Brazil Daterra Reserve from Ecco Cafe- Courtesy of Andrew Barnett
First off, a shout out to Andrew Barnett for [indirectly, I suppose] scoring me this coffee. When I got off work on Sunday, Alistair left me with nearly a pound of Brazil Daterra Reserve along with the pound of Hines espresso - and what a week it has been.
I have always been curious to try this coffee since I heard it made for a very sweet and balanced shot. I can honestly say that it fulfilled those expectations. At first, it took me an abnormally long time to get it dialed it. After about my 5th sink shot, mostly due to the thermostat's deadband - it constantly reaches the low point during the shot and just scorches it towards the end - I was able to pull a decent shot. I must have dosed about 19g or so and it came out to approximately 1 1/4 oz. The crema was not particularly dark, but had great mottling. I noticed a confluence of aromas! There was a strong smell of anise... like ouzo. I attributed this to the high temperature that my machine seems to run at. There were even hints of vanilla and cedar. I prepared myself for what I expected to be a chocolate bomb. I took a sip and immediately noticed the syrupy body and wild dried fruit and nut flavours. The aftertaste was all vanilla and cocoa. It was a very satisfying shot. I pulled a few more and noticed that they were all very different. Some shots tasted like they were half Yemen, with leathery and musty aromas. Others were like a balanced, refined, sweet Brazil. The cappuccino was a different story.
In milk, this espresso seemed to be weak, with the only flavours making it through the milk being the bitter chocolate. I decided to do some temperature surfing and start the shot at the low point so that it initially increases during the shot and then decreases towards the end. I found that this worked best with the Hines. The cappuccino imrpoved... it became sweeter, but still lacked intensity. I coarsened the grind slightly and made a final cappuccino. On this one, I made an acceptable rosetta.
The taste of this one blew me away. It was caramelly and had strong bitter chocolate flavours balanced with vanilla. It was a particularly sweet cappuccino and had an aftertaste similar to the smell of ground coffee and equally as intense.
Overall, this was a really good espesso. Unfortunately, I never did cup it or make a french press. It was very satisying as a straight shot in the morning. I hope I get the chance to score some more in the future.