Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bach Coffee - new from Vietnam

We are excited to bring new brands from Vietnam to our offerings. While nobody can argue that Trung Nguyen corners the market with their wonderful Creative Coffee series of coffees, they specialize in vacuum-packed, nitrogen-flushed ground coffees that stay super fresh in their packages, but they refuse to export whole bean to us directly. They simply don't believe whole bean is "necessary", and there is no consumer market for it in Asia. So we have to buy our whole bean from them through our agent in the coffee shop distribution channel in Vietnam. That is not working out very well for us, and there is a cost differential because of the extra transactions involved.

Enter a new generation of fresh coffee companies from Vietnam. The first we will be featuring is Bach Coffee. (No, it's not named after the composer, but a region in Vietnam). They are proud to offer whole bean coffees and are very cooperative to work with. To distinguish themselves, they have adopted a more Western-style air roasting, solving two of the problems we have with the Trung Nguyen whole bean.

Trung Nguyen whole bean is "wet-roasted", meaning they apply what they call "butter oil" and a little sugar to the roasting pans, because it is needed to make the beans roll properly as they tumble and roast. It also creates the distinctive Vietnamese buttery taste. Oddly enough, they often use lecithin or oil that is not butter-based, but it is still referred to as butter roast. Now, that causes two issues. Vegans can't drink this coffee because it might have butter in it, and the beans wind up being stickier in most grinders and can cause clogging issues. We do get a number of calls on that.

Bach beans are drier and will work in any grinder and are suitable for vegans.

But we drink coffee for taste. How good are the Bach coffees? When you pour out the beans from a Bach bag, the first thing you notice is how 100% sound and ripe that are. While a certain percentage of less-than-ripe beans do not ruin the taste of a cup (contrary to a highly publicized myth), 100% ripe beans does make a difference. In general, people have been amazed at how good the Bach coffees are. My personal favorite is the Moc 1, their 100% high-altitude Robusta. This is Vietnamese Robusta at its best, the type of Robusta Italian coffee companies have been secretly sourcing for their top espressos for decades.

Arabica fans will enjoy the multi-source Arabica (Moc 2) that has Bourbon Arabica sourced from Buon Me Thuot and high-altitude Laotian farms.

We invite you to try the new Bach coffees and we have obtained a limited number of small 100-gram "trial-size" bags so you can sample more of them without breaking the bank. Bach coffees are numbered 1, 2 and 3, but we call them simply Robusta (100%), Arabica (100%), and Arabica/Robusta Blend (50/50). Amazingly delicious!

Dangerous Grounds - or Dangerous Ignorance?

Well, I guess we have to laugh (or cry) at the notoriety achieved by Todd Carmichael (of "Dangerous Grounds" television series) for managing to create adventure and pathos around every acquisition of interesting coffee. His latest proclamation is that he is the first to bring Liberica coffee to the USA for us backwards Americans who haven't tasted it since .. well, ever, apparently. Breaking news, Todd, Heirloom Coffee has been bringing the best Liberica coffee from the Philippines to the USA since 2008 and we have been instrumental in assisting in the recovery of this once-endangered species for many years.

I guess he had to go to Borneo to find it because it wasn't "dangerous enough" to get it from the cradle of the species, the Philippines. Well, welcome to the wonderful world of Liberica coffee, Todd, come on by any time and we will brew a cup for you! ;-)