It’s February, and as promised in my previous update, some really amazing Brazilian coffees from the 2022/2023 harvest are starting to arrive here in Texas. These fresh coffees will be rotated into quite a few of our year-round blends, and we will also be featuring some amazing new microlots over the next few months—some familiar favorites, like February’s featured microlot from Sitio dos Cedros, as well as some first-time offerings. In addition to our featured microlot, this month’s roaster’s choice is Grackle, a new classic and fan favorite honoring a controversial Austin resident.
Featured Microlot: Sitio dos Cedros
Last month we featured Sitio Dos Cedros grower, Derio Brioschi, in our year-end review. He and I had just spent some time together as judges for the Cup of Excellence, and he is an excellent representative of the “New Brazil” I discussed in the blog post. Little City’s Joel Shuler first met Derio, a young grower from Venda Nova do Imigrante in Espirito Santo, while teaching a Q-grader class back in 2016. Like many students, Derio brought Joel a sample of coffee from his family’s farm, but unlike many students’ samples, it was one of the best coffees that Joel had ever tasted. We immediately began purchasing coffee from Derio, and he has been a close friend and important partner ever since.
One of our favorite offerings year after year, this year’s microlot from Sitio dos Cedros does not disappoint. A pulped-natural Catuai, it’s intensely sweet with a syrupy body, bright citric acidity, subtle floral notes and a long finish. Also present are unique notes of sweet corn that we typically only find in the best coffees from Espirito Santo, making them unlike anything else we offer. Though it was an incredible coffee, last year’s lot lacked this beloved “corniness,” so we were thrilled that it decided to make a full comeback this year.
Roaster’s Choice: Grackle
Quiscales Mexicanus, aka the Great-tailed Grackle. When we first pitched the concept of a blend honoring Central Texas’ most controversial avian residents, some of our non-native colleagues had no clue what we were talking about.
“You know, the giant flocks of blackbirds that invade H-E-B and creep everyone out and poop everywhere and try to steal people’s food?”
“Oh yeah, I thought those were crows.”
Known as zanate in Spanish, the grackle is native to our part of the continent, most of their population residing year-round in the U.S. southwest, Mexico and some parts of Central America. They take over whole neighborhoods, especially at dusk when massive flocks pack the trees, powerlines, and rooftops, filling the sky with ear-splitting squawks. They forage in our yards, poop all over our cars, and will even steal food right out of our hands (likely the genesis for my favorite grackle nickname, The Taco Raptor). They are at best a nuisance and at worst a threat, and in true Austinite fashion, we’ve chosen to embrace these outcasts and make them a symbol of our city.
Like its namesake, our Grackle Blend is on the surface dark, bold, and even a little aggressive. But take the time to get to know it and its complexities are revealed. Comforting dark chocolate notes from medium-dark roasted Central and South American coffees give way to floral aromas and ripe berry juiceness from East African components, creating a harmony that will please just about any coffee lover. And like the grackles of Austin, this blend is at home around the city—coffee shops, taco trucks, grocery stores, or your front porch. Just keep your head on a swivel while you drink it…