WBC: afar-blogging

May 21, 2006 – 12:15 am

james hoffmann’s el salvador finca la fany bourbon used in his competition blends.

with james safely in the world barista championship finals, it falls to this blog to make wildly unwarranted performance extrapolations based on a single component of his competition blend.

stunning, really, how a crashing hoffmann had the time to share some greens with an amateur junkie an ocean away. (Wild CI Extrapolation: he manages time well!) the international parcel arrived shortly after the el salvador trip, and constitutes, as i recall, one of that country’s two contributions to a competition blend that consists entirely of central american coffees. (WCIE: he can take a risk!) the roaster, a u.k. stalwart if i’m not mistaken, even sent roasting notes so that this home-bound hack in the southeastern u.s. wasteland mightn’t overly abuse said gift. to say this blog was uber-stoked to be playing with such coffee would be an understatement. (WCIE: that hoffmann can enamor an audience!)

cooked ‘em to a stout full-city plus, one batch just after second crack, another about 15 seconds in. the beguiling result on the buds was a strong sour cherry up front, and an easily marked lingering hickory on the back end … which was fine and good — intriguing even — but not the sweetness our u.k. champeen had noted or the caramel his roaster had suggested. hoffmann’s response: “nitwit! be ye daft?”

actually, no. recommended a longer roast profile, he did, and a hearty updose (17 grams in the double basket) brewed at about 200F. (WCIE: he’s entrenched himself in roasting theory!) this blog, not being a fool, did as it was advised. today’s result, after a dozen or so good shots: ahhhh, intense light-toasty sweetness. a rather resilient light syrupy linger on the palate, and a never-ending subtle dance of secondary notes and flavors. (WCIE: if this be but a single component, that blend must be a nuanced whirlwind!)

ended with a double macc on the porch, reflecting on the soil conditions that must have contributed to this very not-african crisp sweetness, and the u.s. and u.k.’s first-time status as wbc finalists. also: how hoffmann’s height must affect his tamping method. (WCIE: he overcomes challenges! genetic challenges!)