Brazil Serra Negra
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From the Cerrado region, Boa Vista micro-region of Brazil, Serra Negra estate. Brazil is the world’s leading grower of coffee, and a lot of it is the “cheap” coffee that is used as fillers, blends, and flavored coffees. It is NOT easy to find an organic Brazil. This one is a UTZ certified, organically grown, 3300 feet altitude microlot from farmer Mistuo Nakao. It largely consists of the admired Yellow Bourbon varietal. La Minita discovered it and brought it in. They mentioned in a newsletter that they had found a sweet microlot Brazil that they were excited about, and it sold out the next day. This is an October 2013 arrival. It was obviously grown, processed, and packed with care. Even came in a grain-pro bag to preserve freshness. (When's the last time you saw a Brazil in a grainpro bag?!)
A couple notes about roasting and tasting Brazils. I do like Brazil coffee, but I don't like 99% of the Brazil coffees that I taste. I don't want an overkill on earthiness, bitterness, or acidity. I do want nutty, mildly acidic, mildly complex, caramel, rich flavor of traditional coffee with overall sweetness. This one fits that description. Second note, when you see a "natural processed" coffee, you should instantly think, "light roast!" but not with Brazil. It's okay to French roast a natural process Brazil, and the minimum roast for it is Full City. Don't treat it gentle like an Ethiopia.
-Full City roast. (407 degrees) You're out of the first cracks by a good 20 seconds or so. You're not in the 2nd cracks yet, but will be within the next 30 seconds. Think "8'O'Clock Classic Red Bag" coffee. It's a solid, decent cup of coffee that you could brew for your family, a church gathering, a cafe, etc, and no one is going to snub it. Maybe no one is going to remember it tomorrow, but in the moment, its a pleasant coffee, and if you really want to tear it apart, you'll find a zingy citrus dark chocolate note in here.
-Full City + (415 degrees) You are about 15 seconds into the 2nd cracks, but they aren't rolling yet, just scattered pops. Here, a lot more of the flavor comes out, but also a little bitterness. When it is on my tongue, I'm thinking, "almond dark chocolate bar melting on my tongue" It has that contrast of sweet, bitter, nutty, maybe even salty. Pretty clean finish, and nothing bad in the aftertaste. Really nice mouthfeel, smooth thick body. I like this better than Full City. The slight bitterness might be a turnoff to some, but I find it mild enough that it adds to the experience.
-Viennese (430 degrees) We are now maybe 15 seconds into rolling 2nds. As coffee it is starting to lose it's caramel sweetness and pick up smokiness. Still a nice cup, and works with a drop of cream as well. As espresso, it has nice nutty undertones and complements a blend (pair it with something sweet, maybe a washed african and a peru), but is bitter on its own as a single origin.
-French (444 degrees) 40 to 60 seconds into the rolling 2nds. Here as drip coffee, it's a smoky nutty French Roast. Nothing special, but not disappointing in any way. As espresso, it has a nice smoky, full taste with caramel undertones. The flavor encompasses your whole mouth in a powerful but pleasing way. The aftertaste is slightly bitter. It could be toned down by blending it with another South American along with a small amount of African.
For espresso, use it anywhere from 40%-70% in your espresso blend.
As a coffee blend, try putting this with a natural Ethiopia light roast. The Ethiopia accentuates the sweetness of the coffee, and the Brazil lends its rich body and classic taste.
As a single origin coffee, start at Full City +, but if you're a dark roast fan, nothing wrong with taking this into French Roast territory.
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