Yes, I'm coffee-blogging again. After ambiguously adequate experiences with single-source beans from Starbucks and Joe the Art of Coffee, I high-tailed it back to my regular source of beans this week.
I'm sorry to report that the Costa Rican coffee from Starbucks remained bitter until the bitter end. I finally mixed it up with the last of the Indian Mysore, which made them both somewhat passable, because I hate to waste beans. But it was a chore. A change was in order. Name: Wondo Worka Co-Op
Origin: Yerga Cheffe or Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia. Nobody can quite agree on the spelling, apparently.
Roasted: Jan. 27 by Verve Coffee Roasters, Santa Cruz, Ca.
Purchased: Feb. 2 at Café Grumpy, 224 W. 20th St., Manhattan, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
Description: Nothing on the bag but the shop's menu says, "Notes of honey and apricot fill this clean sweet cup."
The Pour: It was a pleasure to try this bean as regular pressed coffee at Café Grumpy twice this week after dropping my daughter off at school, and as espresso shots this weekend. (I had a cold in the latter part of the week that I am still trying to shake, so that may interfere with my impressions.)
When I bought the beans, I ordered a 12-ounce cup of the same and was quite satisfied. I had it again on a second visit two days later. I was still drinking the other stuff at home, and the contrast was startling. This was so much better.
It's hard to find much online about the Wondo Worka cooperative. It is reportedly grown in the Sidamo province of the southern Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, like this "floral shining citrus" bean that I tried in this ongoing coffee-blogging quest.
In December, Ken David's Coffee Review, a leading buying guide, rated this coffee highly, saying:
Intense, bright aroma: tart coffee cherry, honey, a hint of fir, flowers. In the cup tartly sweet acidity, honeyish mouthfeel and flavor, with molasses, pipe tobacco and deep, rose-like floral notes. Very sweet, fruit-saturated, perfectly clean finish... A dramatically light roast liberates both acidity and sweetness and allows an unusual honey, molasses and rose-like floral character full expression.
A different roaster described the flavor this way: "A beautiful harmony of sweet citrus and lingering florals — lime, meyer lemon lavender cake, jasmine, and a hint of ripe honeydew."
And here is one that offers some "history":
In the lore of the bean, coffee was first discovered by an Ethiopian shepherd who noticed his goats going nuts after eating these particular cherries. So he began eating them to stay awake on long nights guarding his flock: it worked and the rest is history. You can still taste those wild nights in every cup of Yergacheffe: not too heavy or spicey and with that touch of wilderness, it is a satisfying full-bodied cup. Every coffee drinker should try the original.
I must say, these descriptions still crack me up a little, though I know what they're trying to convey. In a cup made on a Clover at the shop, I definitely found the coffee sweet with a touch of citrus, not overpowering as with the last bean I tried from this region. (And this marks the second time I've been pleased with a Verve roast.)
As an espresso, the flavor seemed more honey and molasses at first. By the third shot over the course of this morning, my head cleared -- a wonder worker from Wondo Worka? By then, I was picking up the lemon flavor, especially at the finish.