Ristretto pulls of Polar Expresso are so creamy, with layers of dark chocolate - chocolate ganache, high % cacao bar, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup - and a delicious tart fruit accent that's like cranberry sauce made with orange juice. What a way to end the year. Full City to Full City+. Espresso.
|Region||Nyeri, Kenya + Yirga Cheffe, Ethiopia + Nyamasheke, Rwanda|
|Processing||Wet Process (Washed)|
|Drying Method||Raised Bed Sun-dried|
|Arrival date||all current crop|
|Cultivar Detail||Bourbon, Heirloom Varietals|
|Roast Recommendations||Intense espresso with Full City as a starting point all the way to the beginnings of 2nd snaps (FC+)|
|Type||Sweet Maria's Blends|
|Recommended for Espresso||Yes|
I think we're going on our 4th year of putting together a holiday blend. We went 16 years without one, but our initial outing with "Esprestletoe" proved that this time of year affords us so many delicious coffee options to blend with, that coming up with a delicious and short-lived holiday blend only makes sense (plus creating kooky images for kooky blend names is half the fun!). Blend construction is about stringing together coffees that compliment one another, and that coalesce into a cup profile not possible from one individual component. Polar Expresso does just that. With the holiday season in mind, we cupped through the bulk of our African coffees, choosing a high scoring coffee from Rwanda and Ethiopia's Yirga Cheffe region, as well as a small amount of Kenya for a vibrant twist. All three coffees are wet-processed, and each scored above 88 points on their own. Needless to say, much like the holidays can be for some, this blend is quite complex! We set out to create an intense chocolate profiled espresso, with high sweetness, fruit tones, and acidity that can be tempered with roast. My favorite roast for straight espresso shots is Full City, which in my Quest translates to 1st crack at 400F and pulling at 430F roughly 2:30 after the beginning of 1st crack. Full City+ will work so well for milk drinks as bittersweetness is really intense, as is a sweet undercurrent. If your roaster has manual heat or fan control will be able to pull back energy at or just before 1st snaps, extending the time of roast development (careful not to stall!) in order to dial back acidity. If you don't have manual control of your machine, you can always try adjusting batch size to slow overall roast time. No matter what your roast method is, Polar Expresso is sure to 'brighten' up your holiday party with an acidic snap that just might incite a puckering situation (as the name suggests!).
We roasted Polar Expresso to three different levels, and found Full City to be the optimal starting point for espresso extraction. This is where the tart 'zing' of lemony acidity is tempered by simple syrup-like sweetness, and pervading flavor of high % cacao bar. This is an all African blend, so you can bet the smells from the grinder are fruited, slightly floral (at City+ and FC), and with bittersweetness from roast at more developed roast levels. It pulls beautifully too, producing cream ale-like crema, which perhaps is no real indicator of quality but certainly looks nice! Putting my nose to the cup, the aroma is filled with bittersweet chocolate, laced with a mix of burned sugars, and sticky molasses. Ristretto shots of our Full City roast (400F 1st crack / 430F finish) shows distilled flavors of dark chocolate bar and candied citrus rind on the tip of your tongue, and the mouthfeel is exceptionally creamy, like a mixture of heavy cream and honey. This silky liquor weighs heavily on the palate, boosting the effect of cocoa roast tones, and letting it sit in your mouth produces a layered chocolate effect, like dark chocolate ganache, high % cacao bar, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup, and more. A delicious tart fruit flavor cuts through it all too, and comes off like cranberry sauce made with orange juice, and candied citrus peel. My darkest roast hit 2nd snaps in the cooling tray (400F 1st crack / 440 finish) and though maybe a touch too dark for my taste the level of sweetness is impressive and shows like toffee crumble, and chocolate/cocoa roast tones have an intense smokiness, leaving just enough room in the profile for a blueberry top note to peek through. A holiday espresso blend from us to you, Polar Expresso is only available until the end of the year.