Monday, September 29, 2014

Mugged: Ethiopia, Kenya and Guatemala [Black Oak]

Subject: Black Oak Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Kenya Kabatha AB 5+
- Ethiopia Konga 5+
- Guatemala San Diego Buena Vista 6+

California wine country is renowned for its many great vineyards, but up until recently, the sea of grapes harbored little else of such high quality. Fortunately the area is growing even more appealing, with quality specialty coffee slowly gaining a stronger foothold in the land of vino. Take Black Oak Coffee Roasters in the town of Ukiah right off the 101; what more could you ask for than a coffee roaster that takes as much care and love in their beans as the best vineyards surrounding put into making their wine?  

Recently, Black Oak shipped out some coffee my way and I received three of their coffees: their Kenya Kabatha, a small microlot grown and processed by a woman named Rahab; the Ethiopia Konga, a crowd-pleasing coffee from the Yirgacheffe region; and lastly their Guatemala San Diego Buena Vista, a lauded collection of beans haling west of Antigua. Given the limited volume of beans obtained, I only brewed the coffees via pourover and french press. 

The Ethiopian pourover spurted out notes of blueberry, chocolate, wheat, sautéed spinach and cream within a light/medium body, proving sweet, bright and a little vegetal. The french press performed similarly in sweetness and brightness, with blueberry, cream, chocolate, merlot, a little spinach and sugar in a light/medium body.

The Kenyan also delighted my senses. The pourover belted out a juicy and sweet mix of milk chocolate, raspberry, peach, tumeric, capers, whipped cream and macadamia nuts with a tid bit of a peppery aftertaste. The french press proved similar though a little more piquant, with raspberry, caramel, grape tomato, flemish ale, buttermilk and cilantro.

The Guatemala coffee turned out the best, with the pourover producing vanilla cupcake, nougat, sweet corn, passion fruit, a bit of spinach, pears and butter in a medium body; the french press heaved heavy caramel popcorn, nougat, butter, almond, milk, a little cilantro and blue corn chip in a medium body. All together, the infusions sang a smooth, luscious melody of a sultry brew.

If you're looking for a taste of California wine country in your coffee mug, check out some of these tremendous coffees from Black Oak Coffee Roasters.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

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