Oddly Correct is one of my favorite coffee roasters and I absolutely love dropping into their shop for espresso whenever I get the chance. I first tasted their coffee before they were even open for business, and I’ve watched them expand into a roasting space, then a cafe, and gain a big reputation both in and out of Kansas City. Oddly is best known for finding small, interesting lots of coffee, so they always have unusual coffees on bar and in bags and they rotate offerings very quickly. It’s no surprise, then, that a shop like Oddly Correct would join forces with the Long Miles Coffee Project to bring coffee out of Burundi and into our cups. The Long Miles Coffee Project (LMCP) is one of the coolest things going on in coffee today, and I really can’t do it justice in a short review article. You need to check out Ben and Kristy’s website (and that’s them on the bags in the photo above!) and find out what they’re doing to try to change the lives of people in Burundi through coffee. Kristy is an amazingly talented photographer and their blog is well worth spending some time looking at. I reviewed Lucas Roasting Co.’s Bukeye Hill microlot from the LMCP a while back and it was great, so when Mike Schroeder from Oddly contacted me to see if I wanted to try these the answer was obvious. You can buy this coffee directly from Oddly Correct for $19/12oz.
In addition to picking unusual coffees and roasting them accordingly, Oddly is well-known for their bag art. Each bag features artwork that was pressed on a small letterpress in the roasting space and those prints come from carvings made by owner, Greg Kolsto. Every coffee gets different artwork and it’s sort of addicting to want to collect them all. I really wish I’d held onto the ones I have from a few years ago, but I have to fight my natural hoarding tendencies at every opportunity that I can, so…
So, today’s coffee is the Gishubi Hill lot, featuring a woodcut print of LMCP’s Ben Carlson. These coffees come from small farms in the hills of Burundi and are washed and processed at one of Long Miles’ own stations, Heza, near the border of Rwanda. This coffee is Bourbon varietal and grows in the 1850-2050masl range. Oddly Correct offer tasting notes of, “bright cherry and lime, sweet apple and baking spices. Juicy and complex.” I tried my samples using my usual notNeutral Gino pourover setup as well as Brian Beyke’s “Stubby” Aeropress recipe (see bottom of the page for the recipe) and the Stubby was surprisingly my preferred method for this one. I was getting something a little strange in the flavor from this coffee using my pourover method that didn’t come through at all with the Stubby recipe, so that was the way to go, for me.
In the Aeropress, this coffee has a really forward acidity that at warmer temps was a mix of lemon, lime and even some tangerine. As the cup cooled it settled into a solidly-lime character. At the same time as all this citrus acidity is going on there is also a malic acidity, which is the type of acidity associated with apples. I don’t often find these two paired together, so to have both very noticeable in the cup is pretty interesting. This is probably where Oddly’s “sweet apple” descriptor comes from. The complex acidity profile really did seem like a nice, juicy, slightly tart apple spritzed with a bit of lime juice. It definitely hit the cheeks and got the saliva motor revved up, so I would say this coffee easily earns its “juicy” descriptor!
In the sweetness there is a bit of tart cherry, too. This is a really bright cup and it gets some balance from a solidly sweet base, too, but the complexity and lively flavors in this Gishubi Hill is in the crazy acid profile. During a certain temperature range I picked up some earthy notes, too, but they weren’t a detractor at all, for me. All that brightness and complexity often takes away from the drinkability of a coffee, but not in this case. I found myself plowing through my cups pretty fast and I had to exert some conscientious effort to let the coffee cool so I could sample the full range of temperatures. For as complex as this coffee is, it’s still super-drinkable and that is “odd,” too.
Overall, this is a really good cup. I was a little worried at first because there was something weird, almost medicinal, in my Gino pourover samples, but once I switched over to the Aeropress I found the sweet spot for this coffee, big time. If you do use a pourover I would aim for something that has a shorter brew time. My Gino recipe goes a good 3:45 seconds usually, so I might’ve been extracting something out that I wasn’t supposed to. Overall, this is a wild cup of coffee and if you like bright cups with lots of different types of acidity, this is something not to be missed.
Brian Beyke’s Aeropress “Stubby” Recipe:
This is a really fast and short Aeropress recipe that you post-fill with water after the extraction to bring it up to a normal size. I’m always skeptical of every Aeropress recipe, it seems like, and I’ve been messing with this one recently after taking several months off from the device and it’s really good.
- Run a bit of water around the rubber gasket of the plunger of the Aeropress because you’ll need a bit of lubrication. This is an inverted method and you’ll want to press the plunger to just below the “3” marker on the press (looking at it upside down, so by “below” the “3” I mean toward the “4” mark, which is technically above the “3” marker but remember it’s upside-down. Clear? LOL)
- Grind 25g of coffee to a pretty fine consistency. Not espresso consistency, but if I had a line connecting between espresso and filter, I’d go about 3/4 of the way toward the espresso side of the spectrum, so a pretty fine grind. Add this to the inverted Aeropress
- Boil your water and when it’s at your preferred temp, add 50g of water and hit your stopwatch. Give this a good stir and make sure you get all the grounds totally saturated. Once the grounds are well-stirred, add another 100g of water to bring this up to 150g total.
- Put the cap with paper filter on and carefully push the plunger in until you just see a bit of coffee appearing in the holes of the filter holder. You’re basically pressing out the excess air here.
- At the 1:00 mark on your stopwatch, flip the Aeropress onto a cup and press out. Aim for about a 30 second press.
- Once you’ve pressed the coffee through, post-fill another 100g of water into your cup
I’ve found this recipe makes for a bright, sweet cup with good body and it was great for this particular coffee!