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Old 10-04-2012, 09:58 AM   #1
Mad Dawg
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Republic of Texas
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High-altitude coffee

Not grown at high altitude, consumed at high altitude. I just returned from a week in Colorado. This is an annual trip for Mrs. Dawg and me, but this year I tried something different: Instead of roasting up a week's worth of coffee ahead of time and taking it with me, I took my roaster and did batches every other day.

I did 3 different Ethiopian nats that I've been digging (Saris Abaya from SM's, Konga and Gedeo Worka from Klatch), and drip brewed each. Roasts were stopped at the first suggestion of second crack. I split each batch in half, so rest times were 12 and 36 hours for each roast.

Summary of results: Different.

None of the coffees tasted the same as they did back home, generally not even close. Most of the fruitiness was gone, and the coffees all seemed a touch more acidic. I've been trying to think of why that might be, and several things come to mind.

1. At the elevation where we stayed (7000ft), water boils at 198 degrees. That's got to affect the brewing part of the equation.

2. Ambient temps are lower than normal Houston temps.

3. I had a very robust electrical outlet, so roast times were actually shorter despite the lower temps.

4. The air is very much drier in Colorado than it is in Houston...like 9% vs. 90% RH.

I think the humidity is the big factor. After just a few hours, I could feel discomfort in my sinuses as they dried out. That had to affect my ability to pick up on subtle flavors. And it is uncomfortable.

In any case, just a few observations for discussion.
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