Sunday, January 19, 2014
Mugged: Breakfast Blend, El Salvador Cafe La Reina, Mills 1860 Blend [Queen Bean]
Subject: The Queen Bean Coffee Emporium
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Organic Breakfast Blend 4+
- El Salvador Cafe La Reina 3+
- Mills 1860 Blend 3+
Not many companies, never mind families, can claim a 1.5 century legacy of working with coffee. But the Mills family of the Mills Coffee Roasting Company and the Queen Bean Coffee Emporium (their online retail arm) can. Hailing originally from lovely Providence, they recently sent out three coffees to my home lab, each I took to task via pourover, french press or Impress, and siphon.
The first coffee up to bat was their Organic Breakfast Blend. Utilizing three different coffees from Central and South America, the blend is roasted to a Full City Roast. Via pourover, it conveyed malt balls, red bell pepper, vanilla, seltzer, spinach and saltines within a medium-deep body. The french press proved less heavy and slightly different in profile, with notes of corn chip, raspberry, asparagus, almond, light olive oil and biscuit. The siphon proved consistent with the french press, with notes of gala apple, corn chip, caramel, almond and cream, amidst a smooth and medium body. While the pourover seemed a bit out of line with the other two (a possible "mis-brew"), the coffee overall proved smooth, sumptuous and slightly complex in flavors.
The El Salvador Cafe La Reina, a coffee grown in the Apaneca-Ilamatepec Mountain Range near the Guatemalan border, was the second one up to cup. The pourover poured out salty pretzel, honey, oats, basil, rye, slight lemon zest and a bit of apple in a medium body with a slight grassy aftertaste. The Impress similarly smacked of salty pretzel, oats, lemon zest, apple, dates and rye, all within a slightly deeper body. The siphon held steady with pretzel, apple, rum raisin, tomato, a bit of tobacco and malt, measuring smooth, deep and heavy. All in all, a coffee with a lot of positives with the sweet and bright aspects, but the strong salty quality up front and an off-note or two on the back end left me a little ambivalent.
The final coffee, their Mills 1860 Blend, was last in the order of ingestion. The pourover fiddled out notes of birch, Tootsie Roll, spinach, lemon zest and a touch of malt. The Impress similarly held Tootsie Roll, spinach, birch, tobacco and seltzer, having a slightly smoky and bitter manner to the usual bright and deep notes. The siphon concluded with Tootsie Roll, spinach, sourdough, apple, birch and sunflower oil in a medium body. In totality, a coffee that proved sweet and bright up front, yet leguminous and heavy thereafter.
Thus, the Breakfast Blend left a fond impression with the other two faring slightly behind in my favor. Needless to say, these are but three of the many coffees that Queen Bean offers, so check out their wares and choose accordingly; you'll be supporting a coffee legacy dating back to when Abraham Lincoln walked the Earth.
note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.