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Monday, August 11, 2014

CHOOSING WHICH SINGLE ORIGIN TO TEST FOR THIS EDITION OF THE NEWSLETTER WAS PRETTY SIMPLE REALLY. WE WERE DISCUSSING WHAT IS COMING OFF JEN’S ‘COFFEE BOAT’ AND THE ETHIOPIAN SIDAMA CAME UP AS A RECENTLY HARVESTED CROP. SO IT WAS A BIT OF A NO BRAINER, AS IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PERSONAL FAVOURITE. THE SIDAMA HAS RECENTLY LANDED ON OUR SHORE, AND IS SURE TO BECOME A FAVOURITE WITH MANY OTHER PEOPLE AS WELL.

So as I did with the Villa Boa, I tasted this coffee though a range of different styles in an effort to give the best experience for differing tastes.
For the first trial, I went over to the Australian Barista Academy Brew bar. Unfortunately I’m not unbiased here. I?m fully aware of the quality of this region as a filter option and I was dripping with anticipation. I tried the Sidama through the CCD, Syphon and Chemex. They were all amazing. This is a great coffee for Syphon fans though, with the light tea-like quality of the filtrate (I used 19g to 300ml) accentuating the floral and citrus character that defines this Sidama. With this coffee, the character you are tasting in the cup had little to do with the process (vs a natural) and more to do with the inherent flavor of the bean.
After some great filter, I opened the darker espresso roast and ran it through the Synesso. The shots were as expected; the colour was a light caramel, which is pale when compared to some of the naturally processed coffees from the same region. It also poured a little on the shorter side, around the 20-25ml mark for a full length espresso.
I tried the long, single espresso first. I found that running the shot on the slightly faster side (no drips, just a slight restriction in the pour halfway to the cup) brought forward the character of the coffee, showing off the notes of apricot and orange with an aroma of jasmine. The espresso isn’t for the lover of a weighty body, and with that in mind I experimented with the pressure profile. I ran the espresso with a fast ramp up to maintain the body that is present with a long pressure drop towards the finish, which turned the espresso so aromatic you could nearly use it as perfume. (Stage 1: 3bar for 1sec, Stage 2: 7bar for 3 Sec, Kick Back: 7bar at 80% volume) The body and mouthfeel in the ristretto was a highlight — the texture was amazingly silky and clean and the apricot note turned into fruit syrup.
As a flat white, cup size is crucial. I tried the base shot in various different styles and lengths with an assortment of cups. To get the quality of this coffee cutting through the milk using a cup bigger than 160ml is a bit of a waste as the quality will get lost in the milk. In the end, I achieved the best results pulling a medium length double shot in a 150ml cup which brought forward the aromatics and showed off the superb quality of this coffee.
After reflecting on a big afternoon of tasting and reviewing my notes, I realised that the Sidama is so complex that it really has something for everyone. My personal favourite was the long espresso, although I know that there are people out there who will never get past their filter equipment.
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