One of the great things about coffee is the sheer variety of beans on the market. As coffee roasters, we work with importers and farmers to source green coffee beans. They send us samples to test and then we buy, in quantities ranging from hundreds of pounds to thousands of pounds, based on price, demand and how much we enjoy them. In a few rare instances, we've bought coffees without even sampling them based on certain characteristics or market demand.
We roast a lot of great coffees (and some not so great coffees), but only a select few ever make it to our pour over bar or retail bags. It allows us to keep our menu fresh by rotating our offerings seasonally, based on what the market is providing. A coffee's lifespan can be anything from a couple of weeks to a few months, based on how much we were able to purchase. When the supply runs out, that coffee is gone and the process starts all over again.
It's one of the most exciting things about being coffee roasters and it gives us an opportunity to grow, learn and try new things with coffee almost daily. Which is why we're particularly excited about our current coffee offerings.
Our current slow bar menu is one of the funkiest we've had in a while. We're featuring coffees from Bali, Burundi and El Salvador, each with unique roast profiles and palettes.
The most widely accepted scale of coffee roasting, from lightest to darkest, looks like this:
Coffee beans are grown and harvested seasonally. A coffee plant takes about 3 years to mature before it produces anything worth picking, processing and selling. The fruit on a coffee doesn't all mature at the same rate either. Particularly in specialty coffee, coffee cherries are hand-picked multiple times during the season when the fruit hits maximum ripeness. These factors and elements like climate, exposure to sunlight and processing method can change the way a coffee tastes from season to season. And that's all before it's even seen a roaster!
So while we've featured this particular bean, from this particular region in Bali before, it's a very different coffee with the same DNA as coffees we've served in the past. It usually has notes of strawberry, a common characteristic of coffees from Indonesia, and one year in particular it smelled and tasted like a strawberry patch. This year, the strawberry notes are a bit subdued, but they're buoyed by creamy peanut butter and tart grape flavors.
Lastly, we're featuring a complex bean from El Salvador. It's also the darkest roast on our Slow Bar Menu at "Full City". It's a natural process coffee, too. The natural process means that once the coffee cherries are picked, they enter the drying phase. Rather than picking the sweet, tart fruit off of the coffee bean, or pit, the whole coffee cherry is dried in the sun. This process is more environmentally friendly because it doesn't require the washing and soaking phase of many coffee processes. It also results in much sweeter, juicier tasting coffees because of the sustained contact between the fruit and bean.
When a natural process bean remains in that state longer than usual, it sometimes leads to a somewhat fermented profile. In this particular instance, the El Salvador has notes of sweet malt, rose hips and strawberry. A longer than usual drying phase likely contributed to that malty flavor.
All three beans are currently available on our Slow Bar Menu, while they last. Don't sleep on these funky coffees. If you want to see a coffee from a certain region make our menu, tweet us at @publicespresso!