Each month our cafe menu changes, highlighting our new and delicious specialty coffee offerings. So we asked our National trainer, Josey Markiewicz, to take us through what’s new on-the-bar for August.
Coffee. Is there any more storied fruit on earth? Born in the highlands of Ethiopia and spread around the tropics by countless adventurous souls looking to make a buck, coffee found its way from East Africa, to Indonesia, to Central and South America all before returning to the heart of the continent from which it was born: Africa.
African coffees can showcase a plethora of fragrances and flavors. Just consider this year’s offerings from Burundi, Ethiopia (YirgZ, Ardi), and Malawi. Coffees that run nearly the entire length of the flavor rainbow, showcasing everything from jasmine, to peach, to strawberry, to chocolate. African coffees are world-renowned, and for good reason. The climate, elevation, and soil are all perfectly balanced for the growth of its native species, coffee Arabica.
One place, in particular, has made a name for itself as a befitting challenger to Ethiopia’s coffee crown: KENYA.
KENYA MT KENYA is a coffee grown on the southern slopes of Africa’s second highest mountain, Mount Kenya. It is composed of three varieties (SL28, SL34, and Ruiru11,) grown by 15,000 individual farmers. (That’s right, 15,000!) It is processed by being washed in river water, fermented, then rewashed before its seeds are sun-dried on large concrete patios on the edge of steep volcanic cliffs.
The evolution of coffee farming in Kenya is a story unto itself, involving such hot topics as British colonization, slavery, rebellion, tradition, and weird science. Things are a whole lot more civil now, but let’s just say that the coffees of Kenya didn’t become amazing without a whole lot of effort, by a whole lot of folks, from a whole lot of perspectives.
Here’s a sensual run-down:
KENYA MT KENYA showcases big fragrances and aromas of intense blackcurrant and grapefruit. It has a “citrus zesty” acidity with a slight ping of blackberry. It’s a medium-bodied coffee that coats the mouth with a jammy sweetness reminiscent of berry cobbler and baked brown sugar. These flavors should linger in the finish ending in a sort of dry champagne as it floats free from the throat.
What can we say that we didn’t say last year about MEXICO SIERRA SUR? This is another storied coffee whose roots were planted over a century ago. History tells of a time when pirates (yes, actual pirates) stormed the shores of the Atlantic in possession of an exotic shrub stolen from the cradle of life and shipped halfway around the globe to southwestern Mexico. They later introduced the tree to the fertile cliffs of Oaxaca’s Sierra Madre Del Sur mountain range. The tree took hold and a culture was born. Weird, right? That’s just how trees get around sometimes…
Now, the ugly face of colonialism is all something I’m sure we are familiar with (Christopher Columbus, anyone?) But the native peoples of Oaxaca resisted this influence by banding together to create large communities of farmers. Together, they protect their land and police their communities. It is these farms who supply us with our yearly crop of Sierra Sur to this very day.
This is our fourth year working with this co-op and their harvest just keeps getting more and more impressive. Talk about a fruitful, long-term relationship! Sierra Sur is a sweet and floral cup of coffee. It has far more potential than most coffees from this region due to its elevation (1800 meters) and its proximity to the ocean (not so far.)
Tasting Notes: Toasted pecans and caramel, with a mild floral/rose-y aroma, mega sweet with a mild and balanced acidity. Citric/white grape/kiwi like juiciness, clean and silky body, candied pecan sweetness, caramel sugary finish.
In addition to our Iced Cascara and Frogtown, our Iced ARDI will be replacing Iced YIRGZ as the iced silverton option. How should it taste?
It’s a purple party with flavors of concord grape, raw chocolate, red plum, and mild prune all take the stage. Throw some simple in there and you gotcha self a tropical coffee punch! BAM!!!
Oat milk Draft Latte is flying out the door. Our plant-based milk Draft Latte is proving to be a real winner. Also, don’t knock it ’til you try it—our Cold Brew Shandy Lemonade is also on tap and making it’s debut in cans soon.
See ya in September!
Written by National Manager of Training and Quality Assurance, Josey Markiewicz