Sapsucker Returns!

Posted: September 9, 2013 - 1:15pm

UPDATE: This coffee is now out of stock and will return in the fall of 2014.

The original Sapsucker Espresso Blend—released in December of 2011, was designed around a fully-washed Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. The concept was based on our love of the delicate and complex profile of Ethiopian coffees, and was an attempt to heighten the presence of flavor attributes we loved in an espresso blend, without losing any of the subtly to either roasting approach or extraction parameters.

This year’s iteration, spurred similarly by the recent arrival of Ethiopian coffees in our warehouse from the Limu Kossa region, is a variation on the same theme. We challenged ourselves to create an espresso blend of entirely fresh crop northern-hemisphere African coffees. With a berth of Kenyas and Ethiopias to choose from, we selected two of the Limu lots and one from our favored Gikanda co-op, and worked with a number of roast profiles to find the ideal treatment for each individual coffee.

After determining the roast profile for individual components, we then retained a sample in Chicago and sent the same coffee to our labs in Los Angeles and New York, where each facility had the opportunity to create their own blend iterations and discuss the findings. Part of the process of blend-building for our Black Cat Project, and indeed an important protocol during our weekly espresso quality control procedures, involves tasting blend components individually before blending them together.

Once a general consensus on blend percentages and extraction profiles was reached, our Sapsucker Espresso for 2013 was born.

Our flavor notes include a bright, yet not untamed acidity that expresses itself much like a meyer lemon or key lime. The juicy heart of each shot is rife with stone fruit flavors, predominately peach and apricot, with a resonant, sparkling finish of champagne, raspberries, and jasmine petals. The blend is roasted relatively lightly, and composed of rather dense coffees. So we’d definitely recommend resting the coffee for at least a week after the roast date, and degassing the coffee for 12 to 18 hours before pulling shots.