Monday, September 15, 2014




You can pick Victoria's perfect coffee taste (w/video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
Dec. 8, 2013 at 6:08 a.m.
Updated Dec. 9, 2013 at 6:09 a.m.

Beans on display during the coffee tasting at Keep Victoria Beautiful on Vine Street in Victoria.

If you go

WHAT: Naming the Main Street Blend

• WHEN: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday and Dec. 17

• WHERE: Keep Victoria Beautiful, 3003 N. Vine St., Victoria

• FOR MORE INFO: Call Victoria Coffee Roasters at 361-578-9155.

Know your coffee

• Sweetness: Commonly associated with sweet aroma descriptors such as fruity, chocolate and caramel

• Acidity: A desirable sharp and pleasing taste; particularly strong with certain origins as opposed to an over-fermented sour taste

• Body: Used to describe the physical properties or mouthfeel of the coffee

• Finish: The aftertaste that lingers on the palate after coffee is swallowed

Source: Advocate Staff research

The coffee served recently at the Hiller House left more than just its drinkers abuzz.

It left three groups in anticipation as the fate of the Main Street Blend of locally roasted coffee rests on the tastebuds of volunteer coffee tasters.

Members of the community, the Victoria Main Street Program, Keep Victoria Beautiful and John Valdivia, owner of Victoria Coffee Roasters, are waiting to see which blend will be named the Main Street Blend.

Coffee-loving members of the community tasted three samples prepared by Valdivia to determine the blend that will be the winner.

"It's not my palate saying this is better than the other," said Valdivia, 49. "I hope they have a tough time choosing."

Before the tasting, he prepared three blends of coffee for the blind tasting at the Hiller House on Vine Street. The tasting was the first of three sessions in which the winning blend will be decided.

After each session, Valdivia will add the most popular blend into the next round until the winning batch is determined.

Preston Scheafer and Stephanie Ebel both walked to the Keep Victoria Beautiful office, which shares its home with the Hiller House, for a cup of hot coffee.

As they entered the third oldest farm house in Texas, they were given a rating sheet and a guide with helpful definitions to get them inside Valdivia's head as they sampled the coffees.

Ebel started her tasting with batch three, while Schaefer sat down and familiarized himself with the rating sheet and definitions to help them rate the sweetness, acidity, body and finish.

"I'm too indecisive when it comes to these things, but I can give you a simple yes or no" said Ebel, 25, about the ratings.

The full-time student and stay-at-home mom drinks her coffee with a little cream and sugar and said she was looking for a coffee that was sweet enough that she didn't have to add anything extra to.

Valdivia left raw and roasted beans on the table to give the judges a chance to experience the beans in whole form before brewing.

Schaefer smelled the beans in the bags and sampled the second and third batches a second time as he struggled to make his decision.

"I'm trying to figure out which I would drink every morning," said Schaefer, 25. "It's hard to tell."

He drinks his coffee black and decided on the second batch because he thought he'd be able to drink it as is.

Sara Rodriguez, executive director of the Main Street Program, was proud to give the community a chance to have an opinion in something the program will put into their work.

"We wanted to make this something specific to the area," she said, "something unique to Victoria."

It will also be something the community can call its own and purchase in area coffee shops and retailers, she added.

Valdivia's blends sell at area coffee shops including Huvar's Artisan Market and The Java Bean in DeTar Navarro. Right now, his house blend is the Golden Crescent blend, which is what he said is a good starter coffee because it has a medium roast that is mildly sweet and has a smooth finish.

He hopes the tasting will bring people together to try specialty coffees and educate them about the different roasts and flavors that develop through the process.

"Anything that exposes people to good coffee is good for Victoria," said Valdivia.

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