Over the years, I’ve never been a huge fan of single origin espresso. I’ve always cited the same reasons as others that criticize single origin espresso: I enjoy espresso when it is multi-dimensional, and espresso from just one bean always seems to turn out one-dimensional. I’ve always loved tasting single origin espressos though, starting back with Flying Five when I was blending the various espresso blends we created. But, I’d never found one that I wanted to drink every day of the week.
Last year, my opinion started to change, however with a few Nicaraguan espressos from Victrola and Coava. Those were the first single origin espressos that I had that I wanted to drink day after day. They were complex, interesting and multi-dimensional. I’m not sure what the right way to say this is, but perhaps their different tastes still fall closer to one another than a “traditional” espresso made up from different beans from all over the world.
Then, this year, I ran across two single origins at the same time that together completely changed my opinion. The first was a Panama from Verve. While not incredibly complex, the clarity and purity of the flavor notes far outweighed any lack of complexity objections. Verve didn’t carry it for long, but while they did, I drank it pretty much every day, and thoroughly enjoyed every single one.
These Nicaraguan and Panama espressos altered my “lack of complexity” objection. Sometimes, the clarity and purity of a flavor note can outweigh other factors. Who says all interesting tastes have to be complicated?
Then, I was visiting Huckleberry Roasters in Denver, and they had a fascinating Rwanda. This particular single origin espresso had tons of complexity, and even more interestingly, it changed its taste substantially as it cooled. The resulting taste journey was as interesting or more interesting than any multi-bean espresso blend.
So, I’ve been converted from a single origin espresso dabbler to a full-on supporter. There still aren’t lots of them out there that I would drink day in and day out, but it sure is fun to go looking for them.