The sweet smells from the cup evoke honey and peaches, and some of that is reflected in the cup as soft floral tones. The dominant flavors that come through are dark and smoky chocolate notes combined with the more traditional nuttiness. The mouthfeel is smooth with no discernable acidity at all. The finish starts off with a slight peppery edge in the throat, switching to a dark and earthy, long lasting aftertaste of quintessential coffee. A very drinkable, not-too-complex decaf.
Posts Tagged ‘peaches’
Sometimes the first sip of a new coffee makes us giddy. The complexity in this bean is astounding. The tasting notes read like a Sauterne or a top notch Washington Riesling. Apricots and peaches abound. Smells like wild strawberries had a fling with the raspberry bush and that combo is what emerges on first sip. There is a lot of acidity but not in a sour or tart way — very crisp. The finish is extremely long and fruity. Extremely limited quantity.
By William Kenny
Times Staff Writer
A busted coffeemaker probably never had ignited so much productivity as it did for Kevin Lawrence some five years ago. Yet, a setback that might have stopped most working folks in their tracks actually got the longtime financial services representative’s creative juices flowing.
Faced with the prospect of missing his beloved caffeine fix, Lawrence did not run out and buy the first new machine he could find on the shelves at his local Target. Rather, much like he does for clients at American Express’ Center City office, Lawrence took a thinking man’s approach.
He scoured consumer reviews and Internet reports describing a gamut of available commercial coffeemakers. In the process, he learned that the way to make truly spectacular coffee has surprisingly little to do with the brewing, yet everything to do with the bean.
From there, it was only a matter of time until he found a place to open his own gourmet coffee roasting company. Three months ago, he realized that ambition when his Peregrine Coffee business began production inside a modest commercial warehouse in Tacony.
The place is not to be confused with the local Dunkin’ Donuts or even a Starbucks. Firstly, there is no seating area and are no over-the-counter sales. It’s purely an Internet-based mail-order business in which Lawrence acts as consultant, sales representative and craftsman. His wife Luise Moskowitz handles publicity.
“With my business model, the difference is the custom component,” Lawrence said.
Using his own keen sense for coffees borne from his years as an infatuated consumer, Lawrence interviews new clients, develops a profile of their tastes and scours the market for raw or “green” beans to suit those client preferences. Coffee beans come from tropical regions around the globe, including South America, Africa, Asia and the Far East.
Lawrence will then complete each order by hand-roasting the beans in his custom-built commercial roaster, seal them in air-tight packaging and ship them immediately via U.S. Mail. Customers in Philadelphia will usually get their beans within a day, ready for grinding and brewing. “The basic concept of hot water and freshly ground beans is key,” Lawrence explained.
Even non-drinkers of coffee couldn’t help but taste and smell the difference between Lawrence’s products and what supermarkets and most coffee shops have to offer. Commercial coffees are generally processed as much with longevity in mind as flavor. It all starts on the farms or plantations where the beans grow as seeds inside cherry-like fruit on shrubs and small trees. Some farms are expansive and highly commercialized, while others are small family operations. Variables from farm to farm and region to region affect the flavors in the bean. Major factors include soil composition, climate and altitude. Mass-produced coffees commonly found on grocery store shelves and in the pots at convenience stores and doughnut shops are usually blends. That is, they are made from a combination of beans from different farms or regions.
Many popular varieties like hazelnut and vanilla often are made from coffees treated with artificial flavoring in the form of sprays and syrups. By contrast, Peregrine coffees are not blended. Each selection is produced from the beans of a single farm, thereby preserving the unique and potent natural flavors present in the bean. “I’ll do an Ethiopian coffee that tastes like blueberries and peaches and people ask, ‘Is that flavoring?’” Lawrence said. “And I say, ‘No, it tastes that way out of the ground.’”
Drawing the natural flavor out of coffee beans is a relatively short, but exacting process during which a slight variance in temperature or duration can completely spoil the outcome.
A coffee roaster is essentially a rotating barrel over a heat source. The roasting temperature is key, as are the level of heat used to achieve that temperature and the time it takes to do so. The operator must listen for the beans to pop or crack, then calculate carefully how long to continue the process to meet the expectations of the client. “That’s totally the art of it,” Lawrence said. Other variables include ambient temperature and humidity, the amount of beans in the roaster, the size of the beans and their moisture content.
“I love that it’s all the senses,” Lawrence said. “You’re smelling, you’re looking, you’re tasting, you’re feeling. It’s insane.”
Another unique element to the business, he explained, is hunting for the best beans. Traveling from continent to continent is not in his budget, so he relies largely on professional scouts or hunters who go from region to region and farm to farm identifying marketable beans and buying them up for redistribution in the United States.
Lawrence used their spirit, in fact, as an inspiration of sorts for the name of his company. The word peregrine is from Latin and means wanderer or traveler. “It was one of those names that when we sat down and came by it, we said, ‘Oh, that works.’ It means traveler and we’re letting coffee be the guide,” Lawrence said.
Internet orders aren’t the only way that the entrepreneur will be bringing his product to market. Though he never envisions his roasts available on store shelves — specifically because stores can’t ensure freshness — Lawrence hopes to reach the public through special tasting events at area cafés.
One such activity is scheduled for this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at Walnut Bridge Coffee House, 24th and Walnut streets.
Peregrine is also available for special events, such as weddings and private parties.
All requests are being handled through the Web site www.peregrinecoffee.com. ••
Reporter William Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or email@example.com
Kevin J. Lawrence
Owner/Roaster, Peregrine Coffee
The aroma here is a bit like the conflicting summer smells on a farm. A combination of honeysuckle and rustic barnyard. The flavor unfolds with many layers of flowers and fruit: lavender – honeysuckle – jasmine – orange blossom – peaches/apricot, lime and tart berries. Along with a high acidity-tartness, there is a certain earthy feeling in the mouth too. Put a touch of sugar in this one — you will not regret it.