee: Grading and Appearance

    Sumatran Coffee: Grading and Appearance

    The appearance of green coffee from Indonesia can be jarring, especially if you’re used to washed beans from Africa or Central America. Why, many ask, does a Grade 1 Sumatra lack uniformity of color and/or bean size?

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  9. The Return of Ethiopiques

    The Return of Ethiopiques

    Along with the slew of incoming fresh Ethiopian coffee comes the return of our always popular Ethiopiques blend.

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  10. Behmor Roast Profile: Burundi Kayanza Gahahe

    Behmor Roast Profile: Burundi Kayanza Gahahe

    Taking the "light and bright" approach to roasting Burundi Gahahe on the Behmor 1600+

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  11. Quick Guide to our Rwanda and Burundi Coffee Sale!

    Quick Guide to our Rwanda and Burundi Coffee Sale!

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  12. Roasting Different Batch Sizes of Burundi on the Behmor 1600+

    Roasting Different Batch Sizes of Burundi on the Behmor 1600+

    What happens when you roast a coffee to the same roast level but at different rates of development?

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Make Friends with Blends

Make Friends with Blends

(08/10/12)
In light of the release of Shrub Espresso #1, I wanted to talk a bit about blends. It's been heartening to see more and more people sharing the components of their espresso blends either on the grinders or on some sort of signage, it speaks to the idea that you can still be transparent with your coffees and still promote them individually even in the context of a blend. There is definitely a skill/talent to putting together a blend for one purpose or another, and in our fascination with "single origin" and what not, we've moved further and further away from blending in general with this idea that we want to get people excited about what an individual coffee has to offer. I would argue though that you might even be able to do this more effectively through blending, as well as teach people more about tasting and isolating certain attributes that are given to the cup by one of the blend components.

This doesn't even address that fact that many "single origin" coffees are blends themselves. This was something that we were recently discussing during one of the cuppings on the RG Brazil trip. Looking at certain separated lots and seeing that one might have a really nice acidity while another had more complex sweetness. Both nice coffees on their own, but together they made a more complete coffee. And this is done a lot of the time in different contexts from different areas. We've done this with offerings from Colombia and elsewhere.

This is another case where single mindedness can get in the way of really interesting and enjoyable coffees. Yes, there are some amazing lots of coffee available, and there is a lot of worki in looking for those and offering these coffees. But a lot of work is also put into building interesting coffees by taking some nice individual lots and putting them together to make something that really sings. There is a negative connotation to this a lot of times, with the idea that you're trying to sneak a bunch of lower quality coffees into a lot of something with a name or reputation, that you're diluting a nicer coffee with a bunch of something lesser, just to stretch it out and sell it under the reputable name. And this certainly happens, but lesser coffee is lesser coffee, it shows. Just as it shows when great care and effort is put into blending.

I would love to see more and more roasters get back to blending, and doing it in interesting ways where they're talking about the components and why they chose to use them in that context. I really do feel like it's a really proactive way to get people thinking about what they taste in a coffee. You're not saying that there's 9 different fruit flavors in a coffee, you're saying that there are these flavors in the cup lent by this or that particular coffee, and that should make it easier for more people to taste difference more successfully, which makes them excited and more willing to try new things. Blends can also be much more approachable to someone because you're delivering a cup profile that is something perhaps more identifiable. I'm not saying that everyone should just blend and not offer individual coffees, just reminding us that we can be more than one thing and do it in more than one way.

I'm going to be at the Roasters Guild Retreat this weekend, Aug 15th-20th. If you're coming, please make a point to say hi, excited to see everyone.