So here’s the inside scoop with a lot of coffee blends: They are a coffee roaster’s leftovers. They are the old crop that needs to move, the coffee that didn’t get sold, the lot that came in not tasting so great but needs to get used anyway. Blends are the culinary equivalent of the Chef’s Special, food that needs to get used up.
We wanted to do it different.
We have been offering the Red Bear Espresso as our house blend since inception, but even the designation “espresso” doesn’t feel necessary or really true anymore. And these days we change up the components of it every couple months, so it isn’t even what it used to be (originally 70% Brazil/30% Ethiopia, we haven’t bought or used any Brazil in almost a year). So after a lot of deliberation we have decided to end the Red Bear Espresso, to make way for an updated take.
For some time now we have been discussing the details and values of changing the way coffee blends are done, and firming up what our take would be. So we had these factors as a starting point:
1. We want to offer delicious blends that we will be proud of, ones we like to take home and drink.
2. We only buy high quality coffees that are distinct and stand alone, be it fruit forward Kenyans or chocolatey Guatemalans.
3. We don’t have coffee that sits around and gets old, really. We work hard and plan our menus very carefully.
Given these factors, what kind of blends could we do? Let me introduce two upcoming blends:
Fresh Crop Bright and Fresh Crop Balanced.
We are inverting the norm of coffee blends; we are going to use the freshest coffees we have in, and blend them simply by two designations: bright and balanced. We are going to celebrate the seasonality of coffee, do away with the Espresso label, and let coffee be open to your preferred use. Bright will be a blend of whatever new Eastern Africans we have in house, focusing on the floral and fruit forward aspects of them. And Balanced will be a mixing of our current Central Americans and South Americans when they come, which will be stone fruit nuances, more chocolate and approachable.
And the name was subject to long debate. Instead of making something poetic or representative of some abstract, we opted for straitforward. Corey came up with Fresh Crop and Mark came up with Bright and Balanced, and I thought they were great ideas :). A collaborative effort, let’s tell it like it is, as clearly as we can.
Our focus is and always will be single origins, but we decided to make blends that are more representative of our philosophy and taste. While some roasters are doing an awesome job with making tasty, fresh blends it is by and large a rarity. It is time for a change in perspective. Keep your eyes peeled in the next couple of weeks.