I think it’s almost impossible for anyone to list their favourite coffees of all-time because of changing flavour perception, varying moods and differences from one harvest to the next. So instead this is an inconclusive guide, in no particular order, to the five coffees that currently stand out in my mind and are really doing it for me here and now.
Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazú
Famous for being one of the coffees that James Hoffmann won the WBC with, this one really blew me away both in the vac-pot and especially as espresso. Fantastic body and smooth milk chocolate with loads of sweet fruit and a lovely lingering aftertaste.
Guatemala El Injerto
One of my favourite coffees of 2007. A lovely full-bodied coffee with rich caramel chocolate and butterscotch overtones. Slightly nutty, this wonderful coffee leaves a sweet aftertaste.
Kenya Gethumbwini Peaberry 2007-2008 Crop
I rarely buy Kenyan coffee because as nice as other preparation methods are, my preference is for espresso based drinks and Kenyans are not always ideally suited to being used that way. However, like most other people, I was intrigued after watching James use this to cut through the milk and produce some very special in cappuccini at the WBC. Wow, get this one right and the blackcurrent hit almost makes you forget you are drinking coffee. Ironically, the best shot I have tasted of it came from the Aeropress and the blackcurrent nearly knocked me over. I think it was just aged perfectly to do its blackcurrent thing that day. In fact, that was the joint best individual cup of coffee I have had this year!
Panama Hacienda La Esmeralda Best of Panama 2006 Winning Lot
This was my other joint favourite individual cup of coffee of 2007. Served as vac-pot by Steve Leighton, this coffee was like no other that I have ever tasted. Sweet and light, almost like jasmine tea, with a refreshing fruity quality that made it taste nothing like coffee as it is typically recognised. Getting the chance to enjoy a cup of this coffee was an honour and an education in itself.
Brazil Camocim Organic
The final choice for now could as easily have been one of my all-time favourite, and quite underestimated coffees in my opinion, the chocolate caramel laden Colombia La Manuela, or the perennially perfect buttery caramel Brazil Cacheoira Bourbon, but for now, I have gone for this one because I am a real fan of coffees with lots of body that contain a spicy undertone, and I got loads from the Camocim. Rich with a lovely nuttiness, then spice as the cup progresses, and a great dark chocolate lingering aftertaste. Who could resist?