BIRTHDAY RELATED ANNOUNCEMENT: In honor of the most important holiday in the calendar, my birthday, I grant a 10% off coupon that will be good through 11:59pm PST November 3rd. Coupon Code: “PHILMAS”.
ROCK RELATED ANNOUNCEMENT: Herr Direktor Funranium had the pleasure of seeing Rock Sugar perform at the Harrah’s South Shore Room. Not only did I win the impersonate Axl Rose contest (15 years of annoying friends and family in the car singing along to GNR paid off) , but I had the pleasure doing a demonstration of proper headbanging technique with the lead singer. I am told my waist length red hair was as a corona of flame, though I sadly lack pictorial evidence at this time. If you need more convincing of Rock Sugar’s awesome, just start listening to their tunes on YouTube.
Following up on last week’s post about Caffe Vita’s Guatemala Mundo Nuvo, it is time to share the results of the other half of the experiment. To reiterate, I felt the best approach for comparison was to ask for a region I’d already tested extensively from a variety of farms, roasters, and roasts (Ethiopia) and for something that they were proud of, something that got them excited. Last week was their new Mundo Nuvo, this week is testing against the Ethiopia Standard, something that I advocate for use in the financial markets over gold.
Now, you might ask why I consider Ethiopia to be a baseline coffee region and the answer is quite simple: they cultivated it first. Whether you believe the tale of the goatherd and his bouncy, excitable goats is up to you but cultivation of coffee as crop definitely began here and spread to the world beyond. The lovely arabica beans we seek are the patrimony of the Horn of Africa.
The challenge is to catch everything that was observed in this coffee’s BBotE. Caffe Vita’s Nigusie Lemma is all over the map in flavors and the disturbing/pleasing part is that it has proven replicable. Served straight and cold, there was an interesting strawberry flavor on the front of the tongue, though general consensus was of a fruitiness retained from the cherry. On the nose it has a clean cucumber aroma. In direct contrast to the Mundo Nuvo which had a sharper nose, the Nigusie Lemma had the bite on the tongue.
That bite was a fascinating salty/sweet nutty flavor with the deep, rich earthy flavor I expect from Ethiopian coffees. It took a good 15min casting about to find something even close in flavor and that is soy sauce. I think I could happily pour this BBotE over rice. Pleasantly savory, which is a fine reflection of the fatty, oily extraction.
One of my favorite Test Subjects was driven into synethesia once again by BBotE and described the flavor as “Bassy, not sharp. It’s all lowrider *BOOM*, and not the tweeters, you know?” I think so, but it might be good to take a ride down International Blvd. while sipping this just to make sure.
When we moved onto the vodka test, I was somewhat less impressed at first. The vodka blended the flavors together which wasn’t necessarily all that great, just a good solid COFFEE flavor. But the length of the flavor on the palate…it was just a never-ending play on a ride cymbal, to extend the previous musical metaphor. Just for fun, I did the same absinthe mix that I did before and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get a strong cinnamon flavor out of the cocktail.
In summation, I am impressed with the wares of Caffe Vita. It was only after I began doing all this that I discovered that I am very well acquainted with the wares of their affiliate, Theo Chocolates. My sister was a grad student at the University of Washington and very, very happily worked on the coffee & chocolate exhibit at the Burke Museum. I am still in possession of some fantastic curry chocolate bars that I horde jealously.