Bean review: Weanie Beans06 Oct 2014
In the first of our weekly reviews of London and UK-based speciality roasteries, Phil Wain reviews three coffees from Weanie Beans.
Weanie Beans have been serving coffee from their West London carts since 2007. Now they’re roasting. Packaging is delightfully simple: 250g re-sealable foil-lined manila bags, complete with valves, labelled with elegant baby-blue stickers; the text striking a balance between information and overload. It’s great to see the varietal and producer named. Printed tasting notes themselves are brief enough to leave something to the drinker’s imagination and avoid esoteric descriptions.
First up was the Finca Bosque Lya, produced by Jo Molina and his mother-in-law, Lya Castaneda on their 64 hectare farm near Santa Ana in North West El Salvador. Examining the beans, I was soon aware how few inferior beans there were to be disposed of. This was apparent in all Weanie Bean’s roasts and may well be down to post-roast quality control. On brewing, a sweet floral aroma gave way to an intense chocolate flavour balanced with juicy raisin acidity. I found it slightly dry – a nice change from the many super-sweet coffees I have sampled recently.
Varietal: Bourbon | Process: Washed | Phil's tasting notes: Chocolate raisins.
250g - £6.50 from WeanieBeans.com
Next up was a microlot special edition: the Ther’i AB from New Murarandia Farmers Co-operative Society in Central Kenya, managed by Elizabeth Wanjiku. The best Kenyan coffees are known for clean fruity flavours and clarity of taste from washed processes developed over decades. The Ther’i does not disappoint. This is a coffee that you should leave to cool before drinking as to allow the sparkling flavours to fully emerge. It’s a light roast and there are very few flawed beans – there was a little silverskin on some of the beans and I removed a few but it appeared not to impact taste.
This is a refreshing brew. Blackcurrant dominates and there is also succulent lemon acidity with slight hints of rosehip and tangerine. Again, not the sweetest coffee I have had recently but a very, very special coffee indeed. Some have had great success making espresso with this coffee.
Varietal: SL28 Ruiru | Process: Washed | Phil's tasting notes: blackcurrant, lemon, (rosehip), (tangerine).
250g - £7 from WeanieBeans.com.
Finally I sampled the Summer Espresso blend. Unlike the single origins, the espresso blend packaging features a bright design but little in the way of information. This medium roast coffee produced a great beer-like head in the aeropress as it brewed and gave off an enticing chocolate aroma. The coffee was sweet and combined flavours of cocoa, dark chocolate, orange and toffee with a hint of spice in the aftertaste. It is a blend of 50% Mexico Terruno Nayarita, 25% Sumatra Jagong Village and 25% Finca BosqueLya.
Varietal: Various | Process: Washed and semi-washed (Giling basah) | Phil's tasting notes: dark chocolate, toffee, cocoa, (orange), (spice).
250g - £6.50 from WeanieBeans.com.
All coffees brewed as AeroPress with 240ml Ashbeck water at 95°C, 10 second infusion (stirred), stirred briefly at 60 seconds to break the crust and plunged from 90 seconds on. Plunging stopped before the hiss. These coffees were brewed between 13 and 14 days after roasting.
Next week Phil Wain reviews coffee roasted by Notes and others. Roasteries: please contact us if you would like your coffee reviewed.