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Coffee Review: Booskerdoo Guatemalan Huehuetenango

In contrast to New York City, where it seems you can't go more than a block without finding either a Third Wave roaster or at least a Starbucks, it can be a challenge finding coffee roasters and independent cafes in New Jersey. They do exist, mind you, but they often take some detective work to ferret out. That's why we were happy to hear of Monmouth Beach-based Booskerdoo Fresh Roasted Coffee Company. Not only do they roast their own, but they're proudly Jersey to the core. Much as we love Blue Bottle, we can't imagine they'd call one of their signature blends "Jersey Diner," while noting that it pairs with "fried eggs and potatoes, pork roll, old friends, smoke breaks." That's not to say they're provincial. One gets the feeling that Booskerdoo's roaster has a serious case of wanderlust. The company sources their beans from all points on the globe, including Ethiopia (Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, and Harrar), Guatemala (Huehuetenango), Indonesia (Bali Blue Moon) and Costa Rica (La Pastora Tarrazu), among others. The beans are organic, shade-grown, and ethically farmed, and roasted fresh (within 24 hours of ordering).
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And you taste the difference. We tried Booskerdoo's Guatemalan Huehuetenango, brewed at home in a French press. It's a medium-dark (full city) roast that yielded a fragrant and flavorful cup that's got body to spare. The aroma has notes of malt and dark chocolate. The dark chocolate notes persist in the top notes of the taste, giving way to an acidity that hints at s'mores. Even the finish -- toasted, earthy notes that linger just long enough without wearing out their welcome -- is noteworthy. In contrast to many dark roasts we've tried, this coffee doesn't call much attention to the roasting process; aside from the toasty caramelization in the finish, the fact that you're drinking a dark roast isn't the first thing you notice about this coffee. The company wholesales to local restaurants, retails online, and also operates three coffee shops. The newest location (on 35 North in Middletown) joins earlier locations in Monmouth Beach (36 Beach Road) and Fair Haven (793 River Road, also home to the Booskerdoo Bakery). We'll be revisiting Booskerdoo -- their coffee, and one or more of their retail locations -- in this space in the days ahead.