A Gift From My Favorite Roaster

Today, I received a package from Tuan-Anh, a very good friend of mine who is also my favorite roaster. I was surprised and, of course, really happy. He sent me 3 samples of his latest roasts so that I can try them with my barista friends and let him know our thoughts. We have done this sharing ritual many times. When I order coffee from Square Mile Coffee Roasters, I sent him some. When he had some new roast experiment (new coffee or new profile), he gave me some. But this is a totally new level: package!

Intenso is his brand, a roastery in District 12.

I know this is common for most of roasteries and cafes, but it’s really exciting to see my friend working hard every day to improve his business. Let’s see how it goes with his coffee.

The coffee I received was roasted on 23rd of July, 2020, degassed for 3 weeks before testing. Our test happened in one of my favorite cafés named “The 22” because Tuan-Anh and I trust their water quality and barista’s skills. Their water has TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) concentration of 55ppm (parts per million, equivalent to mg/L), which is a bit lower than the acceptable range recommended by Special Coffee Association (SCA – 2008 protocol).

The grinder machine we used is AkiraKoki from Taiwan. Acceptable grind size range is from 3 to 5. (3 is finer than 5). All coffees are hand brewed by Nguyen, Trung and Long (baristas at The 22) with Brewista Artisan Gooseneck Kettle. (Thank you guys, you’re the best!)

We tested each coffee with 2-3 different brewing recipes to decide an optimum profile for each one. This also helps us recognize the coffee’s dominant characteristics, which can be found in all recipes.


  • Coffee varietal: Catuai
  • Process method: Fully washed
  • Altitude: 2,000 meters above sea level
Grind size*TimeRatio
*The bigger number of grind size, the coarser coffee grounds. ** Ex: 1:15 means 10 grams of coffee goes with 150 grams of hot water

With the optimum recipe, this Honduras coffee welcomes me with a strong tropical fruit aroma, along with clear medium sweetness, high acidity, green tea like flavors and a spicy nuance. It doesn’t last long and leaves a tiny dryness in my throat.


  • Coffee varietal: Heirloom
  • Process method: Fully Washed
  • Altitude: 2,050 meters above sea level
Grind sizeTimeRatio

We love the the first brew right away! It has a very pleasant and sweet aroma of earl grey tea, following with juicy body, bright acidity, medium sweetness and black tea like flavor. Still, the aftertaste is not long. Everything about this Ethiopian coffee is balance and easily expected so we tried another recipe to see if there is anything hidden behind these pleasant characteristics. But we failed. The second recipe brought out just an infinity version of a long black, and the last recipe revealed a hint of lemongrass with tangy acidity like unripe orange. The first recipe is, therefore, no-doubt optimum.


  • Coffee varietal: SL-28 and SL-34
  • Process method: Fully Washed
  • Altitude: 1,750 meters above sea level
Grind sizeTimeRatio

Kenyan coffee is always predictable for me, but not this time. Its aroma is more of spice and dark sugar browning. I can imagine of berry candy and sugar coated apple when smelling it. With the optimum recipe, this coffee hit me with acidity of kiwi/white grape, which became a bit winey when it cooled down. Honey – sweetness increased over time but turned into saltiness when it’s cold. It ended with a sharp flavor note like honey ginger tea. It’s a fun experiment if you’re a fan of Kenyan coffee, but I prefer my all-time-favorite-same-old-cup.

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