The roaster claims their coffees are shipped in the finest resealable plastic bags with one-way air valves which allows the fresh beans to give off CO2 and prevents oxygen from getting in to stale the beans. After opening the bag, reseal and squeeze excess air out of the valve. The bag is different from the last time I received their beans - I had to cut this bag open and reseal it by folding a metal clip (most coffee comes like this and it seems to work fine) but the previous bag was resealable like a zip lock bag - it seemed to work fine too.
Fresh roasted is a given - the beans come from the neighboring state of Virginia - roasted 2/19, mailed on 2/20, and in my grinder (and belly) here in North Carolina on 2/23. In other words, perfect. One thing I have noticed about this roaster - Paul Wynkoop certainly knows how to go light (their Dutch Cup Catering Coffee is a good example), but is not afraid to go darker if that is what makes the bean taste best.
I roasted up some Sumatra Gayo Mandheling that I took lighter than these beans for a cupping that turned out nice for pour over but would be better for espresso with a bit more time - like these beans. The dry aroma is caramel and roasted nut while the brewed aroma is caramel sweet. As a pour over cup the acidity is moderate with a sweet finish and a syrupy body - as it cools the middle reveals that leathery, earthy quality this origin is known for, but the sweet finish with a hint of smokiness comes from the roast.
As a shot it is probably too young to evaluate properly but my first impression is positive. The shot in the photo is the second I pulled but the first dial in shot was pretty close to this too. That is 18g ground on the Baratza Preciso set to 10 F and "espressed" with the QuickMill Silvano set to 197 degrees F. The end result is a fluffy 32g (these beans are still gassy) shot of comfort food espresso. Easy to pull, easy to drink with a thick mouth feel and a full flavored finish - not a fruit bomb but not a chocolate bar either. Good things are in store for these beans and when I get back from CoffeeCon 2012 Sunday I will be able to evaluate the shots closer to their peak - I haven't left yet but thanks to these beans I'm home sick already!
A parting shot:
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