Starbucks is now offering two new amazing Reserve coffees: Guatemala Antigua Finca Medina and the Maui Mokka coffee. I went to a coffee seminar last Monday (January 7, 2013) and had the chance to try these new two offerings, and pair them with food. At the Olive Way Starbucks, Coffee Master Donna, and Coffee-Master-In-Training Danielle lead the seminar. It was a small group, and we had a great time trying the new coffees. I was totally impressed with the new Maui Mokka. It's a very unique coffee!
First, we tried the Guatemala Antigua Finca Medina:
This is a wash-processed coffee, and is grown on about 10 hectares in Guatemala. A "wash-processed" coffee is one where the layers of the soft cherry is removed from the actual coffee bean with both running water and an immersion into water. That's an over simplified explanation, but I mention it because the process method affects the flavor profile of the coffees. A washed bean often will have bright, clean flavors, and some acidity to them.
This coffee's beans have an aroma of dark chocolate. It has a pretty big body for a washed, Latin American coffee. The Guatemala was paired with the Berry Medley Chocolate Bites. We (meaning the group in attendance for the tasting) agreed that the blueberry chocolate bites were the best with this coffee. Definitely a nice delicious coffee for someone looking for a very flavorful medium-body coffee. The flavor profile is a bit tart, and has berry and dark chocolate notes.
This was an exciting coffee to try! I had no idea what to expect, so I was really surprised at how very bold, dark, and complex this coffee is. As I understand it, the coffee trees are harvested on land that was once a sugar plantation on Maui, and this coffee is processed with a natural processing method. When one talks about the "natural processing" method, usually one pictures the coffee cherries laid out on tarps, drying in the sunshine. Again, this is an over simplified explanation. The natural (or sometimes called the "sun-dried" method) was developed in coffee growing regions with scarce rainfall, such as Ethiopia. After drying on a tarp, once the cherries reach the right level of moisture, the soft layers of cherry are removed from the bean with a hulling machine. This process method is known to create extremely flavorful coffee beans because the beans absorb flavor notes from the cherries due to the drying method.
What is remarkable about the Maui Mokka beans is that rather than the ripe coffee cherries drying on tarps, the cherries are not picked from the trees until they are already very dry. I have to be honest, I am surprised by this. And I am not sure even know that I understand it. I completely understand the concept of ripe cherries being picked, and then thrown in streams of water to remove the cherry from the coffee. And I understand, letting ripe cherries get very dry and then using a hulling machine to remove the soft cherry from the bean. But I had never heard of coffee cherries being picked when they've reached a point beyond ripe, and they're already so dry that they can be manually hulled with a machine. If anyone has more information on this, I welcome it.
The Maui Mokka paired beautifully with the reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake. The coffee has some spice notes to it, and one can taste a very slight roastiness to it. This appears to be one of the darker Reserve coffee offerings. It's hard to describe this flavor. It seemed to have red wine-like flavor notes to it, in my tasting of it. The coffee masters at Olive Way described it as "chocolate mouth feel" and "brown spice." I think it may be all of those things!
One more very remarkable this about this coffee is the size of the coffee beans. They are very tiny coffee beans! In fact, they're sort of cute! I tried to get a good photo showing off the Maui Mokka beans compared side-by-side with the Guatemala. If you get a chance to get to a Clover store to try this coffee, you really should. It's one to experience. Here are the two coffee beans:
I'll end with a few more photos from this coffee seminar. Be sure to click onto the pictures to make them larger: