We never anticipated that Dr Strangelove Espresso, with it’s motto “stop worrying love the brew” could be so poignant. Whatever is going on out there, I think many of us are taking a moment to appreciate some of life’s more simple pleasures.
Coffee, as delicious and interesting as it is, doesn’t need to be over complicated. It’s coffee.
And this is the inspiration for Dr Strangelove Espresso.
Dr Strangelove’s motto: ‘Stop worrying and Love the brew’, speaks of our desire to make the world of dazzling single-origin coffees accessible to everyone.
Information about origin, processing, varietal and flavour notes are interesting, yes. As coffee professionals, we love the opportunity to geek out on these details.
But as a consumer, it can feel intimidating. We get that.
And the truth is, you don’t need to know these details to love the brew.
You can sit back and enjoy this fantastic coffee, knowing that it was sourced, grown, picked, processed, roasted, ground and made with care.
That a dedication to quality and ethical sourcing throughout the supply chain has made it into the cup. That this year’s Dr Strangelove Espresso is possibly our best yet.
Of course, if you’d like to hear the full story. You can also keep reading.
We first heard of the farmers in El Tablon from our long time friends in Cauca, Colombia, the Dorronsoro family from La Marianela.
El Tablon is one of the most southern coffee producing towns in all of Colombia. We were intrigued to learn that the farmers here were producing a ‘floral’ honey process coffee.
We knew as soon as we tasted it that this was the perfect coffee for this year’s Dr Strangelove.
Honey processed coffee is particularly rare in Colombia, compared with other parts of the world.
The boozy, fermented flavours (which make this such an interesting and rich coffee) are very different to the flavours which Colombian coffees are best known for, and to the Colombian coffee industry’s target flavour profile.
The extended fermentation comes with a higher risk for farmers. They need to monitor moisture content and reach a careful balance between flavours, adding complexity without becoming overwhelming or going sour.
When successful, the flavours that a honey process produces are sought after and can produce much better returns. So the risks are often worth it for the farmers and mean a more interesting and delicious cup for coffee drinkers.
Once ripe coffee cherries are picked, they must be processed to remove the skins, the fruit of the cherry and the mucliage (a gluey substance produced by the plant) before the green (unroasted) beans are sent to us for roasting.
How a farmer chooses to process their coffee will have an impact on the final flavour in the cup.
In honey processing, the skins of the coffee cherries are removed but the mucilage is left on the seed to dry.
The sticky texture and the golden amber colour of the mucilage is why it’s known as the honey process, – there’s no actual “honey” used at any stage.
The mucilage is left on the beans to ferment and imparts a punchy fruit flavour. In the case of Dr Strangelove 2020, this adds acidity and those delicious kirsch boozy flavours.
Once the fermentation is finished and the cherries are dried, they are dry milled to remove the remaining parchment skin.
Coffee is a plant. The crops change year on year
And this is what makes the world of single origin coffees so exciting.
They are a celebration of a particular harvest, farm, region, country. A moment in time, captured in the cup.
Sometimes, consistency is key. If you’re a busy cafe for example, you may not want your house espresso to radically change year on year. This is where the art of blending comes in (more of that here). A delicious cup which tastes consistent regardless of seasonal changes.
A single origin coffee is a celebration of these differences.
Our job as a coffee roaster is to make them sing. To find a roast profile which brings out acidity and complex fruit notes, where the sugars caramelise to create interesting sweetness.
Each year we look for an incredible coffee to showcase the skill and quality of a single farm for Dr Strangelove.
A particular harvest, from a particular farm, captured in one delicious brew.