Staff Picks March: Thompson Owen

My name came up for our Staff Picks selection this time around, and I had fun re-tasting these coffees, each quite different!

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To be honest, I approached my selections a bit randomly! Why? Because I have already selected the coffees we are selling so they are already all my favorites! But also, I like a broad range of coffees. I don’t want them all to taste the same. I just want them to have something unique about them, some character! (Sure, there are two Peru’s, but they present quite differently!).

It’s a bit funny that 2 of the 4 I chose are not “extreme” coffees though, but really approachable “crowd-pleasers.” But they also have unique characteristics as well.

One of the outliers here is the Ethiopia, one of the most uniquely intense wet-process selections from the “birthplace of arabica coffee” that we have had this year. Keramo is really high altitude coffee from the greater Bensa area, and it shows in the cup. It’s a huge contrast from the other 3 selections.

The other is the dry process Parainema variety from Honduras. It’s one of those coffees where I really feel the flavor of the coffee cultivar comes through in the cup, even with heavier dry process fruitiness. Lighter roasts showed lively tea notes that lent an aromatic, delicate aspect to the heavier rustic dried fruit flavors.

Here are my full notes on the coffees in this tasting, and the last column are our combined notes from when we launched these coffees on the site.

NameCodeDry Frag.AromaticsScoreMy taste notesOur SM general notes
Honduras Dry Process Sabillon Parainema7106The dry fragrance has an intense sweetness, natural dried fruits supported by honeyBittersweetness seems subdued at this level, and rustic dark fruit notes come on strong.87.5I feel like the variety (parainema) really speaks in this cup. Fruit flavors show slight rustic side tempered by honey sweetness, and interesting tea-like zest that hits on green tea and Sencha. The weight of this coffee, mouthfeel is impressive.Aromatic cup, notes of rustic dried fruits like slab apricot and blueberry, ginseng tea with honey, a fruited wine spritzer hint, maraschino cherry cordials, and earth-toned bittersweetness in the backend. City to Full City.
Peru Organic FTO Lonya Grande7133Really nice sweetness in my light roast, less intense fruit but very refined and clean.Wow, much more fruit than expected, and light brown sugar, more succinct sweetness all around.87This Peru seems very fresh and dynamic, while also being a really accessible crowd-pleaser flavor profile too. I get some dried fruit flavors, but also fruited acidity, (which is really nice!), and oatmeal cookie with raisin.Light roasts yield nicely integrated acidity, brown sugar cookie, cinnamon stick/bark, and darker roasts have bean-to-bar quality chocolate bittersweetness with an almond hint. City to Full City+. Good for espresso.
Peru FTO San Jose de Lourdes7134Chocolate-covered nut, sweetness augmented by slight savory, like a caramel popcorn ball.Blondie bar, intensely sweet, chocolate pistachio spread, and a mild spice note.87Weighty liquid, an apple-like acidity lends to mouthfeel. Bittersweet balance when hot, but opens up to flavor notes of brown sugar, Sharfenberger type dark chocolate bar, and baked apple.Really nice roast flavors, sugar-backed cocoa, robust chocolate bittersweets with roast development, hints of apple pie filling, bread pudding, raisin, and a note of dark, dried berry. City to Full City.
Ethiopia Sidama Keramo7081Sweet citrus and floral, with strawberry syrup sweetness.this combines citrus, honey and a bit of rue, that unique sweet-aromatic herb, called tenedam in ethiopia92Next to other “easy drinking” coffees, Keramo sure tastes exotic. But it’s the kind of outsider flavors I can drink all the time. Floral, citrus, berry, fresh green rue. It’s all in there. The honey sweetness brings it together. WowTruly a showstopper when roasted light, Keramo’s transparent sweetness helps to reinforce the more delicate top notes like jasmine pearls, citrus blossom, lilac, lemon meringue, bergamot orange, and milk green tea. City- to City+.

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2 Responses

  1. My HotTop burned out and, since we will be moving to a condo soon, replacing it is problematic at best. So I am now a dedicated Roasted Coffee Subscription addict.
    Therefore, I would love to see this level of notes (in Tom’s blog) for the coffees that are destined for us oldies but goodies on the Roasted lists.
    There is only one other product type that can rival (but not equal) Tom’s notes and choices – and that is wine. But in my old age I need to decrease wine intake and drink more coffee – lol.

    1. Oh no on the Hot Top! I’m sorry to hear it gave up the ghost. I hope it at least lived a long, fruitful life. Sounds like your ability to create smoke may be limited with the new neighbor situation….unless, perhaps you share?! Just a thought 😉

      Thanks for the suggestion on improving our roasted subscription information. We used to send out a half sheet of paper with some more extensive notes on roast, flavors, etc, but nixed it in the service of saving paper. Maybe it’s time to revive some of the old format online? Hmmmm…

      Tom and I were discussing this earlier today after reading your message and are hoping that we can manage to at least publish roast notes and photos of the roast level online for the bi-weekly selection. I can see how that would be useful to have as a reference for subscription members, and also give those interested in joining the program a preview of what they can expect.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for becoming a subscription member!

      Dan Wood

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