More than 2,000 coffees from roasters across America have been blind-tasted by experts for the annual Good Food Awards in San Francisco, and two local companies were among the exclusive group of 15 winners announced Monday. Square One Coffee from Lancaster, which has two cafes in Center City, and Royal Mile, of Haddon Township, both scored their prizes with interpretations of Shakiso Mormora beans, which are grown in the highlands of southern Ethiopia.
Unlike the bright berry notes typical of many naturally processed Ethiopians, these beans are processed in the "washed" method to avoid the extra fermentation, and they exhibit more delicate floral notes of citrus, honey, and tea. I found Square One's version earthy and resonant with the bergamot flavors of Earl Grey on the nose, soft stone fruit through the middle, and a long, tangy finish that left a tingle of white pepper on my tongue.
This was the fourth Good Food win for Square One, and the first for Royal Mile owner-roaster Jamie Blanchard, whose lighter roast evoked comparisons to lemonade, orange blossom, and caramel corn in the judges' notes. Lansdale's Backyard Beans was a finalist (also an exclusive group) with its Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Konga.
— Craig LaBan