Brazil…via San Jose

I try to get into San Francisco to pick up a new bag of beans as often as I can but, even given how easy the trip is from Oakland, there are still times I cannot find the time to take the BART ride over. Luckily, I have a few other avenues with which I can acquire quality beans – some are personal connections, others are work-related. Still another option I am lucky enough to have at my disposal is the Whole Foods market that exists practically right down the street from my house and their small selection of beans from third-party roasters. The

Whole Foods, Oakland
Whole Foods, Oakland

selection may be a bit small but for a last-resort coffee source I can’t complain too much about the depth of product on offer, even as shallow as it is. Ritual is represented, although I can’t imagine ever choosing to buy their beans from the Whole Foods shelf. Terrible rotation. I have found beans over a month past their roast date on the shelf and it is incredibly difficult to find a bag that is any younger than a couple of weeks ((Somebody remind me to check in on when the Ritual supply at my local Whole Foods is replenished. I wonder if Mr. Ford has any idea how old their selection of beans are over here)). Sad, really, and not a good representation of the quality product that Ritual produces.

Represent!

Another roaster represented at my local Whole Foods, and one which apparently has a better rotation program, is Barefoot Roasters. I was peripherally aware of Barefoot for some reason (blog mention? Twitter post? hmmm…) so after a fruitless digging session through my Whole Foods’ collection of aging Ritual beans, seeing the name on the shelf was a welcome relief.

Santa Colombia in the cupboard
Santa Colombia in the cupboard

Barefoot hails from San Jose. Imagine my surprise when I found a specialty coffee roaster hailing from my hometown. Not exactly the town I think of when I consider the various locations associated with the burgeoning coffee v2.0 scene. Seattle? Check. Portland? Check. Los Angeles? Check. New York? Check. San Francisco? Check. San Jose? Uhhhhhh…no. So, then, a diamond in the rough, that’s what Barefoot Roasters seems to be ((Feel free to correct me in the comments section)). I can deal with that. After all, the proof is in the mug.

Proof

And, indeed, the proof is in a mug of Barefoot Roasters coffee. At least in the case of this, the only coffee I have had the opportunity to try as yet – their Brazil Daterra Santa Colombia – which I found to be, if not spectacularly unique, then at least a solid Brasil offering and a coffee I would be neither embarrassed to recommend or hesitant in picking up again should the desire strike me.

What do I mean by “solid”? Well, I have come to expect certain characteristics from the better coffees of Brasil. A certain nuttiness (indeed, sometimes peanut butter). A certain smoothness. Full body. Some sweetness. Maybe some fruit in there as well. Barefoot’s Brazil Daterra Santa Colombia covers all those bases and covers them well. No surprises. From the notes:

In the Chemex

  • nuts
  • berries (cherry)
  • full bodied w/a dry, almost grainy texture (like peanut butter)
  • nice vegetal character (green stalk veggies)

In the Press-pot ((As a qualifier to my experience of the Brazil Daterra Santa Colombia in the press-pot, I feel I must mention that, due to head cold that knocked out my capacity to smell or taste much of anything for some time, by the time I was able to honestly deduce anything from this coffee it was already ten days past the roast date. Full disclosure.))

  • aroma in the cup is sweet and nutty
  • tobacco
  • still green and vegetal
  • hazelnuts
  • cumin
  • dark sugar
  • a bit of sharpness in the acidity showing its age, I think.

Sum it up, Mr. Arabica…

As you can see the stand-out flavors, over and above the usual Brazilian traits, are the vegetal character out of both the press-pot and Chemex preparations and the cumin spice that came exclusively from the press-pot.

So, like I said, solid. Not “oh-my-god” unique but certainly worth picking up should the desire for a good example of what Brasil has to offer should strike you. I’m glad Barefoot is an option for me as a retail offering that I can pick up without resorting to mail-order and I’m, admittedly, just a little proud that my hometown of San Jose is also home to, what has so far proven to be, a quality specialty coffee roaster.

Where?

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