dotCross Coffee Project

Appreciation of coffee and everything around it, updates daily around 9pm CT.
Based in but not restricted to Hyde Park, Chicago

Our volunteers working real hard at the first ever dotCross Coffee Project pourover bar, held at Harper Cafe. You guys are awesome!

We served and spoke to over a hundred people, students, professors and everyone else. It was wonderful to see so much interest in specialty coffee, and we hoped we’ve provided a good experience with coffee for you guys. Hopefully you brought home a little more knowledge about coffee.

The first coffee we had was the Tairora Cherry Project, a coffee from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The Tairora Project is an example of Counter Culture’s direct trade model: Counter Culture worked directly with the Tairora People of PNG and this was the result. It’s different from the rest of the coffee in the region, and personally I think it’s wonderful. Particularly, its sweeter and a little more complex, with lighter notes of ginger against a stonefruit flavor. I tried a batch that was roasted separately, and got real strong sundried tomatoes on it. Again, it shows how differences in processing the bean before it becomes a cup makes a huge difference. We used the v60, hoping to bright out the brighter flavors. For the coffee geeks we did 15gms to 240gms of water, shooting for a 3min brew.

The second coffee was the Nueva Llusta, from Bolivia. This was had chocolate notes with a really strong dried raisin and cherry flavor to it. After cupping and brewing with it, we decided to use the Aeropress with this: we felt the cup produced was much more balanced and a better overall experience. This was a 2:20min brew.

One of the questions that I got a lot was “why is coffee so different?” and so I thought I’d just answer it here as well.

It starts with the varietal of plant, there’s a whole bunch of them and they all have different genetic makeups and different compounds in them, or different proportions of compounds in them. Some might be sweeter, some more acidic. Where you plant any varietal also makes a huge difference, very much like wine. A Chardonnay from France ain’t the same as a Chardonnay from California: the altitude, climate, soil PH all affect the plants development and the resulting compounds in the seed.

Subsequently, how the cherries are processed makes a difference. Whether you pluck em ripe, whether you pluck em overripe (sweeter). Whether you remove the pulp before drying or the other way around. Whether you dry it on concrete patios or on suspended baskets or even earth. How often you rake the drying seeds. It all makes a difference as to how the compounds breakdown and become the flavor compounds.

Then it’s the roast, the degree of roast affects how the flavor compounds develop: darker roasts tend to have more caramels and ash, which results in the smoky and dark coffees a lot of us are used to. But it’s again all dependent on the bean you get before roasting. Which depends on all the factors above!

And then the brewing method too, it makes a difference as to how the coffee tastes if you French Press (full bodied) it or you siphon it(much cleaner)

We are really happy answering questions, because once we find something we don’t know, it’s a new area for us to read up on. So ask away!

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