$16 for a 12 oz. bag of beans ($4 for a 10 oz. pour-over cup in the cafe). lovelandcoffee.com.
Coffee can be confusing. Seemingly every shop in the area offers a bevy of different beans, representing different regions, processing styles and roasts.
Throughout the pandemic, my partner and I have been dedicated at-home coffee drinkers, almost exclusively using beans from local shops. While we don’t have a Chemex pour-over setup or any other type of preparation method, exploring this complicated world has become a highlight of our COVID-stilted days.
Local roaster Loveland Coffee recently opened a new cafe and roasting facility in Irmo. Spacious, clean and modern, it's a welcoming spot with ample seating across two levels. With a fair bit of additional outdoor seating and a visible roasting area, it's a great spot to trek over to check out and hang out in these pandemic days.
I recently took home Loveland's Ethiopian Kochere bean. Owner and roaster Beach Loveland describes it as a light-medium coffee. The bean is one his favorites, and he said he currently leans to such naturally processed varieties — a dry preparation wherein the coffee cherry stays on the seed longer to more heavily draw out the fruit flavors than with the more common wet/washed method.
Loveland said he avoids applying “semantics” to his roasts, but would classify the coffee’s tasting notes as mainly strawberry and hints of blueberry. Like many of his beans, he aimed to make it an approachable.
“Part of (Loveland’s) eight year journey has been transitioning people towards what they know as coffee towards an introduction of specialty coffee,” Loveland explained. “Natural processed coffees are still fairly new to people.”
The ideal way to brew Loveland’s Ethiopia is through a pour-over, he said. However, the bean isn’t restrictive and its flavor and complexity will still come through when brewed in a standard drip coffee maker, Loveland said.
“You’re still able to get that nuance with that fruit in there,” he posited.
I can attest to that, as I brewed it in my apartment's drip machine. While I didn’t detect any one specific, dominating fruit flavor, it certainly had the distinctive fruitiness one expects from naturally processed beans. The light-to-medium roast keeps both the fruitiness and the acidity from becoming too aggressive, resulting in an immensely drinkable cup.
Befitting Loveland's stated mission, it's definitely a great bean for someone looking for a gateway into naturally processed coffee.
It'll be around for a while, too, as Loveland said he’s secured future contracts on the beans to ensure it’s a regular part of his shop’s stable of offerings.