Richard Jackman (Coffee Roaster), 12 June
Our Organic Viva Espresso and its non organic sister Essence Espresso is the main staple of our Specialty Coffee range. When starting out our journey in Lima, Peru back in 2013, the local market there mainly drank black coffee made from either a stovetop or plunger, and espresso machines were only just starting to show up in cafes. Consumer preferences over there were not used to good quality coffee (they are probably 20 years behind us in coffee evolution) so the coffee scene was dominated by either very dark roasts (roasted dark to hide the poor quality coffee beans used) or in the few specialty cafes, light coffee roasts to showcase the high quality beans they used. The coffee we sold that was popular over there was primarily our Organic Medium Roast or our Organic Dark Roast.
Coming to NZ in 2014/15 was the coffee scene was very different. Espresso coffee was the norm, and most people drank white coffee (mainly the flat white). We could see that we needed to develop a blend that better suited this market. So after many trials of different combinations we came up with a roast profile that suited both milky espresso drinks and black espresso drinks. This profile has a dark base, mainly to cut through the milk and provide the body and depth, with fruity highlights which showcase the amazingly unique flavours of our Peruvian specialty grade beans. In a milk based espresso drink the resulting coffee has more breadth of flavour compared with say our Organic Dark Roast. As a long black the fruity highlights are present in citrus or stonefruit notes balanced with a natural sweetness and juicy body of the darker base. I roast both Essence Espresso and our Organic Viva Espresso blends using this roast profile. Flavour differences between the two blends really come down to the different characteristics of the beans grown on the different plantations.
Today most of our cafe clients use either our Essence or Viva Espresso blends. Essence Espresso is the main staple at our roastery, more popular than our Organic Dark roast which is also always available for customers. I really enjoy my morning flat white using Essence or Viva; for espresso drinks I prefer these to any of the other blends in our range (but I would say that.....).
PS. Both Essence and Viva Espresso blends also make great plunger/french press coffee, particularly for those who like a little milk with their plunger brew.