My quest for the perfect shot of home-made espresso took me to the world of blended concoctions, The name and the white bag with a handy matching clip caught my eye, though on reflection at home the packaging seemed like a waste. It didn't help that I clumsily tore the bag up, causing beans to fly all over the kitchen. Name: Poker Face Espresso
Geographic Origin: 80 percent Guatemala Finca Cardenes with 20 percent Kenya Kiandu
Description: The Kiandu's effervescent berry aroma is complimented by the Cardenes' syrupy mouthfeel and undertones of vanilla.
Date Roasted: Dec. 3, 2008, by Barismo of Arlington, MA.
Date Purchased: Dec. 8, 2008.
Source: Café Grumpy, 224 W. 20th St., between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
The Pour: Central America meets Africa. It is a pleasant mix, though I still have trouble with the fruitier tasting espressos. This taste is milder than the "floral shining citrus" of the Kurimi, which I still have hanging around. The vanilla may help a little. The meaning of the name was a mystery. Then I searched online and found this explanation from the roaster, Jaime van Schyndel of Barismo:
Poker Face is a creation I came up with in cooperation with Nik Krankl, owner of Taste and a serious poker player. .. In one way, [his coffee career] was a throwback to his father's success in the wine industry. An acknowledgment of his father's influence and deference to an exceptional wine his father created, of the same name. Much like the Syrah, this espresso has notes of berries, vanilla, and fruit but with a creamy texture and excellent mouth feel. Looking back before you go forward is something we respect a lot in our choosing names for blends and this is no exception. Nik now takes this name a bit more literally. As a former barista myself, I understand how difficult it can be to read the espresso drinker. They rarely come out and literally say what they felt. Instead they hold it tight and keep a 'poker face' in regards to their emotions about what they just imbibed.
Effects: I think this might make a good bean for a cappucino or even an Irish coffee, but I'm drinking it straight this afternoon after a night out with some old pals Friday. I'm a little tired and have a bit of a headache, but this hit the spot. One thing I did not expect when I started this journey was how much information I would find online. But I am discovering that behind nearly every bean, there seems to be a blogger with a story to tell. Here's a tip of the cup to the collaborators at Barismo.