My first “real” batch of beans
Product: Peet’s Ethiopian Fancy
Short back-story: my first bag of whole beans is actually 20 oz Starbucks espresso roast. As a newbie to the coffee world, I, of course, put my trust in the “authentic” coffee store, Starbucks. There is no roast date on the bag; there is no description of the origins of the beans; the beans look coal-colored and over-burnt; there is also a weird smell that is very unpleasant. It does taste very “Starbucks-like,” that is, extremely smokey and dark. After some research, I got interested in their competitor, another chain coffee shop, Peet’s. (And as a proud Cal student, I have to try out this coffee store that is originated in Berkeley.)
The Ethiopian Fancy does have a roast date on the bag. It also has an almost yogurt-like aroma. New to this hobby, I am very excited to try out coffee from its birthplace, Ethiopia, with the supposedly “superior” wet-processing. On Peet’s website, the Ethiopian Fancy is described to have the flavor of “fruity, floral.” And it does deliver that.
“Espresso” with Nanopresso
Nanopresso is one of the first coffee-making tools I bought. It may not make the “true” espresso in coffee-drinkers’ eyes (mouths?), but it is extremely convenient to use, and the espresso it makes is pretty good to me.
The espresso shots I made with Ethiopian Fancy beans are enjoyable. It is not too bitter, bit sour, but smooth in the mouth. I can finish them with ease, unlike some other espresso shots that I have difficulty finishing. It also makes great espresso drinks. Iced Americano is probably the most common one I made, usually with double shots, and it does its job as an afternoon drink. Iced Latte is surprisingly good. The berry note comes through the milk, gives it an interesting taste.
First, I tried the inverted method, with 1:30 brew time and medium/medium-fine grind. It gives morning a whole new meaning. The process of making the coffee itself is enjoyable, and the product is rewarding. Aside from the normal dark roast bitterness, it contains a pleasant citrus flavor note. However, although it is smooth, it does taste kind of bland and lacks a strong aroma.
I tried to increase the brew time to 2 minutes. The result is a bit disappointing. It does not necessarily taste richer, but rather bitter. I suppose it is what dark roast does to the flavor. Peet’s focused mainly on the dark roast to satisfy regular consumers with the “typical” coffee flavor. However, it does sadly weaken the distinct taste of the Ethiopian origin beans.
Cold brew With Hario Cold Brew Bottle
Try to experiment a bit, I made some cold brew using the Hario cold brew bottle. Although cold brew usually takes a coarse grind, the instruction suggests to use a medium-fine grind – and I followed the instruction. After 8 hours in the refrigerator, it produced about two to three cups of coffee.
The result is kind of surprising. It does not taste bitter at all, but rather has a strong tea-like flavor, (maybe Oolong?) and an interesting wine aftertaste. It does taste a bit weak, so I increased the brew time to 12 hours in my second attempt. Disappointingly, the only “flavor” that increased is bitterness. I adjusted the brew time to 10 hours with a bit finer grind, and it tastes the best out of all three.
It is a very enjoyable batch of coffee beans, after all. More importantly, it attracts me further into this hobby of coffee. At first, I am just tired of spending a lot on buying coffee drinks from Starbucks; but now, I am fascinated by the whole experience, and interested in trying out varieties of beans and brewing methods. I will definitely purchase Peet’s beans again in the future (due to its distance advantage), but after trying out some other roasters first. I will give it a B, a grade I hope to receive on my midterms.