Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A coffee-encounter of the third kind

Picture taken from the Hacienda Esmeralda in Panama.

A little more than month ago my local coffeebar acquired a Clover coffee brewer.

For those of you not familiar what a Clover is, I'll describe it briefly. "The Clover 1s is (...) a single-cup, commercial grade coffee brewer (...) which combines two methods considered best for brewing coffee: the “French press” and the vacuum brewer." (Quote from Clovers website) It produces this coffee in little more than a minute.

It produces a very clean cup which I've experienced before with coffees like El Salvador finca La Fany and Colombia finca Buena Vista.

Today was to be a little more special.

At the counter they had a poster announcing that they had gotten a hold of "Best of Panama #1" from Hacienda Esmeralda. I had a feeling that it was a little bit special when I saw the price for a cup. At rouhgly € 5,80/£3,90/$7,60 it was by far the most expensive cup of coffee I've ever seen.

But after a while I started thinking about recent discussions on various internet forums about the price of great wine compared to great coffee and so forth. And Norway as a country can for foreigners be a bit pricy. Also I have great faith in that the people in this coffeebar (Java at St.Hanshaugen in Oslo) really know their coffee. So I started to think: "If this coffee is so **** expensive it must be **** good."

I made the order, paid the barista and sat down with this liquid black gold. I must hastily add that I still consider myself to be a beginner when it comes to the real appreciation of coffee, and I can't really yet point out all the different aromas and tastes. So before recieving the coffe I asked the barista what I could expect from the cup. He said that even though this was a South American coffee, the coffeeplant itself (called Geisha) was originally taken to South America from Ethiopia in the 1930s and the coffee shared similarities with Yirgacheffe coffee. The coffee has in addition to an intense floral aroma the typical characteristics of the best of South American coffees with sweet fruityness and citrusy acidity. All in perfect harmony.

So did I taste and smell all of these wonderful things? Maybe, but I still couldn't put words on what I tasted and smelled other than it really was **** good!

Was it worth the price? Well, if someone had served this to someone not as nerdy about coffee as I am, I don't know if they'd appreciated it for what it was. BUT the experience as a whole, having being told what to expect, knowing the potential of the Clover machine and leaning over the cup with high anticipation before taking the first sip made it worth the price. Definately!

Would I buy it again tomorrow? Maybe, but probably not. This is a coffee for special occasions. I mean, one doesn't go around drinking vintage wine every day.