Coffee origin: Ethiopia
Last Roasted on: 2021-12-15 18:38
Polar Expresso Holiday Blend:
Espresso shots produce distilled flavors of dark chocolate bar, chocolate ganache, cranberry, blueberry, tart citrus rind, and more. Thick mouthfeel lasting bittersweetness. City++ to Full City+. Fantastic espresso.
I think we're going on our 5th year of putting together a holiday blend. We went 16 years without one, but our initial outing with "Esprestletoe" proved that this time of year affords us so many delicious coffee options to blend with, that coming up with a delicious and short-lived holiday blend only makes sense (plus creating kooky images for kooky blend names is half the fun!). Blend construction is about stringing together coffees that compliment one another, and that coalesce into a cup profile not possible from one individual component. Polar Expresso does just that. With the holiday season in mind, we cupped through the bulk of our African coffees, choosing a high scoring, wet process coffees from Ethiopia, Burundi, as well as a small amount of Kenya for a vibrant twist. All three coffees scored above 88 points on their own. Needless to say, much like the holidays can be for some, this blend is quite complex! We set out to create an intense chocolate profiled espresso, with high sweetness, fruit tones, and acidity that can be tempered with roast. My favorite roast for straight espresso shots is at the outside edge of City+ (almost FC), which in my Quest translates to 1st crack at 400F and pulling at 425F roughly 2:30 after the beginning of 1st crack. Full City and Full City+ will work well too, the latter being a great milk drink option since bittersweetness is intense, as is a sweet undercurrent. If your roaster has manual heat or fan control will be able to pull back energy at or just before 1st snaps, extending the time of roast development (careful not to stall!) in order to dial back acidity. If you don't have manual control of your machine, you can always try adjusting batch size to slow overall roast time. No matter what your roast method is, Polar Expresso is sure to brighten up your holiday party with an acidic snap that just might incite a puckering situation (as the name suggests!).
We roasted Polar Expresso to three different levels, and found the outside edge of City+ to be the optimal starting point for espresso extraction. This is where the tart 'zing' of lemony acidity is tempered by simple syrup-like sweetness, and pervading flavor of high % cacao bar. This is an all African blend, so you can bet the smells from the grinder are fruited, slightly floral (at City+ and FC), and with bittersweetness from roast at more developed roast levels. It pulls beautifully too, producing cream ale-like crema, which perhaps is no real indicator of quality but certainly looks attractive! Putting my nose to the cup, the aroma is filled with bittersweet chocolate and berry fruit tones, laced with a mix of burned sugars, and unrefined molasses. Ristretto shots of our City++ roast (400F 1st crack / 425F finish) showed distilled flavors of dark chocolate bar and dried citrus rind on the tip of your tongue, the mouthfeel exceptionally creamy, like thick coffee creamer. This silky liquor weighs heavily on the palate, boosting the effect of cocoa roast tones, and letting it sit in your mouth produces a layered chocolate effect, like dark chocolate ganache, high % cacao bar, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup, and more. A delicious tart fruit flavor cuts through it all too, and starts off like cranberry, quickly moving toward a darker blueberry note that rides through the aftertaste. My darkest roast hit 2nd snaps in the cooling tray (400F 1st crack / 440 finish) and though maybe a touch too dark for my taste the level of sweetness is impressive and shows like toffee crumble, and chocolate/cocoa roast tones have an intense smokiness, leaving just enough room in the profile for a dark stone fruit top note to peek through. A holiday espresso blend from us to you, Polar Expresso is only available until the end of the year.