Andrew from Ecco Caffe kindly sent me some of the first batch from his "Experimental Espresso Program."
This was a 50/50 blend of two gorgeous Brazil CoE coffees.
The 2006 Fazenda Serra do Bone from Carlos Sergio Sanglard is one of my favorite SO espressos. This is a Catuai varietal from Matas de Minas - and took 4th in the Brazil CoE with a score of 91.93 points. As an SO shot is has incredible body and a lovely honey/caramel finish.
The 2006 Fazenda Pedra Preta from Guilherme Dias De Castro is a Yellow Bourbon from Carmo de Minas. It took 3rd in the Brazil CoE with a score of 92.24. As an SO shot this combined a lovely sweetness with intense floral/citrus high notes.
It took an enormous amount of courage (IMHO) for Andrew to create this blend. These are expensive and valuable CoE coffees and are very limited in supply.
Andrew's brewing instructions were very clear... 19grams in an LM double basket; 1.75oz double at 201.5F in 24-28 seconds.
I started by following these instructions and found that it produced a very dense shot with strong chocolate and burnt honey notes and a rich nutty, syrupy body. This was really pretty stunning in short milk drinks - but I felt that I could probably create an espresso that was more to my (personal) taste by tweaking these parameters a bit.
Initially I started by changing dose and brew temp, looking to coax out some of the high notes. With some experimentation, I found that a brew temp of a little over 200F and a dose of 17.5grams produced a shot that I found really lovely as a straight espresso. It had great sweet pink grapefruit high notes and a body of honey roasted pecan, powdered dutch cocoa and a lovely vanilla tone that reminds me of aged Flor de Cana rum. This extraction wasn't ideal with milk - but as a straight shot.... stunning.
I figured that there had to be a way to get the rich, syrup and caramel body of the first extraction with the sweet citrus and Flor de Cana notes. After a fair amount of trial and error - I discovered that going with the Synesso triple basket (with its rounded side walls); slightly down-dosed; and a brew temp of 200.5F yielded a 2.75oz shot that was - to put it bluntly - fucking glorious. Rich, dense, clean, transparent, sweet tangerine, candied nut, burnt honey, bittersweet chocolate, tropical flowers... and that lovely Flor de Cana finish. Lovely as a straight shot - with near perfect balance - and equally awesome as a cappuccino.
Life is good!