All Grown Up

Blanchard's Coffee and Roasting Co. will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a rare variety.

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Beer is so pushy. It always wants to hog the spotlight.

But I’m not talking about beer, even though Blanchard’s Coffee Roasting Co.’s 10th anniversary party will be held at Ardent Craft Ales on Wednesday, March 17, from 7-9 p.m.

I want to talk about coffee -- a very special coffee in particular. Blanchard’s will brew a rare Costa Rican white honey process variety and sell a limited number of bags (300) for $19 at the free event. It's also available for presale.

What is the mysterious white honey process? I asked Stephen Robertson, Blanchard’s marketing director and expert on all things coffee.

“In Costa Rica they developed this process [that] allows a partial fermentation of the coffee bean. It sits in its own juices and becomes viscous and sticky -- that’s where they get the name,” Robertson says. “What it generates in the cup is a really delicate, sweet, sort of fruity coffee that’s just really pleasant to drink.”

You’ll find three levels of the honey process: white, red and black. Each refers to how long the beans are left to ferment. White is the shortest (about 8 days or so) and creates a subtler flavor.

You have to roast these beans very carefully. They’re expensive, first of all, and delicate. Roasting breaks down the complex amino acids in the bean into simple sugars and caramelizes them. That necessitates a watchful eye.

The Blanchard’s team cupped four different variations of the roast before it came up with one that it thought did justice to the coffee’s light, sweet flavor. You won’t find any smokiness -- just a good cup of coffee you might not have encountered before.

“It’s kind of special, it’s kind of rare,” Robertson says, “and we thought it was a good way to highlight our anniversary.”

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