Last summer I spent a week at an Aunt & Uncle’s house in Virginia. One night, my cousin and I went out, got some food, saw a movie, and hung out with one of his friends. On the way back to his house, we had an incredibly memorable conversation about life, family, love, and future. As we conversed, music was playing in the background – Mumford & Sons to be specific. It’s interesting because now, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I hear a Mumford & Sons song, I think back to that night and the memories that were made. Perhaps you’ve had something similar happen – some association of a taste, smell, or song with imagery, or a memory of some kind.
In the coffee community we use strong words to describe the taste or smell found in a cup of coffee. Words like “nutty,” “fruity,” or sometimes specific phrases like “notes of cherry.” These words aren’t meant to put the coffee in a box, and we’re definitely not saying that those cups of coffee will taste exclusively like cashews or a fruit salad. Instead, they are meant to be guidelines that describe the overall feeling that the coffee produces. That’s why two people who are tasting the same cup of coffee may analyze it slightly differently. Overall, they should be similar, but not necessarily exactly the same. The coffee experience is an artful process – often subjective, but always beautiful.
Rosetta Roastery takes this to the next level, yet does it in a way that is simple and effective.
I first learned about Rosetta Roastery after I completed my review of the Haas Coffee Collective last year. Both companies are located in Cape Town, South Africa, and both are passionate in their love of quality coffee. Rosetta Roastery only roasts select single origin coffees from some of the top coffee farms, estates and co-ops around the globe. Regarding their selection of coffee growers:
They are stand-alone gems… bastions of quality… beacons of hope. The reason we can say this with such confidence is because our sourcing model is so thorough. We painstakingly cup, sample, cup, sample, cup, sample, and finally source single origin coffees precisely for their unique flavour profiles.
Rosetta provided me with three coffees: Yirgacheffe Ethiopia, Chimbu Png, and Nyeri Peaberry. Each bag came with a description on the back, yet it was a description unlike any I’ve ever come across. Rather than listing what the coffee tasted like (fruity, bright, dark, etc) each had a small story. In an attached letter that Rosetta sent with my coffee they stated:
…each coffee receives a mental snapshot, or written personality with its various flavour and aroma notes woven into the description. We find this helps our customers engage with each coffee in a manner worthy of the unique creation that it is.
Below are the snapshots provided by Rosetta, immediately followed by my review for each 0f the three coffees that I received.
Nyeri Peaberry – Kenya:
The pistol landed with a thud, its walnut grip upsetting a glass of St Julian red. Muzzle smoke curled lazily upward, the air of flint infusing with aromas of black cherries and spices as the spilt wine advanced towards the Captain’s veal. Outside a train rumbled past.
I found the Nyeri Peaberry to be syrupy, with hints of caramel. It was, quite frankly, bursting forth with flavor. Bright accents were present from the first taste, and staid constant the whole way through. My first cup seemed very acidic, but after perfecting my grind and press I found it to only be mildly acidic, yet extremely tasty. The cup got better with time, and each sip was accompanied with a strong aftertaste. Had I not seen any of the beans, the intense flavor was a dead give away that this was a peaberry.
Chimbu – Papua New Guinea
The villagers were overjoyed that Max was abroad for the summer. His niece Virginia had arrived in town, and her mild, sweet demeanour was a welcome change to his lunacy. As she passed by, her floral sundress and strawberry blonde locks certainly did nothing to mar my view of the orchards.
I experienced the Chimbu as being stronger than either of the other two coffees I received. Smelling the whole beans reveals deep, beautifully scented notes of fruits and flowers – like a well tended garden. The brew itself had very warm notes overall, with some floral hints. The taste was constant throughout the cup, and extremely enjoyable.
Washed Yirgacheffe – Ethiopia
While Lake Como is lovely at this time of year, it’s always ruined by those horribly gaudy celevrity galas – red carpets, black ties, orange skin. I prefer more elegant thrills; the subtle hint of honeysuckle on a spring breeze; a fragrant cup of Earl Grey tea, the warm citrus scent of marmalade on toast.
The Washed Yirgacheffe was my favorite of the three coffees tasted. It was incredibly fruity, like a blueberry and peach combination. The coffee had an incredibly rich scent, both as beans and as brew. With a flash of taste at the beginning of each sip, this coffee caught my attention over and over again. Like a musk, it was enticing and kept me coming back for more. Each sip ended with the crazy fruity notes described earlier and an incredibly sweet finish.
Rosetta Roastery wrote to me saying that they are passionate about exposing people to the diversity of coffee. By focusing on single origins and not blending roasts, they hope to show that every coffee is unique and delicious. Providing one single type of coffee at a time allows Rosetta to advertise the incredibly variance that each individual roast can bring to the table. Diversity in singularity is the mantra I would give them.
Quite simply, Rosetta Roastery is accomplishing two great things at once. First, they are providing a quality product by ensuring they focus on one roast at a time, getting each one perfect. Secondly, they are benefiting the consumer by educating them on what great coffee tastes like. And, as I found out by sipping on their delicious roasts, great coffee doesn’t have to be mixed from places across the globe.
You can buy the coffees reviewed here, and several other roasts as well, by visiting Rosetta Roastery’s website.
If you’re new to the coffee experience, Rosetta Roastery is a great place to try quality single-origin coffee and get started on your new coffee adventure. If you’re a veteran coffee drinker, Rosetta is an excellent place to expand your palette as it provides coffee from all over the world. And, being a single-origin roaster, you know exactly what you’re getting and where it’s from.
The Coffee Guy