This coming week, we'll be serving the coffee we most commonly use as espresso, as drip in all our shops.  The Core is our most popular,  and by many metrics, our flagship blend.  Like many others in our year-round lineup, The Core is focused on finding a balance of flavor through careful bean selection in the blending process. 

Cory and Daniel also persistently tweak the roast as the blend changes, honing time and temps to bring the different components into harmony in the cup.

bright red bag of Highwire's "The Core" blend

Quick shout out to all the baristas who regularly provide us feedback via the daily Espresso Check-Ins. These are critical to the roasting team when it comes to knowing how the blend is showing up in the stores for our customers.

Ok, back to the story. Since we transitioned our sourcing program to focus more on freshly harvested coffees in 2022, The Core has gone though more frequent recipe changes.  Our current blend brings together three of our freshest coffees!

The primary ingredient is a workhorse for us, a coffee from the community of San Jose Paoquil in the Chimaltenango department of Guatemala. This coffee provides much of the structure of blend upon which we are able to layer nuance and complexity.

To the San Jose Paoquil, we've added a coffee from around the town of Santa Maria de Dota in the Dota canton of Costa Rica. The coffee comes from the farms of several hundred producers who belong to Cooperativa de Caficultores de Dota, also known as CoopeDota. This incredible cooperative has been around since the 60s, more recently becoming the first carbon-neutral coffee processing facility in the world.

beautiful panoramic picture of the Dota Valley in Costa Rica


Highwire has used this coffee in the past with great success and when I got a sample of this coffee last month, I was drawn in by the incredible sweetness. It was like tasting a coffee version of a fresh squeezed orange. We feature the Santa Maria de Dota in other blends, and it will certainly make an appearance on our Single Origin menu in the coming weeks.

The third and final ingredient in this blend made it to our roastery in Emeryville just last week! Our first offering from Ethiopia in 2023 is a certified organic coffee  from the Refisa washing station in the West Arsi Zone. Though less well known than neighboring coffee regions of Sidama and Guji, West Arsi's profile has been on the rise.  We actually used last year's harvest of Refisa as the base ingredient of The Core  at the end of the summer of 2022.  Knowing how well the coffee was received at that time, I made sure that we would get some of this harvest's first arrivals. A classic representation of washed coffees from Southern Ethiopia, the Refisa imparts floral aromatics that really come through in the cup. We're offering this coffee as a Single Origin now and we will feature it as Coffee of the Week next week!

photo of coffee seeds drying on a patio in Southern Ethiopia


Together, these three coffees combine to create a blend that is a playground to the senses.  Sturdy, yet elegant, juicy yet refined.  I'm really excited that we are able to offer a blend of incredibly fresh coffee!


May 27, 2023 — Steve Ford


Anonymous said:

Great write up on the core! Reading brought back memories of writing the daily check in while I was working on bar! I gotta get a bag here- max

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