Spring Equinox 2014
I like shopping local. There, I said it. I also shop online. There–I said that too. Some people seem to think it’s one or the other. Either you support local businesses or you don’t. That’s not true. Of course it’s not true, but we all have this habit of viewing the world in black and white when there are all those beautiful grays in the middle.
Monroe Farmers’ Market
One bit of local shopping I always look forward to is the seasonal Monroe Farmers’ Market, and come the Spring Equinox, I know opening day is never too far out (May 3rd!). It’s not the biggest market in the world, but they have a great spread of local farms and businesses that come out, and my summer would simply not be complete without a few visits for fresh local peaches, baked goods, heirloom tomatoes, and raw honey.
Mountain Ridge Coffee
One of the newcomers to the market this year is Mountain Ridge Coffee. I thought it quite fortuitous that just as we launched Grind Brew Love, a new local coffee roaster came into being and are a part of my favorite farmers’ market! I immediately contacted the owners, Lynne and Bill Richman, and they were nice enough to send along a couple samples of their coffee.
The first sample is an Ethiopian dark roast. I have a soft spot for darker roasts, and these beans were absolutely glistening with oil, so I had to try it first. The initial aroma out of the bag was all roast. It’s the type of deep, toasty goodness that I’ve come to associate with coffee, even though many lighter coffees lack it. Once ground, the beans gave up an even deeper, rich aroma with a hint of something subtly sweet. That sweetness became more pronounced when blooming the grounds. With that first touch of hot water, I detected a sweet smokiness that reminded me of fruit woods, or perhaps even maple. Simply amazing! I wondered if those aromas could perhaps be due to the roasting method used, because I detected similar notes in the Farm House Blend as well.
The flavor is much the same as the aroma, minus some of the smokiness. The sweetness came through even more pronounced and played on the tongue as dark chocolate and fruit. The bag states that this is a light bodied coffee, but brewing it with the French Press seems to lend a bit more body. Overall, this was a satisfying and delicious cup of coffee, and one I would be happy to make part of my morning routine.
Next up was the Farm House Blend. These beans were more of a medium roast when compared to the Ethiopian beans. The beans and grounds both had a rich aroma with a hint of acidity underneath, foreshadowing the flavor to come.
When I bloomed the coffee, I was astonished to watch this batch grow three times the size with its excessive output of CO2, a sure sign of superior freshness. As mentioned earlier, the aroma during bloom had a similar, if not slightly subdued sweet smokiness, like the Ethiopian.
Upon my first taste of this blend, I was not as satisfied as I had been with the Ethiopian. I felt it lacked character and had a flat flavor. I decided to let the beans sit another two days and tried it again. I’m glad I did.
I don’t know if it had been an error in my brewing process, or having tried both coffees too close together, but my second taste of the Farm House Blend was eye-opening. The flatness I detected upon first taste had completely dissipated. What I was left with was a medium bodied brew with a nice nuttiness and hint of acidity that played off the roast very well. Having tasted this brew again I may even prefer it over the Ethiopian, though both coffees are delicious.
After my taste tests of Mountain Ridge Coffee, I can wholeheartedly recommend them. If you live in the NEPA region, I implore you to find them at the Monroe Farmers’ Market, starting this May. Otherwise, you can order their coffee and tea through their website.
All samples were brewed with the following specifications:
Ratio: 8.5 grams of coffee per 6 oz cup of water
Grind Consistency: medium/coarse
Brewing Method: French Press
Technique: 1 minute bloom, 3 minute steep
Water: well water (tested and approved)