It’s back and it’s better than ever — so sayeth the creator himself! This year’s batch of Velton’s special, limited edition blend crafted specifically for the holidays is a rich brew with hints of chocolate, nutmeg and strawberry-rhubarb. Sounds delicious, right? Well, according to Velton, this may be his best holiday blend yet.
Featuring beans from Ethiopia Moredocofe, Panama Boquete Volcancito and Sumatra Harimau, it’s blended to perform well as both an espresso and drip coffee. It’s also packaged in a pretty lil’ glossy red bag with a seasonally-accented label, making it perfect for holiday gift giving.
We highly recommend picking up a bag for yourself or someone you love — it will be available until 1/15/11 or while supplies last.
Unless the roaster is using some type of preservative measure (such as the nitrogen flush used by large roaster Lavazza), coffee starts aging within its sealed bag from the moment it’s roasted. We set aside bags from March and June batches of Velton’s Bonsai Blend to compare the aged coffee against coffee roasted last week.
Check out our test and take a moment to appreciate our dedicated commitment to science — we tasted some seriously nasty shots for the team, people!
While you won’t find us purporting that cleanliness is next to godliness, you will hear us talk about keeping your gadgets clean for the good of all involved. Because darker roasts (such as French or Italian) bring so much of the bean’s natural oil to the surface, we wondered how this impacts a grinder’s burrs: Does it clog more easily and quickly? Do you need to clean your grinder more often if you’re using this type of bean/roast? What kind of residue does it leave in comparison to grinding medium roast beans?
To determine this, we put two Baratza Virtuosos to the test. Over a month period, we ran the timer on each of them twice each day, using Velton’s Treehouse drip coffee in one and some particularly intense French Roast Gail picked up at Costco in the other. Then we opened them up to find out what kind of residue was left on the burrs.
Watch as Gail takes them apart, meticulously studies them and then tests how easy it is to clean them (using Grindz).
In answer to the oft posed question ‘can’t I just use pre-ground coffee from __[insert your favorite store/roastery/cafe here]__?’, we have held an aging test.
We’re big on freshly grinding your coffee before each shot, as pre-ground starts to dry out (even in air-tight containers) within the first 24 hours. To show you how the shots degrade, we dialed in and ground a bunch of coffee, then pulled a shot the day of for baseline purposes. We then pulled shots 24, 48, 72 hours and 1 full week later to show how the shots measured up — and to give our unequivocal vocal and facial feature responses to their flavor. Yowza!
Watch Gail as we go through the initial testing and then check in throughout the subsequent week.
We spent an afternoon up at Hario USA (now Roustabout Products) earlier this year and posted a wide array of videos from that field trip. But there’s nothing like a Gail review, is there? So we asked her to show us the ropes on how to use one of the Hario pour overs. Watch as she talks to us about the process and whips up a smooth cup of coffee using Velton’s Twilight Blend. Delish!
When the weather starts heating up, we love nothing better than a rich iced coffee drink. Seriously — nothing. In the past, we have be known to brew espresso directly onto ice or pour out hot-brewed drip or press coffee into an iced cup, knowing that there would be dilution in the mix. We are now converts, however, of the cold brew coffee preparation — specifically, Hario’s Cold Brew Pot makes a deliciously smooth and rich cup of coffee.
Gail tried it out with Velton’s Twilight Blend and there were cheers all around. For the coffee AND the cups, obviously. Check it out!
The final video (yes, can you believe it?!) from our field trip to Hario USA earlier this year features a competition between Gail and Velton regarding who could produce the better cup of pour over coffee. Velton might have had the edge, since his coffee was ground in a hand mill that had previously ground cloves — truly making it a ‘clovered coffee’. Hilarity ensues.
While we have an appreciation for the simplicity of many espresso blends, getting into single origins can be a sumptuous adventure. For his recent Holiday Blend, Velton imported a delicious Arabica from the El Salvador plantation Finca Alaska. This 2007 Cup of Excellence winner is a clean, smooth cup with bright lemon, fig, chocolate and even blackberry notes.
He only has a small quantity left, so if you have a love for single origins and want to try this excellent varietal, we highly recommend picking it up. In fact, during our recent trip to Hario USA, this is the coffee we used to demo the gear and Edwin Martinez noted that it is one of the best coffees he’s tasted in a long while — even bringing it down to the plantation in Guatemala and impressing his counterparts there!
Not sure if Velton’s Coffee is worth the hype? Well, your local church folks sure thinks it is: