I've been neglecting the blog for quite a while. It's so much easier to Twitter, or post Facebook updates, or check in with Foursquare, that it's hard to work up the head of steam it takes to write about coffees that have only mildly impressed me, or books that I haven't managed to finish, or what have you. It's the doldrums of winter, the eve of February, the shortest month on paper and the longest in the northeastern mind. So here we find ourselves, whoever you are, whoever I am, in the iPad interregnum, the post State of the Union, the short bleak days of winter, run out of words and thoughts. I've tried a few of the winter selections at Café Grumpy -- the El Salvadoran, the Rwandan, and of course the only espresso standby Heartbreaker -- and they were all good, but I can't really recall with any clarity their individual qualities. Let's pronounce them good and move on. But with the start of my kid's second semester drawing me back down into the Chelsea neighborhood more regularly, I picked up this Grumpy roast with the Tolkienesque name, and it's getting me through the dark days.
Coffee: Fazenda Sertaozinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Roasted: Jan. 17 by Café Grumpy in Brooklyn.
Purchased Jan. 21 at Grumpy's Chelsea location, 224 W. 20th St., between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
Description: "Dark sweet plum aromatics open into a full-bodied cup. Notes of earthy toasted almond and sugar cane. Pleasant brightness in the finish."
In the Cup: I have to confess something first. I've been drinking less espresso and coffee in general lately, opting for green tea, after reading something or other extolling not only its health benefits but its supposed tendency to deliver a lower, steadier dose of caffeine with fewer peaks and valleys. Ye gads, the coffee blogger has become a tea drinker! But it actually makes me appreciate the coffee more.
Green tea is always the same (in my opinion), and it's an acquired taste, not nearly as pleasant as regular black tea or the various herbal types. But high-end culinary coffees seem to have endless variety. While I lean toward the sweet and nutty varieties, and much prefer a sugary finish, I've come to appreciate what coffee tasters call brightness -- so long as it's not too bright. This coffee had just about the right amount. And I must say, as a bit of a traditionalist, I've never been disappointed by any bean from Brazil. Is this coffee amazing? Did it knock my socks off? I may have grown a little jaded in my coffee quest, so I'd have to say no. But it's certainly delicious, and delivers what the bag says it will.
Also, kudos to Grumpy for including a link to information about the farm, something more coffee Web sites should do. Located in a mountainous region, it has 160 employees and produces on average 720,000 kilograms of beans per year. There's a whole lot of coffee in Brazil.
Grumpy is an old standby by now for me, and of course it's great the little chain is now roasting its own beans, but I'll probably be venturing out again to Stumptown and other venues once the weather gets warmer, and I feel like getting on the bike again. If anyone has any suggestions, fire away.