dashed-off descriptors, only semi-appropriate for coffee

October 25, 2005 – 10:20 pm

the night’s sloppy, lopsided, last-of-the-brazil 15-leafer.

the prickly weather did what i’d been too harried to bother with: optimized the last of the brazil cerrado (scroll down) to produce something pretty doggone near a god shot (and no, i don’t use the term lightly). the grind had been a little off for days and, being a home-brewing miser, i’d given myself a pitiful budget of three pulls per drink. not enough to dial in? too bad … the en route beverage of the morning is either crustacean swill or overextracted, milk-masked cerrado — lot 144. your choice. then the weather made its latest hint that something is not right with those greenhouse gases up there, and we were scrambling to dial the natural gas man. (yes, i’m paying through the proboscis despite the most volatile prices on modern record. and no, i hadn’t yet hooked up the gas since moving in 2.1 months ago.)

but the weather, it provided the perfect dose of cool dryness for a grind setting that perpetually seemed a bit coarse. result: mellifluous 30-second pours with stripes the girth of baguette loaves and a spicy brightness that was to the recently retired yirgacheffe what bourbon is to crystal light. marvelous, i tell you, and instantly duplicable. top ‘er off with some steamed whole milk, and overt nuttiness shone through with a honey-toasted walnut fusion of pungent and syrupy. and now the cerrado, too, is gone. my final take in the roasting journal:

Brazil Cerrado (Lot 144) Edson Nobuyasu
5 lbs.
Summer to Oct. ’05
SM score: 85.1

*Hard to discern 2nd crack, usually roast to 1st sign of light oil and 1st loud crack (typically simultaneous with the hot-air method at about 6.5 mins). Very even bean finish. Nice body, extremely sweet shots when pulled ristretto. Deeper, earthier wine character/brightness than the East Africans, for example. At times very spicy, then more balanced later in the cup. Extremely nutty/sugary with milk.

Originally a hard-to-decipher bean, it became very intruiging with the right roast and brew temp — usually toward the hotter end, 202 or so. Great speckling/striping, although true espresso doubles harder to come by because of finicky behavior when not distributed perfectly in the portafilter.

too bad the sweet maria’s supply is gone. i’m not a fan of the south american imports, but this was worth the gamble.