We love springtime here at Firelight. The newness of the earth coming back alive after the frosts of winter. The slow waking from hibernation like a teenager on a Saturday morning. It makes us want to have a good cup of coffee while watching the grass grow! This spring, however, we wanted to be a part of the newness by developing a unique blend to celebrate the season. The result of all that is Bloom, our Spring seasonal blend.
Developing a blend has two main elements, one that is relatively obvious and one that is relatively hidden. The obvious element is deciding which coffees should be a part of the blend. This is the balancing act of finding coffees that will complement each other rather than clash or compete. In trying some sample blends for Bloom, we decided to focus on our Central and South American coffees to see if we could bring out a strong citrus sweetness while maintaining a lovely vanilla/cream body. Turns out that just mixing our Colombian and Guatemalan coffee brought out chocolate and deep berry notes from the Colombian that clashed with the tropical notes in the Guatemalan coffee. Meanwhile our Guatemalan and Costa Rican coffees, when evenly mixed, both had such lovely light tropical and citrus sweet notes that they competed, washing each other out. The solution was an even mix of all three, which brings out the citrus and light sweetness of the Guatemalan and Costa Rican coffees, while maintaining a solid caramel/vanilla body from the Colombian coffee.
Development of Bloom
The second part of development is slightly less obvious but just as important: deciding on the development of the roast itself. More developed and less developed coffee roasts have been colloquially known as dark roasts and light roasts respectively, with medium roasts being somewhere in between. Even though these terms help with clarity they don’t really tell the full story. An example may be helpful.
Imagine you are cooking two pieces of chicken. The first you place in a pan, flipping occasionally until the middle cooks through in about 20-25 minutes. The second, you throw in the oven and let cook at a steady 325F for 25 minutes. You and I both know that the two dishes will taste quite different. One will probably look darker (the chicken from the pan) and one will look lighter (the chicken from the oven), yet both will be cooked thoroughly (developed about the same)
This example gets at what we mean by discovering the correct development for a coffee roast. You can have a fully developed lighter roast coffee and a less developed lighter roast coffee, same with dark, same with medium. So, our task was to take the Costa Rican, Colombian, and Guatemalan blend and discover the ideal level of development. We ended up with a lightly developed roast, similar to how we roast our Canopy blend. For those that like specifics we try to keep the entire roast to about 11 minutes and ensure that the final bean temperature is around 408F.
So, what can you expect from Bloom? Sweet citrus flavors like zesty orange and lime with some gentle lemon; balanced by a strong caramel and vanilla base. Our goal was to create something new that reflects all the parts of Spring that we love – the freshness of growing things, the beauty of simple things, and the joy of watching the world wake back up – and, based on the two cups I drank this morning, I’m thinking we might have reached that goal. Try it out and let us know!