For our 20th Anniversary Blend coffee, we dialed into the past in an attempt to faithfully recreate the original "Cafe Kaldi," our first house blend. I spoke with Tyler Zimmer, Roaster and Green Coffee Buyer, to find out how we did it.
Chris: Tell me about the process we went through to create our 20th Anniversary Blend.
Tyler: The idea behind this roast was to recreate the original version of Cafe Kaldi. Originally in Cafe Kaldi, we used a natural Ethiopia in the blend, and we went away from it 8 or 9 years ago due to taste preferences. We tried replicating the old blend, and we got close. It's not quite as dark as the original Cafe Kaldi. Back in the day, we used a Harar, an old, natural Ethiopian coffee. It was really rustic, and known for blueberry flavors. At the time, that was very different - such flavors were not the norm. Coffees like this are much more prevalent today. This time around, we didn't use a Harar, but rather a natural processed Yirgacheffe.
Chris: I had some of our baristas say to me, "This blend is very different" and "It's bold."
Tyler: I'd agree with that. The whole point of this blend is to give our guests and fans a taste of what we used to do. It's a pretty close approximation of our original house blend. We've always used an Ethiopian coffee in our house blend, and we still do to this day. Now we use a washed Ethiopian. It produces a cleaner cup of coffee, which is what we prefer. But for this throwback blend, we used a natural processed Ethiopian.
Chris: When we call this a "throwback," is there anything different we did when creating it versus the original Cafe Kaldi?
Tyler: Today's "throwback" version is not roasted as dark as the original Cafe Kaldi. This 20th Anniversary Blend is maybe a bit bolder than the coffees we currently offer, but the original Cafe Kaldi was a pretty dark roast. We had fun going back 20 years in time to make this blend.