Monday, August 18, 2008

coffee tasting @ trabant (pioneer square)

I could hardly believe it when I got the email from Alexa at Trabant. Free coffee tasting! I put my business card in the cup months ago, and I actually got picked! It's my lucky quarter. Trabant is my favorite coffee shop, so of course I jumped at it.

Coffee Beans at Trabant
It's all about the beans

You might be surprised to find out that there's relatively big fan base for $4 coffees at my job, but we're talking about a start up in downtown Seattle so you're probably not. We had no trouble filling the 8 seats, even with some cancellations. Of course, I invited Rakka, and Jessie from Cakespy came by too.

Beans and a tasting Guide at Trabant
Starting to look like a party

All the coffees we tasted (there were four) were made on the Clover machine. Since I first encountered it (at Trabant, actually) I've been a huge fan of this machine. If you haven't tried, stop reading and go do so now. Seriously, it's fantastic.

The machine itself is like a reverse vacuum french press or something. But internet enabled and programmable per bean, and we're talking micro lots here. It has this tendency to bring out the full complexity of the coffee. It's like fine wine, but it makes you jittery instead of slurry. As the coffee cools, the flavor profile changes, usually peaking between 5 and 10 minutes. You find yourself using words like 'bright', 'fruity', and 'citrusy' to describe it.

Columbia la Planada Micro Lot
This description reads like a wine bottle, and it's correct

Alexa told us a lot about the current state of the coffee industry. Fair trade, Free Trade, Direct Trade, etc. It's interesting stuff, but to be honest I kind of knew a lot of it already; after a year or so of talking to the baristas here I've kind of picked it up.

pouring coffee at Trabant
Pouring, oooh, the anticipation

Which is why I like the place so much. They're really passionate about their coffee, and it totally shows. I've never had a bad cup of coffee there. It's not to say that they don't have their ups and downs. But a 'bad' cup at Trabant would be above average at most places. Especially on that Clover machine.

Coffee Heart at Trabant
Coffee Heart by Trabant's Alexa

We were lucky enough to try:
  • Kigira AA Lot 729 from Kenya
  • Ethiopia Sidamo
  • An experimental Guatemalan roast from Onyx Coffee
  • La Planada Micro-lot from Columbia
I think we all agreed that the Kigira and the Planada were the top two. They were so different, though, we couldn't pick a definitive winner. The Onyx had great body, but Alexa said they've had it a while, and so the flavor didn't live up to it's full potential.

Obviously, I'm really excited about it (must be all that coffee ;). I hope I haven't bored you too much. Let me just say thanks Trabant and thanks Alexa!

[where: 602 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104]
Trabant Coffee & Chai - Pioneer Square on Urbanspoon

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