Showing posts with label vacuum press. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacuum press. Show all posts

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mugged: Ethiopian [Doma Coffee]

Subject:Doma Coffee Roasting Company
Mugged: Ethiopia Organic
Rating: 5+ [see key]

On the east coast, it's not often you hear about Idaho. And having traversed most of the state on several occasions, the hype certainly doesn't mirror the reality. For starters, Boise and Coeur d'Alene are nifty cities, plus you have tons of natural sites all over the place that make it a truly unique part of the west. 

As far as coffee roasters that call Idaho home, Doma is probably the one that has reached many ears across the globe. It might be because of the press received but I think good coffee, like cream, rises to the top. 

I had the delightful opportunity to recently sample Doma's Ethiopian Organic, a light-roasted coffee that from first waft had promise of being excellent. I sampled the coffee via drip, french press and siphon.

The drip delivered notes of blueberry, milk cocoa, little grass, apple strudel and a tinge of maple syrup and cinnamon. A light and bright coffee with lots of flavor.

The french press was consistent in taste, with resolute blueberry, milk chocolate, apple strudel, nutmeg, a little grass, a smidgen of maple syrup and caramel. Also light and fruity with a light body.

The siphon finished off the infusions with a cup heavier with milk chocolate and less blueberry, but with similar notes of grass, apple strudel and maple syrup. A chocolatey and juicy coffee. 

While Ethiopians tend to be delicious, not every roaster can capture a great coffee and roast it well. Give Doma a try whether you're looking for a good African coffee or something a little different.

note: coffee was not provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Mugged: Colombia [Henry's]

Mugged: Colombia Lite Roast
Rating: 4+ [see key]

While San Francisco is currently brimming with lots of new coffee talent, local coffee roasting is something that has been with the city for some time. Sure you have Peet's Coffee that originally launched in Berkeley many decades ago but there is also other roast operations such as Henry Kalebjian, who has been roasting in SF since 1965. 

Recently, his House of Coffee sent me out some coffee to sample, one of them their Colombia Lite Roast. I sampled it through drip, french press and siphon infusions. 

The drip delivered notes of milk chocolate,corn, raspberry, au jus, spinach, milky and a little wheat. A fairly tasty brew with a medium body.

The french press held flavors of corn, milk, cocoa, little wheat, romaine, fig and apple. Not as bright as the first cup but a little sweeter.

The siphon delivered corn, milk, cocoa, raspberry, au jus and spinach. This cup was good, though much more meaty with a little hint of iron.

Of the Colombians I've consumed, Henry roasts a pretty decent one with some delightful flavors. Give it a go, whether you're in town or ordering online.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mugged: Traditional Roast [Gevalia]

Subject: Gevalia Kaffe 
Mugged: Traditional Roast
Rating: 4+ [see key]

While I am a strong advocate for roasters who go above and beyond to not only produce a fine product but also educate the masses on better coffee practices, I will concede that most folks do not seem interested in that yet. Sure, people are more and more treating their coffee like fine wine and craft beer, but most people still consider their big-name coffees something more akin to a brand of ketchup.

But to the credit of some coffee roasters who have long held a stigma of mediocre product in fancy packaging, there is a concerted effort to make better coffee available. Take Gevalia, a long-time producer of coffee from Sweden who is best known for their "buy our coffee online and we'll give you a free coffee maker" approach. While the old coffee-&-coffeepot method still rolls on, they seem to have additionally dove into the practice of selling their beans whole bean with more of an emphasis on quality.

Curious as to how this distantly roasted-&-packaged coffee held up under scrutiny, I accepted the offer to review a bag of their Traditional Roast whole bean. I brewed it in the usual three manners of drip, french press and siphon.

The drip sent out a cup brimming with notes of cocoa, sweet corn, sourpatch kids, tea with cream and rice pudding. The body was light, mellow and the overall flavors were tasty.

The french press held similar notes, with cocoa, honey, wheat, rice pudding, torte and cream amidst a medium body. Also a good cup though not as delicious as the first.

The siphon brewed a coffee with wheat, cocoa, corn chip, rice, cream and a hint of ginger. Also satisfying, though a bit too mellow in flavor potency.

To my chagrin, the only concerns I had about this coffee were that the flavors were a tad muted. But for a coffee coming from Gevalia, I was quite pleased (though since this one was sent right to me, I wonder if/how they manage to keep the coffee fresh with in-store bags). If you're in the market for a decent medium roast from a giant coffee roaster, give Gevali'a's Traditional Roast a try.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mugged: Danish Blend [Kahve]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Kahve Koffee
Coffees Mugged:
Danish Blend
3+ [see key]

assachusetts has existed as a frequent factor in my coffee life as of late. Not only have I traversed various coffee establishments all over the state this past year but I've also had the privilege of being able to try out a few Mass coffees from a distance.

