Ovis Canadensis

Posted by Austin Amento on

Coffee is a seasonal product, having only a few months in which the overall flavor expresses the finest characteristics of that particular bean, region, or producer. In the beginning of 2013, we debuted "Ursus Arctos ", an espresso blend consisting of two naturally-processed El Salvador coffees and two washed-processed Guatemalan coffees. By determining the best component ratio for each bean and balancing this with established degrees of roast, we were able to capture a beautiful profile demonstrating sumptuous berry aromatics and a resonant chocolate finish. 

By late April we were beginning the process of creating a new espresso blend that would be a response to both the changing seasons and also a complete shift in profile from "Ursus Arctos". This meant finding new, in-season offerings that could deliver something  unique but also contained the right elements for a balanced espresso. 
"Ovis Canadensis" is an effort to recreate a classic espresso blend. This refers to accentuating the  inherent qualities of each coffee being used in order to acquire the right amounts of body, acidity, sweetness, bitterness and aroma. With espresso, body and aroma are always exaggerated due to the preparation involved. Flavors and olfactory sensations are concentrated in espresso, and this can sometimes lead to acerbic or astringent properties. Structure than becomes key in retaining the great qualities of each coffee, while restraining undesirable traits. 
We decided  to source a Brazilian Mokka Peaberry in order to capture thick body without muting any aromas emanating from our other coffees. Normally a coffee cherry produces two seeds, but a Peaberry is a mutation in which one bean occupies the space of the other underdeveloped bean, thus fusing to create a compact shape. Generally, these beans do not produce any significant difference in flavor quality, but when crossed-bred with the Mokka varietal, we are left with a deep chocolate body without the impediment of the usual "nutty" Brazil taste. 
The next step was finding a coffee to provide stability between body and aroma. This coffee would have to be incredibly balanced and not render the overall blend of being too rounded. Naturally, Antiguan coffees from Guatemala are renowned for their stone-fruit aroma, crisp acidity, and clean finish. In other words, this coffee would not present anything extraordinary as a shot of espresso, but would instead act as a buffer between skewed profiles. The last step in this process was then bent on finding a coffee to encapsulate aroma, while also keeping with our goals of creating a classic blend. 
Since classic blends tend to  utilize South American, Central American, and East African coffees, we knew that only Ethiopia could offer the brilliant, distinct aroma to our espresso that we desired. Located within the Borena Zone of Ethiopia, Kochere is a southern Ethiopian coffee noted for its lively, bright acidity and engaging floral aroma. When roasted for espresso, this coffee presents a dominant, perfumed fragrance while subduing much of its acidity in order to present a nippy lemon-lime quality. 
The result of these converging coffees is what we consider to be "classic"; enticing aromas, carrying coffee blossom, jasmine and lemon peel leading to a malted chocolate finish with a brief window of resonant flavors. It's laconic approach is meant to herald in those long,  listless days of summer. Perfect as an iced coffee or paired with cold milk. 
-Robert Rybak