The other day I went to one of my favorite coffees shop in the San Jose area, Bellano Coffee. Bellano serves Verve and Sightglass Coffee, both of which are top roasters in California. I have been working primarily Ethiopia and Guatemala coffees and when I looked at the pour-over list I saw that Bellano had a Guatemalan coffee from Finca La Esperanza roasted by Verve and an Ethiopian from Reko in Kochere from Sightglass. As I am around my coffees so much I can get isolated with the flavors of my roasts and brews and I forget what other coffees are like. It is analogous to my dad, who is a winemaker and forgets the styles other wines and wineries have by staying all cooped up on his mountaintop and solely drinking his own wine. Anyways, to try both origins I have been working with from two different roasters was very enticing, so I bought both and now am writing a little roaster review.

I tried the Ethiopian first and it was extremely light, almost tea-like, and the flavors had not yet blossomed. However as it slightly cooled the coffee developed a delicate candy sweetness, like a lime Starburst, with absolutely no bittering notes. As it continued to cool the citrus-lime note became much more prominent and married well with the floral tea background of the light bodied coffee. It was dramatic contrast to the thick molasses and deep mango notes I get from my Ethiopia Kaffa Michiti Coop. It is hard to say which is better, for they are starkly different and the mood of the person may dictate the favorite. Given my mood at the time I preferred Sightglass’s roast, mainly because it was so different from what I had been experiencing and also it was unique in itself. However others may like the richer and sweeter Yirgacheffe from Paradigm for it is bolder and more complex. It is the nature of preferences; you will never win them all!

Given my mood at the time I preferred Sightglass’s roast, mainly because it was so different from what I had been experiencing and also it was unique in itself

In contrast, Verve’s Guatemala was nearly identical to our Guatemala from Huehuetenango, with a bittersweet quality that seems to be archetypal of these late season Guatemalans. Combining slightly bitter milk chocolate and caramel, the coffees have a very balanced structure with good body and gentle acidity. More approachable for the common public, I would recommend these Guatemalan coffees to anyone interested in delicately balanced but interesting coffee.

It was nice to see what other roasters were doing with similar coffees to what I am working with.

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by Reid Patterson

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