The latest roaster to meet my acquaintance is Kahve Koffee out of Brighton. The first of the two coffees I sampled was their Danish blend, an interesting name in that I recently devoured some Danish/Saxon historical fiction (actual events, fictional micro-events) in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales (sadly, they had no coffee to call their own).

Digging in, I found it to be a mix of medium and dark roasted coffees, a blending method that blends post-roasting. I brewed the Danish via the usual drip, siphon and french press.

The french press produced flavors of snap pea, sweet apple, carrot and a little earthiness. The bitterness was initially subdued but then roared into existence mid-sip. The overall coffee wasn't too bitter but definitely dark in essence.

The drip had a much different cup, with more cocoa up front, followed by apple, honeydew and rooibos. This coffee was much darker, toting pepper and bitter notes throughout.

The siphon was more like the french press in that the cup was lighter and had apple, honey, snap pea, carrot and a noticeable earthiness. This was the lightest cup, with the bitterness not as prevalent but instead, the coffee held more of a juicy and saucy character.

The Danish blend seemed to be a decent coffee overall, though the dark beans seemed to do little for the blend (much of the positive seemed to stem from the medium roasted beans). Thus, if you like your dark coffee tempered or your medium coffee more bitter, Kahve's Danish blend might hit your spot.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mugged: Single Origin Medium [Doi Chaang]

What does "Mugged" mean?

Doi Chaang Coffee
Coffees Mugged:
Single Origin Medium
4+ [see key]

Farming coffee often seems like such a distant process in regards to roasting. Especially in my consumption, it seems the only times one sees a farm and roastery combo are with Konas and Jamaican Blue.

But now I can add Thailand to my list, as I was sent a few coffees to try from Thailand coffee cooperative Doi Chaang Coffee. According to their website, the company was started when several tribes of the Doi Chaang village united to sell their premium coffee as single origin coffees to the world. So they put a headquarters in Vancouver, BC and seem to have a pretty slick operation. As I have never had coffee from Thailand and I'm a fan of such ambition, I was excited to see what Doi Chaang had to offer.

I sampled their Single Origin Medium roast first, a coffee that was the lightest of the three coffees sent (though still close to dark) and had also won a 90 from Coffee Review. I ingested the coffee via drip, siphon and french press.

The drip proved smooth, had touches of honey and some bits of clove along with a little bitterness provided by the darkish-ness of the beans. The coffee was thorough in the prior flavors but didn't have much else.

The french press developed the flavors a bit more. This brew was much sweeter, still showing honey and bits of cocoa and cloves. There was more brightness and less bitterness in this cup as well.

The vacuum press was the proverbial baby bear's bed as it was just right. Really sweet honey and cocoa with a noticeable grain-like element, followed with a little clove and a really nice brightness (practically no bitterness in this cup). By far, the best of the three methods for this coffee.

To say the least, I was satiated with this coffee, though it would seem like a good idea to roast it a little lighter to negate the bitter effects all together. If you're looking for a decent medium roast, give Doi Chaang's Single Origin Medium a go.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mugged: Guatemalan COE [Willoughby's Coffee]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: Willoughby's Coffee & Tea
Coffees Mugged: Guatemalan El Socorro Y Annexos, 2008 Cup of Excellence #4
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Connecticut is yet another nearby state that stands as a stranger to me, kinda like the neighbors three doors down that seem like happening people, but you are never around when they are home. I grew up somewhat close (2 hour drive) and yet, the only time I've stopped in was for a graduate school interview at Yale. As you can deduce, things did not work out for Yale and since then, I haven't been back.

Thus, I was thrilled to get some coffee from a New Haven coffee company called Willoughby's Coffee & Tea. The place had not really made my radar but their cafes look pretty nifty and their coffee offerings intriguing.

The first of the two coffees I tried was a 2008 Cup of Excellence winner from Guatemala. I sampled it in the typical three methods of drip, siphon and french press.

drip I dove at first. The ensuing mug demonstrated a coffee smacking of sweet honey and caramel popcorn, with a wheaty aftertaste, a tiny sour kiss and an overall pleasant smoothness. This was by far one the sweetest coffees I've had in a long time.

