Caffeinated Adventures, Part 1

So before we get to a weekend of booze writing, booze commentary, boozy recipes – yes, all of that in one weekend – let’s talk a bit about coffee. Let’s START a coffee series, because I make coffee from home regularly (almost daily basically), with a Chemex  coffee maker, and I annoy coffee brands on twitter and in-person with questions about water to ground beans ratios (in grams), about filter choices, about water quality, about temperature, and about technique.  I am fully addicted, fully ok with that, and trying to embrace coffee more than ever. I am concerned about sustainability, I want to homebrew with cascara (the coffee cherry surrounding the bean) and coffee more, and so on. So, pardon the caffeinated interruptions here as I try to use words to describe my coffee-related feelings.

I have a few favorites around Chicagoland and even the Midwest, but I am happy to start this little idea off with the folks at Dark Matter Coffee. I used to live down Chicago Ave from their first location, Star Lounge, and it was a regular stop for me in my everyday life. First, for coffee, but secondly, because it was a very ingrained (I wish I had a coffee pun for this) part of the community in that area of West Town/Humboldt Park/Ukrainian Village. I’ve admired them for their coffee, their work with individual farms and sustainability/fair wages/etc, and their community orientation. They express themselves in fun and wacky ways, but they take their coffee very seriously. I picked up this bag a couple of weeks after Dark Matter celebrated their 10th anniversary with a very fun beer and coffee centric party in an empty parking lot near Star Lounge.  

Yellow Honey processing, by the way, is described elegantly here. If you’re into how your coffee bean is processed, it falls about mid-way between “Natural” processing, which usually involves some fermentation and is dried “in the fruit”, and “Washed” processing, which has controlled fermentation, removal of the fruit and pulp and mucilage, and uses water. I like the end result of both styles, but tend to buy “Natural” processed coffee because it uses less environmental resources to get to the end product. It also leaves a very bright and fruit-forward coffee flavor I’ve been preferring these days.

This bag delivered on that bright and fruit-forwardness I was looking for, but without being over the top.  Some great info on the Finca (farm) San Jeronimo Miramar here.  I will go into flavor profiles more on the next round of coffee, as I finished this stuff up a few days ago. If you see it (probably at a Whole Foods in the Chicagoland area), get a bag, and let me know what you think. They’ve got some versions out that were fermented WITH HOPS, and that’s what I am looking for next. Drop me a line in general and include coffee in the subject, if you’ve got suggestions or ideas on what you’d like to see a booze geek cover about a non-boozy thing like coffee.



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