Blogger's Boot-up Blend
This is part two of a series of reviews of Blogger's Fuel, a line of coffee from Boca Java, written by someoneElse, the resident coffee aficionado. Links to earlier reviews are at the end of this article. (disclaimer: the coffee was a freebie in exchange for reviews)
The second Boca Java coffee I tried was Blogger's Boot-up Blend.
After a long and late night of tearing down and rebuilding a Linux server (Fedora), an XP workstation, installing a 400gb NAS device, and getting my new dual core P4 (Dell) to talk to my recording studio (Presonus Firepod w/Cubase), the next morning I was ready for something to boot my system.
I opened the bag of Bloggers Boot Up Blend with anticipation — hopefully something to yank my interrupts and get my operating system going! The aroma lofting out of the bag was of a mild light roast with a bit of a rustic edge. There was a transient subtleness suggesting tastes imprecisely defined, like an elusive memory that slips away as you try to identify what it is or what it reminds you of. There was also a waft of something my nose identified as "staleness" — you know, like when you pre-grind extra beans that you don't use that day and you toss the extra coffee in a jar with a lid to use later, and then a couple weeks afterward you grab the jar because you don't have beans ground and you sniff it and it smells....stale.
Not exactly what I expected for a blend to kickstart my system in the morning (too much subtlety, not enough bold, in your face "HEY, you are drinking a *MORNING* coffee!"), nevertheless I proceeded with my preparation rituals (getting water boiling, setting up the french press), eager to get pass the preliminary genuflecting and onto the actual Drinking of the Java.
< ok, so another brief religious sidebar — How many of us actually pay much attention to our rituals and ceremonies around the Making of the Java? We all have them — the beans have to be ground just so, the placement of the ritual artifacts (french press in my case) has to be in just the right positions, the liturgy of preparation must be followed with exactness and reverence, and so on... >
As to my standard preparation methods, see my earlier post on Boca Java's Blogs of Bravery but here I will just summarize and highlight where the dance changed... For now, suffice it to say I ground the beans of the Blogger's Boot-up Blend coarsely, initially added 3 tablespoons to the french press and poured cups of vigorously boiling water in, quickly covering it with the top (screen) of the french press and waited 3-4 minutes.
Note that this is significantly less than the 1 3/4 tablespoons of coffee per cup of water recommended by Boca Java, thus the coffee turned out very mild and not particularly distinctive. While ok to drink, it lacked any body or "ooomph" (yet surprisingly, there was a quiet hint of secondary flavor, almost as if reminiscent of a hickory and nutmeg, but not so clear or direct as to actually be there.)
With my "system reboot" still stuck in the BIOS self-test phase, I quickly ground more beans, boiled some more water and went through the liturgical song and dance, this time using the prescribed 1 3/4 tablespoons of coffee per cup of water. This time the taste of the Blogger's Boot-up Blend coffee was more distinctive, but not in a good way. The increased strength of the coffee served to highlight an undercurrent of bitterness — an edge of almost smokey tannins that overshadowed any subtle flavors which may have been there.
Now this was not only disappointing, it was verging on mission-critical failure of system startup. It had been a very late night, and I had work to do throughout the day, and I needed my brain and my body woken up and engaged. Not only was this not happening, I now had a unpleasant, acrid taste in my mouth. Lame!
Yet, never one to give up easily on a coffee, I broke out the high tech tools needed to debug this dilemma, and provide a workaround for this caffeine system boot failure — I pulled my Espresso machine out.
Ok, so the grind had to change from coarse to fine, and I used 3 tablespoons of Blogger's Boot-up Blend for my cup of espresso. I have a decent, but not professional grade, DeLonghi espresso machine, and danced my way through the espresso liturgy, but to no avail...
I tasted the espresso directly, and then mixed with foamed milk, and then even with sweetener, but the acrid undertones did not diminish — rather, they took precedence over all other tastes and made drinking it a technical exercise in discovery of something fundamentally unpleasant. Have you ever done troubleshooting on a system to isolate the problem, sequentially removing adapter cards and devices in an effort to determine where the system failure is occurring, only to isolate it down to the motherboard where you realize that the core of the system is malfunctioning? This experience with the Blogger's Boot-up Blend has been like that, where every step along the way, regardless of preparation method, this coffee just tastes bad.
To be fair, it is possible I received a bad bag of the coffee from Boca Java, or perhaps they had a bad batch that somehow made it out to consumers.
However, after all this, my system isn't booting, I've got a long day ahead and a bad taste in my mouth, so I'm grabbing my faithful bag of French Roast and making an espresso I can enjoy.