The siphon had a tad heavier body. This cup possessed more of a chocolate and caramel sweetness as well as bits of fig, date and a milky texture. Different result but still delightful.

The french press generated a lighter coffee similar to the drip, though with much more prevalent caramel and a nice chocolate milk texture and flavor. The fig and ending wheat were still present and some unique notes of spice also showed up; also a great cup.

To say I was satisfied would be putting it lightly. If Willoughby's locations can serve up espresso as well as they can roast coffee, then Connecticut would finally have a true pull for me to visit.

If you're looking for a well-roasted Connecticut coffee, order a pound from Willoughby's.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mugged: Artisan, Medium/Dark [Aduro Bean]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: Aduro Bean Micro-Roasters
Coffees Mugged: Artisan, Medium/Dark
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Little nuances in how coffee consumers control their coffee have become interesting trends as of late. Specifically, I speak of the "make your own blend" and "select your roast" trends. While it gives the customer the proverbial steering wheel, I'm curious how customer satisfaction usually ends up panning out (i.e. you might not be happy with what you thought you wanted).

I received some coffee to try out from one such roaster, a Fort Worth coffee roaster called Aduro Bean Micro-Roaster (a roaster I had heard of mind you from the Texas Coffee People). While Aduro sent me their recommended roasts, they normally allow for patrons to select their own roast prior to ordering (Aduro makes their own recommendations of course).

The first coffee I tried out was their Artisan roast, their house blend roasted at their recommended medium/dark level. I sampled it in the usual three methods of drip, french press and siphon.

The french press produced a honey and jersey corn sweetness on the front, plus a bit of grain as well as a
harsh bitterness and pepper on the back end. The body was medium and somewhat smooth.

drip turned out a more subdued cup. Still had the corn and honey-like sweetness and a tinge of whole grain as well. The body was much heavier but also much smoother, as the bitterness and pepper were more confined to the aftertaste.

The siphon still had the same sweetness as well as a similar bitterness and pepper to the french press. Like the drip, there was a fairly heavy body but not as smooth. One unique facet was a guest appearance of grape in the middle of the cup.

Oddly, I wonder now that if I had the option of choosing a medium roast of this same bean that it would have proven a better cup. Only time (or $10.50 + shipping and handling) will tell.

If you're looking for a decent med/dark coffee, try out the Artisan blend of Aduro Bean.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mugged: El Salvador [Golden Valley Farms]

What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters
Coffee Mugged: El Salvador Santa Teresa Bourbon
Rating: 3+ [see key]

ell-roasted coffee that gives back in some way is the best kind of coffee. Sadly, too often coffee roasters that mean well can't roast and so, many buy lousy coffee in the name of social justice.

Yet decent coffee that possesses sustainable components do exist. One particular new one to me was a coffee sent to me from Golden Valley Coffee Roasters out of West Chester, PA. Golden Valley has a strong Bird Friendly push and recommended their medium roast El Salvador, so I was thrilled to give it a try.

I brewed the coffee via french press, vacuum press and drip. The french press delivered a fair brew with the taste of buttered bread and some nice sweet notes followed with a little spice. The drip cranked out a similar cup with a little more bitterness. But the vacuum press really drew out the sweet notes, reminiscent of berries, plus the buttery aspect and a bit of spice; overall, the best cup.

To put it in a nutshell, the El Salvador proved decent. If you're looking for a fair coffee that's good for the birds, try Golden Valley Farms.

note: coffee was provided free of charge and the above review is objective feedback.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Mugged: PT's Coffee [Ethiopia Sidamo]

What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: PT's Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Ethiopia Sidamo
Rating: 5+ [see key]

hat a better way to start off the day then with a gloriously rich coffee? Let's forget the caffeine aspect; if your coffee doesn't make your eyes roll into the back of your head in ecstasy, then you have either been woefully misled or you're stuck somewhere unable to get a decent cup (my deepest sorrows are with those of you in the latter category).

But for the rest of you able to get your hands on coffee via delivery, my recommendation currently would be PT's Coffee's Ethiopia Sidamo. I just had the luxury of sampling this coffee via french press, vacuum press and drip; each one holding a flavor greatly abundant. Ground, the coffee is rich of all kinds of aromas but the most distinct was the overwhelming flares of blueberry. The vacuum press confirmed the aromas as it hit like a blueberry sledge hammer, complimenting with a nice acidity and a luscious merlot taste on the back. The french press produced similar accents of berries, with hints of a nice brightness and overall smooth taste. The drip had a bit more of a subdued tastes with some cocoa flavors popping out as well as a stronger presence of the merlot.

