I finally broke out the Brazilian Oberon coffee from The West Bean this morning, and I'm writing about it, as promised. This is the "great customer service" coffee -- the one that didn't reach me originally, and which The West Bean and ROASTe collaborated to get to me when the USPS failed to deliver my original order.
As you can see in the photo -- which isn't quite as good as it should be -- the beans are a fairly even medium roast: a little deeper than cinnamon and not a hint of oily sheen to the surface.The coffee is 7 days post roast, so it has had a nice little resting period. I brewed it in a Bialetti moka pot, as usual, and am drinking it, as always, in a macchiato with half-and-half. I did taste before adding the cream, though..
First Impressions: The West Bean Brazilian Oberon
The coffee aroma of the beans isn't as strong as I'm used to, and there's a definite woody undertone to it, almost a little cedar-ish. The cedar scent gets really obvious when the coffee is ground.
The brewed coffee is visually dark and rich, and you can smell the brightness -- citrus and cedar notes in the aroma even before the first sip. That first sip is a definite mouthful. The body is full, smooth and rich -- a lot heavier than I'm used to in South American coffees, in fact. Since I really like full-bodied coffee, this is a pleasant surprise. I wouldn't go so far as to call it buttery, but very definitely creamy -- and that's before adding cream. I know -- blasphemy, but it's how I like my coffee.
Tasting Notes: With Cream
The first moutfhul really packs a lot of brightness and a little more acidity than I usually like, but it's actually nicely balanced with a chocolate/nutty undertone. The cedar woodiness is in full force, though, and overwhelms everything else at first. It's got a sharp bite to it that fades quickly and lets a hint of lemon/berry flavor sneak in at the end. I know that's an awful lot of flavors to count, but they're all definitely there.
Cream tones down the sharpness a little, and the added fat really develops the underlying nutty/chocolate flavors without dimming the citrus and berry. The chocolate gets more obvious as the coffee cools down -- and frankly, I drank this cup more quickly than I usually finish a cup because it's just that good. I'm generally a big fan of earthy/smoky/spicy coffees, and don't usually care for coffees labeled "bright" -- but this is so nicely balanced that it could make a believer of me. In fact, I've got a second pot on as I write.
The finish on this is rich and deep, definitely chocolate but there's enough citrus in it to leave a bit of an astringent pucker behind.
Final Notes on The West Bean Brazilian Oberon
You may have noticed that I used a lot of "diminutive" words in this -- a bit, a hint, a touch. That's because there's no real overwhelming POW to any of the flavors or textures. Unlike a lot of coffees that are described as "balanced," though, you don't really have to hunt for any of the nuanced flavors. They are obviously present, and you don't have to know they're there to pick them out. To me, "balanced" has always seemed more or less like a synonym for "bland" -- but this coffee is anything but bland. It's a surprising characteristic in a single origin coffee -- and I definitely like it.