Honey Badger Seasonal Espresso
- December 2017
- Written by : Sam Sabori
National Manager of Quality Control and Roasting / Green Coffee Buyer
Seasonal Espresso Blend Development
Seasonal espresso development is always fun, as every blend comes with the challenge of balancing sweetness and fruit acids with a positive finish. And our approach to seasonal espressos makes the process even more enjoyable, since the roast profile we apply to potential blend components that is typically more suited to drip coffee than espresso. That means every coffee has exceptionally high levels of acids and high overall intensity. These conditions for blend development create an opportunity for our Education team to shine, and they tailor each blend to optimize what each component, and the overall blend, can and should be.
This year, we started the Honey Badger process by selecting our favorite coffees of the moment to see what sweetness and fruit notes each brought to the table. After some narrowing, we decided to focus on a blend consisting of three of our most vibrant single-origins: Tikur Anbessa Organic Ethiopia, Kurimi Organic Ethiopia and Los Inmortales El Salvador.
After the coffee selection, our Retail Education team devoted two weeks to Honey Badger. The first week, they experimented with ratios and extraction levels to determine what blend yielded the sweetest and most abundant fruit-driven espresso. On the second week, the team narrowed its efforts to two potential blends it extracted and tasted head-to-head until a favorite emerged. Once one was deemed the winner, we dug through the data to determine what notes were the most abundant and what redundancies we had at the extraction level.
The Honey Badger Standard
This espresso blend has a name to live up to. Honey Badger is a ferocious thick-skinned animal that is forever in pursuit of honey. Once it catches a scent, it won’t hesitate to challenge and/or eat anything in its path, because the honey badger don't care.
The driving force behind honey badger’s ruthless search for sweets is the same spirit that motivates us in developing this annual seasonal espresso. This blend should be dialed in to a level where sweetness and layered fruit notes are abundant. If the dial-in is difficult, remember, this blend is Ethiopian dominant: jammy notes should be present. We found a multitude of notes, but the hallmarks were raspberry, tangerine and brown sugar. The specs below are just a starting point, please feel free to explore.