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December 01, 2009


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I tiptoe around this conversation often. It is hard to support claims of strong sense memory, and it can come across as immodest to suggest you recall a nuanced impression from several years past. There is a lot of skeptical debunking that always makes the rounds, particularly in reference to wine tasters, that promotes the reasonable supposition that in matters of taste we are victims of our own projections and fluctuating biases.

My perspective on coffee is definitely much broader now than in that first Esmeralda cupping, but I feel strongly that subsequent Esmeralda lots have lacked the full Ode to Joy fireworks of its debut.

My theory is that those early BoP submissions underwent more primping, much more thorough processing and sorting. Compare the range of screen sizes in current Esmeralda lots to its predecessors - today it no longer has as "unmistakably" geisha big-beanedness. And I think the cupping table reveals this difference of refinement - still has the distinct geisha character but more muted, and clouded by a range of peripheral flavors. I imagine this is a bit about maximizing yield and other small exigencies of the coffee's popularity, and I regard it as an equally valid expression of the coffee as it's debutante incarnation.

I find the Panama Don Pachi from Stumptown to be a much closer experience to that "classic" Esmeralda, both in the look of the beans and in the cup.

rob berghmans

The Yirgacheffe Idido Misty Valley from Stumptown from 3 years ago was my strongest cupping memory. Where are the days...?

Daniel Humphries

Tony: That Don Pachi coffee is outstanding. Hadn't considered level of primping with the Esmeralda as a factor before, but of course that's a obvious possibility.

PS: you look so serious in your little avatar pic.

Rob: Man, that's good coffee, isn't it? Wow, I remember it, too! *sigh*


everyone makes that same comment about my avatar. But aren't I that serious?

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