In 1968 the American High Jumper Nick Fosbury came to the Mexico City Olympics and decided to turn conventional wisdom on its head. In an act that at first bemused (and even amused) the watching audience Fosbury took a long look at his target of 2.24 meters, drew a long shivering breath, and began his approach. Instead of the tried and tested method of jumping feet first, an astonished crowd looked on as Fosbury turned his back to the target at the very last second and cleared the bar with ease, taking with him the Olympic High jump record.
You see every now and again someone changes the approach and questions the presumptions that the incumbent intelligentsia hold so dear. They dare to challenge convention and by doing so a moment is forged that will change the way everything is perceived from then on.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those “Fosbury” moments, but if we are to learn nothing else from Fosbury, it is that only by questioning norms will we advance.That is why 5 days ago I decided to analyse two identical bags of beans, unopened but roasted 2 months apart. I would test them in a 3 cup on the day of opening and then again on day 5, and see how they differed.
I had hoped to at least learn something and at best challenge conventional wisdom. The results in analysing the beans after 5 days was as I had expected, but I do feel that I can still learn from this.
To the naked eye, again, there was no obvious difference, and post grind the older bean again surprised me with its fragrance levels, although it was still clearly inferior to the December batch. The real difference as expected, came in the cup. This coffee to me is light on the body, but with a long finish. In the older cup however there was little to no body, which begged the question of how a bigger coffee would decline in such an experiment. The acidity was gone, almost in its entirety.
The identity of this coffee was the subject of many inquisitive emails, and if you must know then have a click here, its a real favourite of mine. The point was also raised by one commenter that the light roast of the bean in question would ensure it retained its integrity that bit longer, a valid point. This may seem obvious at first but whenever I’m deciding which of a few bags to open in future, this is a point I will consider from now on. If its just me in the apartment for a few days, I’ll probably just go with the lighter roast.
I was optimistic when assessing the grounds, but the difference in the cup showed that the game was up. Perhaps I wouldn’t have noticed a year ago, or perhaps even a few months ago, but now I do notice and there’s no going back. The bar has been set and it can’t be lowered.