One of the first lessons of coffee education is "compare, compare, compare." It's very important to compare and contrast more than one coffee in a coffee seminar. I've known Starbucks coffee masters who would say that if you're not comparing and contrasting coffees, you'll get far less out of your tasting. Yesterday (February 27, 2016), I dropped by the Starbucks at 4th and Union, and caught up with the store manager, Jason. We drifted into a conversation about what it might be like to compare Guatemala Finca Monte David and the core Starbucks Guatemala Antigua coffees. Jason mentioned that he has a barista who will certify soon as a coffee master and so they'd been talking a lot about good coffee education experiences comparing two or more coffees.
It was fairly slow, so we threw together a quick coffee tasting. Both coffees were brewed using the Clover coffee brewer. One interesting thing is that when you look at the actual coffee beans, you can see right away that the core Guatemala Antigua coffee is roasted at a darker roast profile than the Guatemala Finca Monte David:
The Guatemala Finca Monte David is a wash-processed Latin American coffee, roasted at what appears to be a fairly light roast profile treatment. It's described as having "citrus and sweet honey flavors and a subtle chocolate finish." For food pairings, try chocolate, nuts, and citrus.
First off, in case you're curious, here's the burlap sack containing Guatemala Finca Monte David green coffee:
(I drop by the Roastery often, and love to peek at what coffee is stacked near the "green coffee loading pit." I take lots of pics of the coffee near the green coffee loading pit - sure enough, I had a pic of the Finca Monte David burlap sacks on my phone.)
All of the Starbucks Reserve coffees are roasted at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room:
I thoroughly enjoyed the Finca Monte David coffee. I thought it was surprisingly full, robust and smooth, given that it's a washed Latin American coffee. This coffee is described by Starbucks to be 'high acidity' which means that it's less smooth than a very dark roast coffee, like Caffe Verona. I definitely smelled some of the citrus in the aroma, and got a lingering cocoa finish.
The Monte David farm sits on the slopes of the San Lucas Toliman volcano, and coffee is grown at an elevation of about 5,000 to 5,900 feet. The card itself has a design inspired by landscape of the Monte David farm: Volcanoes reflected in a lake, the native wildflowers, and the range of colors sparkling in the water as the sun starts to set.
Next up we tried the core Starbucks Guatemala Antigua coffee:
Starbucks describes this coffee as having a medium roast profile, though it seems that it might be on the darker end of the medium spectrum. I'm not an expert in roast profile! This is a delicious coffee. I could smell the roasty sweetness, cocoa, and soft spice in the aroma. This is an under appreciated coffee! By the way, this coffee is wonderful through a variety of brew methods. Whether you're making it in a French press, a Sowden Softbrew, or something else, I think this coffee holds up well.
I love that Guatemala Antigua is a flavorful sweet coffee with a hint of roastiness. Starbucks describes it has unfolding flavors of "lemon, chocolate, and soft spice." I can definitely get the lemon more upfront and hits all over the mouth. It lingers in the mouth.
Well, you just have to try it. It's a great core coffee.
(In the "Featured photo" for this article, the coffee beans aren't matched with which coffee they're from. The darker beans are associated with the core Guatemala and the lighter ones, the Reserve coffee.)
When it was all done, I added a sticker to my digital coffee passport!