Article by JD DiGiovanni, SDCN Contributor. Photo by Julie Rings, SDCN Contributor.
When I met Dan Charleson for a beer at Waypoint Public in North Park there was a mix of pride, disbelief, and maybe a little exhaustion in his voice. He explained over his IPA that, “We have 9 people over in Golden Hill working right now”.
Dark Horse is in the middle of working on opening up a 1500 sq. foot cafe with a 600 sq. foot outdoor area south of Balboa Park. Along with the new space, Dan will be upgrading from a tiny 3 kilo roaster to a 12 Kilo Diedrich. It will be the coffee roaster’s fourth location.
Dan considers the new roaster as an odd kind of relief, saying, “It’ll free up more time for work”.
When Dan says more work, he means a lot of things, but predominantly to have a closer engagement with the coffee community in San Diego. A sense of community and collaboration are traits that form Dark Horse’s persona as well as its roasting process.
Whether it’s brewing pour-overs with the Dark Horse baristas, or cupping coffee in small groups, working with other people has always been an important part of unlocking something inside a coffee bean.
What Dark Horse has found in their Ethiopian Washed Processed Lomi Tasha, April’s Coffee of the Month, is a really dynamic and fragrant coffee. The coffee, from Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe zone, was grown between 1,750 and 2,000 meters and sourced to Dark Horse through Bhodi Leaf.
After playing around with the coffee a little, Dan extended out the middle of the roast. This gave the coffee notes of lemon citrus with a kind of sweetness that combined to give the coffee a custardy mouth feel with notes of rose petal. It’s a fun coffee for pour-over, and a kick-ass single origin espresso. As espresso the coffee has a wildly different profile, the rose petal notes and a light body are still there, but the main note that comes through as something closer to lavender.
Dark Horse’s Lomi Tasha is available in their cafes in retail bags, on pour-over, or as a single origin espresso at their North Park location.