Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea: Guatamalan Huehuetenango

Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea Blog

Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea is a coffee shop nearby Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA. It was started by a couple of alumni who just didn't quite leave, basically the stereotypical college coffee shop. But last year they have started the next step, roasting the beans. We occasionally get beans from them, and this time we got some Guatemalan Huehuetenango (which were Direct Trade).

Why is this something of note? It turns out, like most food, coffee is time sensitive. The green beans are shipped from there origins, but all the steps after that effect the taste, starting from when they are roasted. It matters how long from roasting they are brewed, it also matters how long between grinding and brewing,and of course, how long they are exposed to direct heat (i.e. either take the coffee off the brewer and pour it in a thermos within 1/2 hour or dump it.)

So a year ago, Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea started roasting. The other roaster in the Pittsburgh area is La Prima, but they have no outlets in the North Hills (I know, I've asked their marketing director and after much discussion among the staff, came up blanks.) So we made a point of using them, even asking them for different style of roasts to try the range of roasts (light to dark).

We got the Guatemalan this week. It is a medium-light roast. Based on prior experience, we French-pressed it at 7 minutes (for most coffees, we French Press for 5 minutes). At this point, it was still a little light, but we were at the point where the bitterness in the bean was coming out, so I think we have the brew time just right. But the beans were probably too lightly roasted for my tastes.

The dark roasts are probably easier to quality control and these have gone well (which is why if you get coffee at places that ship their roasted beans from somewhere else, you should get dark roasts). The medium and lighter roasts have more nuances, but our experiences with Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea is that they are inconsistent, and their mediums and lights are often too light (not as much taste)

UPDATE: Batch 2 was this afternoon. This time I ground the beans to medium grind (rather then coarse like I usually do for French Press) and had a bit more beans in there. Better. I get more of the taste. Again, at 7 min, I can taste just a hint of the bitterness that tells me that I better not let the beans brew any longer. Of course, now I have to use a second filter to filter out the grounds, but this mostly works. But we'll probably make a point to get medium-dark roasted in the future.
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