Coming up with new blends is both fun and challenging at the same time. Sometimes the most delightful flavors of single origins are what shine through in a blend, and sometimes it just ends up tasting muddy and bland (done that a few times!). The roast level matters (of course), but flavors are different if you pre-blend and roast it all together, compared to roasting each coffee individually and blend post-roast. And sometimes blends are a happy accident of trying something purely to see what comes out of the roaster. This is the story of Safari Roast.
During a recent supply inventory I found I only had a few pounds each of Burundi and Rwanda beans, and not enough of either to run a full batch. Burundi beans bring a clean flavor with bright acidity that is well balanced with a lasting sweetness. Rwanda beans have delicate, buttery, almost tea-like characters, making it ideal for a lighter roast, and a creamy body brings a pleasing mouthfeel. Then the question was what to throw in as the 3rd origin to round out this experiment. Well, the first two are from Africa, so let's stay on that continent and go with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe - because, why not, it's just an experiment. Yirgacheffe has winey tannic and berry notes with a complex but clean flavor that I hoped would blend well with the other two without overpowering them. So into the roaster they all went.
The roast went beautifully, and was finished juuuuuust into first crack (a topic for another post). Now the wait. Gotta give those beautiful brown flavor nuggets a time to off-gas before brewing it. (Freshly roasted coffee emits carbon dioxide gas for 24-48 hours post roast. So just like resting a fine filet mignon after it comes off the grill, letting coffee rest a day or two before tasting lets the CO2 escape and not interfere with the flavor.)
The results? Way better than expected. Light body and bright acidity are balanced well by the creaminess from the Rwanda, red berry notes, and a clean, lingering, sweet aftertaste that is simply delightful. After getting it out to the markets (and neighbors) for sampling, the almost unanimous conclusion is that we are going to be adding Safari Roast to the Two Labs line-up.
Sound like something you'd like to try? It will be available on the website as soon as we get the label design complete and printed. Check back soon! (And to think I was just trying to use up the last of some beans I wasn't planning to keep in stock. Whoops. I love a happy accident.)