We’re in Kansas City at the “big central” regional barista competition. I don’t really have much to do with these things, other than helping to find the coffee, which I suppose is a big part of it… Anyway, I just wanted to share with the internet world (and beyond) the coffees that our competitors used (or are using in the finals...josh!) I won’t say too much because this is really the competitors moment to talk about these things, but briefly:
Nodier Andrade, Finca El Mandarino – Huila, Colombia
Jon, Josh and Blair (from Victory 44) all used this coffee for espresso in the barista competition. I love this coffee, it’s one of my favorites from earlier last year, and this little day lot from the current crop is super delicious. Nodier’s farm, El Mandarino, is in the Huila region of Colombia near the town of La Plata. This coffee is a fully washed Caturra, grown at about 1900 meters. Yay! I’ve preferred this coffee as a brewed cup, but it’s been really interesting to taste the various profiles for espresso as well. With a coffee this dense and complex, there’s a lot to give and therefore a lot of options on the roasting side. We’ll have this lot available soon after we get back from the trip. I’ll be visiting Nodier Andrade in Colombia in March, and we hope to keep working with him and keep getting really great lots over the next year.
NEON Espresso Competition Blend
Jordan used a blend that’s a twist on our Neon espresso blend. I’m pretty excited about this. Basically what we did was create a version of our regular espresso blend (which is already quite tasty!) using some really special lots either from the same producers or regions. Luis Alberto Monge, who owns Beneficio La Lia in Tarrazú, Costa Rica, is an important partner for Dogwood in terms of espresso. The component in the regular blend is a Caturra, from a farm of his called Trinidad. For the competition blend, we’ve switched out this component with a Bourbon lot from Finca Dragón, another one of Luis’ farms. This farm has done well in the Cup of Excellence competition in the past, placing 2nd this year. The Bourbon is very limited on this farm, there’s only about 10 bags each year, and it’s delicious! The El Salvador Finca Plan de la Batea is another staple component in the blend. This is an Orange Bourbon, and for the competition blend we’ve switched out the traditional washed for the double fermented, Kenya-style washed version of this coffee. I feel that the processing enhances the floral and tangerine qualities of this coffee. The last component is a Yellow Bourbon Brazil, from Santa Ines in the Carmo de Minas micro region. This coffee is fresh, we just got it in, and we’ve always had great shots with coffee from this farm – super creamy and clean and balanced—all the things a Brazil does well in espresso. There’s a reason people put Brazils in an espresso blend and I think it’s a good one, for the most part. I’m excited to add this component to the regular blend soon as well! Also, I just wanted to point out that this blend is all Bourbon—Red, Orange and Yellow! It’s a Bourbon rainbow! I love rainbows.
Hacienda La Esmeralda Geisha Special, Caballeriza – Boquete, Panama
Jon is using this coffee in the Brewer’s Cup. In December, Jon and I visited Esmeralda in Boquete, Panama and cupped this coffee with Rachel Peterson in her lab at the La Esmeralda mill. Jon totally loved it. This is a coffee from the Esmeralda Special auction, which has passed, but there were a few pounds of it left in Panama during our visit. The auction is highly celebrated, all geisha varietals and fetches pretty high prices for each 300 pound lot. I know that some people think that using a geisha might just be too easy, but there really is good geisha and bad geisha… and this is one of the great ones. It’s exciting to be able to roast and cup this small amount of coffee, I think that in the end the roasts we picked and Jon’s brewing method really made this coffee shine.
Also, I just wanted to mention that Eddie developed the profiles and roasted the Colombia and the competition Neon espresso. What an awesome guy and what delicious coffee.
Everyone did a great job. Jon made it into the finals of the Brewers Cup, which he competed in today, and Josh has made it into the finals for the barista competition, which is happening tomorrow! He’ll go on at 10-something, and is using the Colombia Nodier Andrade again. TASTY.
Watch at unitedstatesbaristachampionship.org