Monday, February 15, 2010

Lo Mejor de Monserrate

I usually do not start off a post with a picture, but a simple coffee review is in order. A month ago or so, I bought "The Best of Monserrate" from Kaldi's based on some hype I had heard from a barista friend of mine. After all, it is called the "best", so how far off could it be? The stats on this particular Colombian coffee are quite impressive. It is farmed at just over 6000 feet in elevation and is of the Caturra variety. These two facts alone indicate that the coffee produced will be exemplary. Here's why: When coffee is produced at higher altitudes, the fruit "cherry" production decreases due to lower amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and typically less nutrient-rich growing conditions. The trees naturally produce less volume to increase the chances of each cherry and its seeds' ability to propagate. In other words, you get less coffee, but it's higher quality. In addition to the very high altitude, the Caturra variety is known to increase its quality as the elevation it is grown in increases. This plant and situation requires high amounts of labor and attention to successfully grow. The result, if done correctly, is a light bodied and pleasantly citric coffee.
 Kaldi's did a great job on the Colombian Monserrate. The qualities expected from this growing region, elevation, and variety were perfectly displayed in my cup. My favorite brewing method with this particular coffee was actually the AeroPress. This is atypical for me, but fitting here because it intensified the citric notes and allowed me to truly appreciate the immense quality of the beans. Another favorable method of preparation was the almighty Chemex . French Press did not perform as well as I had hoped, but did improve after employing the "skimming" method suggested by Tim Wendelboe found in James Hoffmann's Videocast. I doubt there is much left, if any, but in the event there is, PICK IT UP! Delicious and affordable is rare.

Lord, thank you for great tastes. Keep my head deflated and on straight. Here we go.

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