This felt like a long week. A lot of meetings. My daughter had her first round of standardized testing at school. Two reporters I rely on the most at work took some days off. Then a plane ditched in the Hudson. We blogged, twittered, stayed up late. It was the rare big story with a happy ending. Way back on Sunday I had bought this bag of beans and, even before the crash landing, I was making myself three fast espresso shots with the Jura to jolt myself awake each morning before rushing out the door. That did not allow much time for contemplation of how these beans compared to the others I've sampled and written about. Name: Finca Santa Isabel (Rainforest Alliance). Origin: Mountaintop plantation by the above name in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. Roasted: Jan. 6 by Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, Calif. Purchased: Jan. 10 at Café Grumpy, 224 W. 20th St., Manhattan, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Description: None on the plain brown bag. But this Cup of Excellence entry described a related batch as solid, well-balanced, with good acidity, clean and sweet. The Pour: This morning, with a small amount of the bag left, I took the time to savor a shot for the first time this week. A nice layer of crema on top. My impressions from the week are confirmed: a full-bodied, tasty shot. No fruity flavors. Not overpowering. No bite or unpleasant aftertaste. Pleasant. Probably what most people would think of when you say coffee. It reminds me of the Poker Face Espresso, a blend that also had some Guatemalan beans, as well as the serviceable Heartbreaker.
According to this account, the beans -- principally Canturra and Catuai, both from the Arabica coffee family -- are grown in volcanic soil in the ideal climate, then hand-sorted a couple of times in a water process before being sun-dried on special patios. Mmmm, sounds crafty. Then there's the "innovative two-step fermentation, which results in a smoother, cleaner cup." I don't know that I buy into much coffee hype, but they do seem to be doing something right. I'm still looking for something a little richer and smoother, in my quest for an ideal cup. I also wonder if the longer delay from the roasting to my cup has had any effect.
I'm probably going to miss it when I turn to the Rwandan beans that I also bought last Sunday. That bag remains sealed in a cool place, but the bag promises a "cider currant" flavor. What was I thinking? I'll stick with the Finca Santa Rosa today and try that tomorrow.