2015 Coffee Year in Review

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What blog would be complete without a year in review post? I started KCcoffeegeek.com in September 2014 with a few goals in mind and I think I achieved all of them and surpassed many of them, thanks to readers, social media “followers” (I prefer pals, colleagues, friends) and roasters/coffee peeps who believe in the mission. So, first, the mission. I started KCcoffeegeek.com for a few reasons. I like to write, but in my line of “real work” writing and publishing means laborious literature searches, peer reviews, etc. It’s hard work and it’s not fun. I had a pretty beer blog for a few years and really enjoyed that and I follow a lot of blogs of people who just write about what they want to write about, so I figured, hey, why not me, too?

Right after the start of 2015 I had to be in Denver for business and was able to make quick stops at Little Owl Coffee as well as Corvus and Novo. That was a pretty great start to the year and if you search “Denver” in the search bar you’ll find related reviews and stories.

Let’s talk about Colombian coffees at the beginning of 2015, too. Hooooolyyyyyyy smokes! Colombian coffees were incredibly tasty this year for me. As luck would have it, between Onyx and Oddly Correct I got to taste a couple handfuls of what turned out to be La Palma y El Tucan coffees, which are excellent coffees by any standards. They were sweet and bright and interesting and I could appreciate the different types of fermentation done during the washing process. I didn’t have a bad coffee from Colombia all year!

Heading east from Colombia my palate did a 180° turn in Ethiopia. In 2014 I was all about the naturals, especially anything with blueberry in it. 2015 saw a big flavor shift for a variety of reasons, but the naturals got more subtle and more strawberry. Still tasty. But the washed Ethiopians! Oh my! In 2014 I found them too light, too subtle, too black-tea-with-a-squeeze-of-lemon for me. I think my palate went through a lot of development this year, for one thing, but I also think the coffees were just better, maybe, too. They were sweet, fuller-bodied and the florals coming off those Yirgachefe’s this year? Come on!

Kenya was awesome for me this year, too. I don’t think I had a bad one all year. They were all complex and nuanced but also they weren’t the enamel-strippers I was getting last year. Yes, the acidity is there, but they seemed more rounded and balanced this year to me. Maybe that’s more palate development, but by about midway through the year I wasn’t turning a blind eye to anything from Kenya and each one was just great.

I had some cool experiences in 2015, too. The last of a handful of business trips to Portland, OR, where I got to meet a lot of cool people and drink a lot of coffee, even with being only available for about an hour first thing in the morning on Saturday and Sunday because of my work duties. What a great city! Another highlight was getting invited to Topeka to hang out with the PT’s crew. I thought I’d be there for an hour, tops, and I spent all day hanging out and getting to chat, cup coffee, see everything, visit their cafe, etc. I felt like a celebrity and it was awesome!

Getting to St Louis to visit Blueprint and especially Sump was a ton of fun, too, and it really struck me just how special the KC scene really is. In 2016 we’ll see the SCAA qualifying competition in Kansas City and I think things are going to go bananas during and after that!

Other notable happenings in 2015 included falling bass ackwards into a Nuova Simonelli MDX commercial grinder for a song and a dance and WAY upping my home espresso game, as well as switching to a naked/bottomless portafilter.

I’m not going to bore you with a “Top 10” list or anything like that. I loved most of the coffees I reviewed in 2015, so it’d be too hard for me to choose, anyway! Goals for 2016 are to get some sponsors/advertisers on the blog so I can have a bit of a budget to splurge on really special coffee purchases, to make more videos and to keep on being a voice of positivity for roasters, cafes and coffee aficionados! Happy New Year!