I am a big fan of Todd Carmichael’s work at La Colombe Coffee Roasters. Recently, my loving wife bought me “Todd’s Faves: World Tour”, which is three cardboard tubes with two ounces of coffee each: Mexico – El Mirador, Ethiopia – Werka Bauka, and Brazil – Moreninha Formosa (http://shop.lacolombe.com/products/todds-faves-world-tour).
The La Colombe website has a description of each of these coffees which I could not improve upon, so I will just say that these are certainly exquisite coffees that are masterfully roasted. The flavors are exactly as promised, and perfectly fresh. We started with the Brazil – Moreninha Formosa, which to me did not taste exactly like the description, but instead tasted of chocolate covered cherries up front, with chocolate orange flavor coming in later on. When hot, the chocolate cherries really came through in the aroma and taste, but as the coffee cooled a bit, the cherries went to the back and the chocolate orange popped out much more. The Brazilian was definitely full bodied without needing a dark roast, and did I mention it was fresh?
That freshness impresses me almost as much as the flavors in the coffee. I have written before on the subject of mass produced specialty coffee, and a warehouse approach fell well short of impressing me. La Colombe, however, obviously nailed the logistics and delivered a fresh, beautiful coffee that bloomed as expected in the Hario V60.
The consumer does pay a premium for that freshness. The coffee is shipped directly from the roaster in Pennsylvania, and the shipping cost is passed directly to the consumer, but the direct shipping is not the secret to freshness. A lot of coffee moves through USPS, FedEx, and UPS every day. Some is old, nitrogen flushed stock, and some is roasted and shipped. La Colombe clearly takes extra care to ship coffee immediately after roasting so that it will be ready to drink on arrival. Coffee needs to off-gas for two to three days prior to drinking, and these coffees arrived in cardboard tubes that allow for off-gassing during shipping. While this is not exactly a new, genius approach, it does take extra care, which La Colombe coffees deserve, especially if they are Todd’s Faves.