Barefoot Coffee = non conforming.

February 11, 2008

We were auditioning for the new Spiderman Movie.
spiderman?Actually a barista training seminar we put on at Anacafe in Guatemala in 2007 for 40 baristas.While our coffee does REALLY well roasted dark and it can stand up to just about anything a roaster wants to dish out, I have always missed the taste of this same coffee the way we traditionally roast it back home. We have a handful of friends that do roasting both in Huehue and in Guatemala city and most of them roast in makeshift equipment that is quite worn. Nonetheless they put out a gorgeous cinnamon colored roast that is always spot on and explosive with ripe fruits.Then when we are in the U.S. it seems everything on the west coast is dark and bitter sweet. Most of the sweets I taste are strictly from caramelization with a muted resemblance of what many of these same roasters once tasted on their own cupping tables. Its not about a roast that is good or bad, right or wrong. It’s a matter of taste really. And bottom line the west coast likes their roasts dark. I’ve actually grown to appreciate a fresh roast that has the balance of spiciness and acidity with bitter roast notes. It seems people like high elevation Guats because no matter how you roast you don’t have to worry about loosing acidity. This is part of why Starbucks acquires more coffee from Guatemala than from any other single source. And the darker you roast the more you rely on good acidity to counter the growing bitters that develop. And of course these are roast note bitters, not natural bean bitters.So. Why is barefoot nonconforming? Well you really have to buy a bag of their coffee to see what I mean. Bottom line – IT’S LIGHT, REALLY LIGHT! Many quality roasters on the west coast won’t dare go this light because they can’t imagine many people liking it or paying for it. And the truth is that they’re probably right. A common reaction from another roaster looking at Barefoots roasts might be to say “that looks great for a cupping roast – lets cup it” and Andy Newbom of Barefoot is bagging it and selling it both retail AND WHOLESALE!A common thread I’ve tasted in all their FVH microlots is GOOD bitters and savory notes balanced in a light roast that typically accentuate only the citrus and the sweets in a dominant way. Attempting to wholesale this requires a great amount of training if used at all in an espresso as an SO because it is so intense. It is more difficult to extract the oils at lighter roasts. This means you need finer grind and probably a higher temp for starters. If you’re not used to lighter roasts you’ll know somethings wrong when you’re pulling a couple oz in 5 sec. However if your too fine or too hot your sweet citrus nectar becomes lemon juice. With lighter roasts the margin of error in the roast profile as well as the brewing method are very small.So if you’re trying this at home, be patient and persistent until you find that sweet spot. Andy has a total of 5 of our Microlots. 4 of them are literal geographic microlots and one is a sort out of the drymill of 100% peaberry.


4 Responses to “Barefoot Coffee = non conforming.”

  1. Hoorah for Andy! Hoorah for Barefoot! Hoorah for the light roasts!

  2. Jason Haeger Says:

    Oh man, I wish you guys had tasted the roast I used in my signature drink. It made most “light roasts” look “vienna”.

    It was SPARKLINGLY bright. The body came from the honey.. not from the coffee.

    It was so bright that it wasn’t drowned out by the dark flavors of honey and clove.

    …I tend to prefer lighter roasts. Go Andy!

  3. Mike Says:


    Looks like you have some passion to coffee and have blog about it. I have the same passion too. That’s why I created small social network about coffee – Coffeenatic. Probably you would be interested to participate in it. It specializes in reviewing different coffee kinds by users in order to choose best for you. It also is coffee recipe sharing community if you like not just espresso but also more unusual ones. Probably your knoweledge will help others or you’ll just improve it.

    If you will like it, write about it in your blog please. It will helps spread the rumor and improve quality of information on the Coffeenatic.


  4. Andy Says:

    we are definitely weirdos.

    Damn Barefoot Coffee Hippies!

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