Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sulawesi Goo Goo Muck

I got this coffee from Sweet Maria's to make my total purchase the mandatory $15 minimum.  It cost $2 and I figured I could at least try it to see what makes bad coffee bad.  And now I know. Roasted at a full city, the beans are an ugly mottled tan, brown, and black, and emit a weird funk.

The first few sips invite you with a generic coffee taste, a little acidity, and a little bitterness.  The sourness (or acidity) persists throughout the cup, but the tastes begin to flesh out: wood, wavering between popcicle stick tastes and rotten, a raw quality to it that tastes muddy and dirty, but mostly swampy, and a lingering bitterness that makes you wonder if strychnine is present in the cup.

The only "good" cups I've had of this bean were the ones were I inadvertantly flooded my manual drip filter with water so that the beans didn't extract fully.  The results taste somewhat like perked coffee.

So why am I drinking this coffee that tastes like my backyard in the springtime?  Well, I'm sort of using the Sulawesi as my "lead" standard.  Coffees that have tastes similar to this are rated low, while coffees that improve upon the Sulawesi's tastes (ie, instead of wood, cinnamon.  Instead of mud, rustic sweetness. Instead of bitterness, bittersweet.) are rated higher.  Of course, not all coffees will have tastes remotely analagous to the Sulawesi.  But the Sulawesi gives me a broad idea of what makes a bad cup of coffee:

It's much too bitter for a full city roast.  The tastes are overwhelmingly strong, jarring, and terrible.

But, as far as an educational tool for coffee, I'd say this is a pretty darn good cup. 
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