Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mugged: Sumatra, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia [Royal Mile]

Subject: Royal Mile Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged and Rating [see key]:
- Sumatra Toba Batak Peaberry 5+
- Rwanda Coffee Villages SWP Decaf 5+
- Tanzania Peaberry 5+
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Cheffe Dumerso 6+

It's always a welcome surprise when an area with few great coffee options gets another one with some promise. Such is the case with New Jersey, the land I call home. For its population density, there are precious few coffee operations that roast or brew quality coffee.

So when coffee roaster newcomer Royal Mile Coffee Roasters reared their head in Haddon Heights, I had my fingers crossed for a bombastic addition to the local coffee arsenal. Fortunately I didn't have to wait long, as they out a few coffees to send through the gauntlet, all of which I sampled via pourover, french press and siphon. 

The first up was a Sumatran peaberry from the Lake Toba area of Lintong and, unlike a lot of Sumatran coffee, these beans were reputed to hold a lot of flavors that perform well at a lighter roast (aka most Sumatrans usually only debut as dark roasts). The pourover dished out chocolate, jalepeno, buttered toast, a mix of tangerine/lemon/berry and a little clove in a medium body, making for a sultry and hearty brew with some nice fruit. The french press proved a little maltier and deeper, with notes of Dr. Pepper, dates, almond, gala apple (with skin), lemon pepper and chard. The siphon held middle ground, with chocolate, lemon pepper, buttery toast, cream soda, dates and apple skin in a medium body. All in all, a tremendous Sumatran with lots of nuance despite a slim peppery/spicy ending. 

The next up was a decaffeinated (Swiss Water Process) Rwandan coffee. The pourover sang out strong notes of cascara, a little cheddar, au jus, caramel and basil within a medium-heavy body, proving very sweet and juicy, but also slightly heavy and savory. The french press also held a lot of cascara, following with apple. caramel, cocoa, spinach and a little olive oil amidst a medium body. The siphon was the least cascara/apple-ish, flaunting a bit of cocoa above the (still prominent) notes of apple, olive oil, cascara, bran, black tea and caramelized onions. This decaf really packed a substantial and deliciously varied punch of flavors, especially for fans of cascara and apple juice. 

Third to bat was another peaberry, this time from Tanzania. The pourover fluttered forth with almond croissant, tangerine, fig, nougat, tortilla chip, romaine, nutmeg and a little lime zest, delivering a sweet, buttery and smooth coffee with a medium body. The prominent almond croissant held strong in the french press, though more bright fruit rang forth such as raspberry and tangerine, but in totality finished off with tortilla chips, nougat, a little romaine and a touch of honey. The siphon rocketed out champagne, nougat, apple, cherry and kale, possessing a juicy and smooth quality. Though the coffee had a noticeable vegetal aftertaste, the brews sampled all-around deliciously. 

The final coffee on the tour was my favorite: the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Cheffe Dumerso. Through pourover, this coffee paraded out sweet chocolate cake, blueberry, wheat crackers, marinated ribeye, honey Chex and a touch of spring mix, demonstrating a coffee that's lusciously sweet, smooth and medium-bodied. Similarly, the french press rained down chocolate chocolate-chip muffin, blueberry, just-ripe grape tomato, nutmeg, a little vanilla, a slight lemon torte and a smidgen of italian rustic bread; Smooth, sweet and bright. The siphon capped it off with visions of chocolate, powdered sugar, blueberry, wheat ale and chex mix, making the consumption a delightful activity. This Ethiopian stood as a clean, sweet and bright coffee with few detractions. 

In summation, I am delighted that Royal Mile Coffee not only delivers some great coffees, but that they better improve the dry New Jersey landscape. If you seek some great coffee, check them out online and where locally sold.

Note: Despite the fact that Royal Mile Coffee is a current sponsor of the Pure Coffee Blog and that the coffee was provided free of charge, the above review is objective feedback and in no way reflects bias.   

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