While I doubt many of you who are reading this frequently ingest bad coffee, if it does happen to be you who sucks the bad black water, I would at the very least recommend treating your tongue one time to such a good coffee as PT's Ethiopia Sidamo.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mugged: PT's Coffee [Kenya Ndaro-Ini]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: PT's Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Kenya AA Ndaro-Ini
Rating: 5+ [see key]

Over the years, I have ingested many a single origin coffee and thus far, I've had great coffee from most major coffee-producing countries. But no area of the world has continually amazed me as the east Africa region.

PT's Coffee recently threw me their Kenya AA Ndaro-Ini to try out and having high expectations as it got a 92 from Coffee Review, I looked forward to trying it out. After grinding, I wafted strong scents of berry and other fruit. I proceeded to sample it via french press, vacuum press and drip. The french press produced a gloriously bright cup, full of raspberry and tangerine, a nice acidity and finished with a natural sugar cane. The vacuum press held a light cup with a little more of an earthy depth and a strong sweetness on the end. The drip, though also similar, produced less complexity but still a strong presence of tart fruit and a sweet finish. All together, my expectations were strongly embraced.

If you're looking for a great direct trade coffee from Kenya, give PT's Coffee's Kenya
AA Ndaro-Ini a slurp.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mugged: PT's Coffee [Finca La Felicidad - Guatemalan Antigua]


What does "Mugged" mean?

Subject: PT's Coffee
Coffee Mugged: Finca La Felicidad - Guatemalan Antigua
Rating: 5+ [see key]

ecently, a number of coffee roasters have made great strides in creating direct trade with coffee farmers (i.e. cut out the middle man), a move that develops long-term relationships with the farm and ends up benefiting both parties with a greater product and fair pricing across the board (quite often the farm benefits many times more then Fair Trade certified farms).

PT's Coffee would be an example of one such roaster working hard at it. When they recently sent me a bag of Finca La Felicidad - Guatemalan Antigua to try out, I was thrilled to find the coffee comes from such a Direct Trade relationship.

As mentioned on PT's website, the coffee beans did produce a lovely potent buttery aroma. I sampled the coffee via french press, vacuum press and drip. The french press produced a deep chocolate taste, medium smooth body and followed with flecks of spice and molasses. The vacuum press had similar flavors, with the spiciness a little more pronounced and a bit more of an earthy flavor that came out. The drip had a much smoother body and little more subdued expression of the flavors (especially the cocoa).

On the whole, this coffee rocked my socks off. If you're looking for a great South American coffee, try Finca La Felicidad for sure.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CC: Ray's Cafe and Teahouse

What's does "CC" mean?

Ray's Cafe and Teahouse
Location visited: Philadelphia, PA
Free WiFi ? : no
Rating: 3+ [see key]

Vacuum press coffee. Not just a recent fad but a coffee method that's been going on since the 19th century yet for some reason over the years, not a lot of coffee businesses have bothered to use them.

Oddly enough, a small cafe and eatery in Philly's Chinatown called Ray's Cafe and Teahouse has been doing it for years. Ever since I got into coffee research, I've heard various people rave about the amazing coffee obtained from Ray's vacuum presses. Naturally, when my parents wanted to grab lunch in Chinatown, I figured I could kill two birds with one well-aimed stone.

Unfortunately, Ray's was packed when we showed up to their small cafe and we ended up trying out a different spot down the street for lunch. But when we finished our very authentic Chinese meal, we then made a sweep past Ray's so my dear mother and I could get some coffee (mom made the sweep much easier).

The exterior of Ray's demonstrates an ordinary storefront (with lots of pink!) and the inside lays out in a cute cafe setting with dim lighting and a very compact counter. True to form, they have several vacuum presses lined up on their coffee counter and offer quite a selection of coffee, though much of it looked like it came roasted from afar (like their Japenese charcoal-roasted coffee). I had an African coffee (I believe it was Kenyan) and my mother had Ray's Blend. Both were painstakingly prepared in the vacuum press (they knew what they were doing) but to my dismay, the coffee was old. Sure both coffees had a smooth characteristic and little char, but the stale quality made it hard to label. They do also serve espresso, but as the espresso wasn't something that had been mentioned and the espresso machine looked a little inactive, I decided to pass.

Despite the good vacuum press techniques, the not-so-great coffee put a bit of a damper on my experience. If Ray's had fresh coffee from a local roaster, I think the place could really begin to shine even brighter then it already does.

Thus, if you're looking for a good display of vacuum pressing skills, stop on by Ray's.