Wednesday, November 12
I decided to take on a traditional cupping, with four dishes for the coffee, all freshly ground, a cupping spoon (okay...a deep dessert spoon), and all the other cupping bells and whistles that could be easily found in a coffee lover's kitchen.
I've described the outward appearance of the bags. So next, the coffee itself. On opening the bags the first thing I was hit by was the smell of each. Unfortunately I didn't have any paper to hand, so I can't tell you the details, but one coffee has really stayed with me since that day. The La Ilusion smelt amazing. A really sweet, fruity smell with hints of deep chocolate. It was one of those rare coffee moments when even the most experienced barista suddenly gets the feeling they had when they truly enjoyed their first coffee. Not, of course, to say the other coffees didn't smell fantastic, but the CofE just took the biscuit.
To make this feel less like a narrative I'm going to describe each coffee in full, rather than step by step.
Firstly, the El Salvador La Fany. This coffee is from the Santa Ana region and 100% bourbon. The grinds have the smell of dark chocolate and caramel. After letting it brew for four minutes I broke the crust. The aroma was deep and chocolaty, with a slight floral note. On the tongue it has a lovely sweet, creamy taste with a dark chocolate and caramel finish which lasts. It has a fantastic body, not heavy, but not overly light. A very robust, tasty coffee.
Now, the Kenya Gethumbwini. The grinds smell oaky, with a floral note. After breaking the crust the chocolate comes more to the fore, and the floral note develops into a deeper, fruitier aroma. On the tongue it has creamy feel, with the taste of blackcurrents and oak at the opening, with a floral and chocolate finish. I found it an acidic coffee, while not being overly sweet, but well balanced. This coffee is the type of after dinner or late evening french press I'm fond of.
The Brazil Cachoeira Canario 2007-2008 smelt like a deep, dark chocolate. The beans come from the Canario varietal, dried on screen from Minas Gerias. After brewing it smelt much the same I found. On tasting it was a sweet chocolate with a good body, not too heavy. In the finish I also caught a little bit of caramel with a smooth chocolate aftertaste. This is one single source I'd be very interested in trying as an espresso, despite not being a specific espresso coffee.
Finally, the Cup Of Excellence. This is from El Salvador, in the Santa Ana region and is 100% bourbon. The smell was chocolate with a definite fruit kick. After brewing I found that the fruity aroma had disappeared and was replaced by a deep chocolate aroma with a hint of cherry. On tasting, however, this coffee really comes into it's own. It opens with a real fruit hit, a mixture of acidic fruits such as gooseberries. Steve himself puts this best when he describes it as "Fruit Salad sweets". It has a fantastic body which I found similar to that of a strong tea, and had a long lasting, sweet finish and aftertaste. Frankly, i think anyone who has the chance to should leap at this coffee. It's really that damn good.
So, all in all a very fun evening cupping for me, and I hope you found it useful. These coffees and many more besides are all available at http://www.hasbean.co.uk/, and I really recommend you take a look. This is my first real attempt at my own cupping, and am looking to improve all of the basic equipment, so hopefully there should be a few more of these in future.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and again, sorry for getting this up so late.
Monday, November 10
I would also like to take this chance to wish the guys at X Coy 5RRF the best of luck during their deployment to Afghanistan in February.
And, on a coffee-related note, the HasBean review/cupping has been written up, edited, checked over a couple of times and will be uploaded tomorrow night. It's one I really wanted to get right, so sorry for the delay.
Till then, check out the latest Common Grind Podcast complete with special guest host, Steve Leighton, a HasBean cupping, and much more besides. It's a great listen, so go for it!
Till tomorrow then!
Wednesday, November 5
Well, I can't say what I think. I love Obama. He's charismatic and interesting. I love listening to him. But he wants to pull out of Iraq. That is a big problem for me. I used to be in the Territorial Army. As such I have a lot of friends who are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This means that their safety is utmost in my considerations when deciding the next president. However, the economic meltdown is another consideration, as is the fact that Sarah Palin could become the president if McCain dies. Shit. Who would I vote for?
As an American; Obama. It's a no brainer. I love the guy. As a brit with a military background and friends in warzones, I'd abstain. I can't bring myself to put my support in Obama, but I can't bring myself to imagine Sarah Palin in office.
So what do you think? Who should be/should have been president? And why must Jeremy Vine ALWAYS be on those stupid sodding maps? He's a fear mongering retard and he should just retire and die. He makes my work life hell, having to listen to him between 12 and 2.
Anyway, cheers, and I'll get that cupping written up tomorrow night.
Monday, November 3
Secondly, I'd like to thank everyone who has kept checking back to sew if anything has been posted. I've been really busy lately with work, this latte art evening I'm trying to organise, and the novel I've been trying to write for three years now. Yeah, it's true, I'm a crap novelist as well. Hopefully Third Wave should be getting back to normal soon, and I ask that you'll bear with me for now.
Some good news! Third Wave makes a difference! I recently received an e-mail (that was for Dane, but was sent to the ThirdWave hotmail account) from Jon Hassall, from Operations and Development for AMT Coffee. It read as follows:
I am very sorry to have read you had a bad coffee at our newly opened unit in Manchester.
I am personally going to visit the location next week and review all the equipment and training as we pride ourselves on great coffee.
Separately we are opening a second unit in Manchester, this time in the Arndale next Friday, I trust you will take a visit next time you are up there and we are heading to Newcastle very soon as well.
Operations and Development"
This, frankly, gave me a huge ego boost, that people actually took notice of what two coffee lovers think. It also made me very proud to think that the quality of training and hopefully the quality of the coffee will be improved due to our review of their establishment. In this respect I wish them the best of luck, as they obviously care about their coffee enough to want to impress two young upstarts such as Dane and myself. The news of a Newcastle also excites me; I always love a new coffee bar to try. So, thank you Jon, and please do keep in touch.
Anyway, onto the main event. I decided in late September that it was time I locked horns with the powerhouse of British Roasting, Steve Leighton. A year in the business and I had never tried a HasBean coffee. So, I e-mailed the man himself and asked for his recommendations. To my utter shock he asked for a delivery address and promptly sent out four of the very best coffees I have ever had in my house. Brazil Cachoeira Canario 2007-2008, El Salvador La Fany Bourbon, Kenya Gethumbwini, and El Salvador La Ilusion COE number 1. I received the box, opened it, and my jaw dropped. So let me begin this by saying a f*****g HUGE thank you to Steve.
All the bags were foil bags with a single-way valve. Nothing out the ordinary there. Each was presented in pure white, with a deep maroon/red stripe and the HasBean logo, along with a sticker which declared the name of the coffee, any special notes about the coffee, what the coffee tastes like, and the roasting date. This last detail is what impressed m most. Even Union doesn't put a roast date on their 250g bags. What really impressed me however was the actual roast date itself. I was delivered these coffees on the ninth of October, literally the day after they were roasted! So, I left them for two weeks to let them mature, then got on with the cupping...
And that is where I'm going to leave you for now! Firstly because it's 1am, I'm tired and have work tomorrow, secondly because I feel that this post is getting long, and that the cupping should take pride of place. So I will write that up in full tomorrow.
Anyway, cheers, and hope you can survive till the next post!
Welcome to Third Wave UK!
- Seamus McFlurry
- Hey y'all. Welcome to the Third Wave UK speciality coffee blog. Whether you're a coffee profesional, home barista, or just interested in speciality coffee or the speciality coffee scene in the UK, this blog will hopefully have something for you. Cheers, Seamus McFlurry