Currently, I'm head-over-heels in love with Barefoot Coffee. Not only do they roast some incredibly complex beans, they also are amazingly ethical. They operate as green as they can, focus on the farmers first (!), and pay their employees a living wage (!!!). I've written a couple of blogs about them for work, but since I'm oh-so in love right now, I thought I'd share them here, too.
I’ve found that I’m not completely happy unless my skin smells like coffee. Yesterday, I was completely happy.
The afternoon involved a cupping of Barefoot coffees, the same that you can find on our coffee bar beginning today. As the cupping commenced, I was transported to a glorious realm of smells, tastes, and textures.
As with all excellent coffees, with my first slurp, my mind’s eye also conjured up images. The first bean on the list was Chiapas Otilio Decaf from Mexico and the UDEPOM Co-op. It didn’t taste like a decaf! Instead, it was like an old friend sitting across the table, familiar and comforting. The nose was full of dark chocolate. I tasted orange blossoms and night jasmine with just enough acidity to tease the tongue.
Barefoot’s cupping notes are below:
Sweet and smartly bright. Touches of orangey citrus highlight the light dustings of chocolate and spice. Light and bright with nice medium body. Surprisingly sweet and involved for a decaf. Retains almost all its warm chocolate and citrus flavors and has a warm clarified butter finish and mouthfeel.
Next up was the Nueva Granada from El Salvador, producer Gloria Rodriguez. This time I was sent to a spring meadow. A breeze caressed my face with smells of damp grass and green growing things as I watched fat bumblebees spill out of buttercups. The taste of golden raspberries followed by meyer lemons caressed my tongue. I wanted to consume every last drop.
Crisp and sweet at the same time. Nicely balanced stone fruits and rounded citrus flavors blossom and boogie. Butterscotchy middle layers with sweet finish. Very complex and sweet. More rounded stone fruits and syrupy thickness than Gloria’s other lots.
Finally, a Guatemalan from producer Edwin Martinez took me by the hand. The Honey Michicoy was like sitting in a warm, dark movie theater, snacking on candy bars that I had hidden in my pockets, sweeter and more satisfying than if they’d been eaten in the light of day. The cup sang of blood oranges and dark chocolate with a gloriously full mouthfeel and a honeycomb finish.
Crazy fruit bomb of honey & maple syrup with bing cherries, blackberries and apple. Rounds out with buttery caramel and cocoa. Succulent and juicy mouthfeel with crazy sweet fresh juice. A decadent, long lasting finish of apricot nectar and honey.
I am incredibly grateful that I got to experience this magical range of coffees. I feel even more grateful that we’re carrying these coffees in our deli. More information on this truly inspirational business (I didn’t even go into their kick-ass ethics!) can be found at Barefoot’s website. Make sure to come in as soon as you can so you too can be transported by these amazing, bewitching beans.
Coffee & Chocolate
I know, I know... sometimes my job is just too hard. I mean really, having to taste coffee and then chocolate all on the same day? The only thing that would have made this Saturday of tantalizing my taste buds any better would have been if I ended it with a wine tasting.
Once again, Barefoot Coffee delivers the goods. These coffees are so complex, my concentrated tongue bumps had difficulty picking everything up!
First was Sulawesi, Sapan Minanga. Roasted almonds, white bergamot, and a slight tease of white pepper gave way to sweet hay, Terry's Milk Chocolate Orange Ball, and finally, cashew. The soft and silky mouthfeel made me want to eat this coffee up.
Next up was El Salvador COE #27, La Montanita. Ruby grapefruit, apple blossoms, and jasmine caressed my nose as taffy and citrus notes followed. Velvet caressed my tongue as the flavors of Clementines and hazelnuts finished my bliss.
Finally I tried the Panama Casa Ruiz, Lot A. My olfactory senses were tickled by vanilla bean, warm chocolate chip cookies, and leather followed by white chocolate and spice. The bright, sparkling mouthfeel made my taste buds dance as the flavors of lemon, raspberries, mangosteen, and cranberries did the cha cha.
Hard on the heels of the coffee cupping came the Equal Exchange chocolate tasting and presentation on Social Investment. I learned how people actually invest and about shareholder activism. Basically, you can invest by saying what you don't want to put money into, i.e. weapons, cigarettes, oil, etc., or you can invest in a positive way -- by finding a company who's principles you believe in and investing directly with them. Then it was on to the chocolate!
Now, chocolate has a series of steps to taste as well, but the majority of these chocolates came pre-flavored, so a more informal sampling commenced. There was a dark chocolate mint bar of 37% cacao, a creamy milk chocolate of 38% cacao, an espresso bar of 55%, a sweet, soft dark chocolate almond that was also 55%, and a dark chocolate that was 71%. It was amazing how many different flavors could be picked up in the plain, dark chocolate bar. It smelled slightly spicy and carried fruit notes that resolved to a navel orange finish. It would have been fun to sample more plain chocolate to compare and contrast the different inherent flavors, but hey, there was chocolate to be had, and I definitely had it all.
It was a very fun day with plenty of caffeine. Hopefully, we'll do it all again soon.
To read Barefoot's even more super-fun tasting notes on the coffees listed above, go here. And to learn more about Equal Exchange and their chocolate, click here.
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