This coffee was cupped blind, side-by-side with two other coffees from other origins. It was roasted to a level between light and medium (430 deg F bean temperature) and rested for about 12 hours prior to cupping, and 2 days prior to brewing. For more information on my roaster and method, see our reference page.
Home roasters take note: the beans seemed heavy (just a subjective impression), due, perhaps, to their density or moisture content, or both (I didn't do any weighing). And sure enough, during the roast, all my usual signs of roast progress were coming late. The beans hit first crack at 410 deg F, almost 10 degrees higher than usual and at 430F when I stopped the roast, they were still lighter in color than one would expect. Don't let that throw you off. At this roast level they were just fine, as confirmed by their aroma and later, by their cup profile. As for defects, I removed a couple of quakers but other than that, the beans are relatively defect-free.
There are some mighty fine coffees coming from the eastern highlands of Papua New Guinea this year and this is one of them. According to the label, the beans originate from a co-op in the Henganofi region of the eastern highlands and are all Arabica. In the grinder, it's earth, bacon and dry distillates. The wet aroma and break confirm the earthy quality with a bit of hazelnut thrown in. But in the cup a surprise; the coffee has quite an acidic snap with much more complexity than the aromas would indicate. This is a smooth, full-bodied cup with great depth, hints of fruit and nuts, an underlying, slightly earthy quality and chocolate nuances.
It's also surprisingly versatile. The SO espresso shot was complex with the cupping flavors noted above, greatly concentrated and just a touch of winey-metallic snap, due, no doubt to the medium, rather than darker roast. The cappuccino was extraordinary. If you're watching calories and still long for a satisfying desert, try this coffee as a cappa, slightly sweetened with your sweetener of choice. You may find yourself, as I was, reminded of chocolate malted milks I drank as a child. Yes indeed! It's also good brewed, but that cappa was hard to beat.
Some additional remarks by Jim:
Deep Plum and Black Walnut, with hints of chocolate and
smokey licorice, overlaid by a herbal note of mint and anise.
Buttery mouthfeel. Not sweet, but a fine dry balance. Medium
acidity keeps it lively. Utterly clean. A very fine cup.
As espresso: makes it completely undistorted to the shot; which is almost
miraculous. If you keep it very ristretto, there's enough
sweetness. I think this is a very fine SO espresso indeed. The
combination works and is quite unusual. Roast from the first
pops to start of the rolling second.
Dry Fragrance: 4.4
Wet Aroma: 4.4
TOTAL (subtotal + 50) 89.6