Review: Wrecking Ball Coffee Ethiopia Classic Yirgacheffe (San Francisco, California)

This is my first experience with Wrecking Ball Coffee. I had initially heard about them through this article on Sprudge, and found their approach to coffee interesting (iced cappuccinos?? I’m not big on iced drinks, but kudos to them for trying something new). Plus, I love that their house espresso blend is named “Pillow Fight“! Someday I will try that blend, but for this particular order, I wanted to go with a single-origin coffee.

Whole bean: Smells a lot like jasmine tea. Once ground, it became SUPER bright and fragrant. I was overwhelmed (in a good way).

V60: A rather flowery-smelling brew with flavors of green grape and dark chocolate.

AeroPress: The concentrate was quite strong, full of grassy/floral flavor. I added just a touch of water and it balanced the coffee for the better. The brew became a little chocolaty with a hint of lavender.

Chemex: For me, this method was the star of the show. Somehow, brewing this coffee in a Chemex made the resulting coffee completely different in character than in the other three methods. It was quite light in color and light-bodied. Ultra easy-drinking brew, with notes of caramel, shortbread, butter, and a hint of lavender. Delicate. Delicious.

French press: Intense aroma of almond and flowers. This was a flavor explosion in the mouth.

Summary: Get your hands on this coffee and brew it in a Chemex for a really superb flavor experience!

From the roaster: Floral, citrusy, clean, complex, balanced.

Wrecking Ball Coffee Ethiopia Classic Yirgacheffe

Review: Roseline Coffee Kenya Othaya Peaberry (Portland, Oregon)

I went back to Houndstooth Coffee in Dallas recently to see if they had any more bags of the Roseline Ethiopia Limu Gera I reviewed. They did not, but they did have this Kenyan coffee that sounded delicious. I try not to get swayed too much by roasters’ tasting notes (in fact, I try not to read them at all if I can help it) but I looooooove the flavor combination of lemon and raspberry, so it’s like this coffee knew just what to say to get me to hand over my credit card.

Whole bean: I’ll be darned. To my nose, these beans did smell like lemon pound cake and raspberry jam.

V60: A creamy and rich aroma wafted from this cup. The flavor was hard to pin down and didn’t finish sweet – it actually had a little bit of a cardboard/paper flavor. Hmm. I didn’t do anything differently than normal (I used bleached Hario filters and rinsed them thoroughly with hot water before brewing), so I don’t think the papery taste would have come from the filter.

AeroPress: The concentrate was DELICIOUS. I actually wrote that word in all caps in my review notebook as well! The flavor was complex and joyous. My mouth was so happy – there were flavors of rose, cream, lemon, and vanilla in this coffee. I didn’t add any water to this concentrate because I felt like it would be a crime.

Chemex: Lovely, lovely cup. Full bodied and full flavored. Creamy and sweet with a lingering complexity. For some reason, all I could think of when I drank this was the opening to Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe. Fellow musicians will understand that a flutist comparing a coffee to this masterwork by Ravel is a pretty big deal.

French press: Bright and lemony. I wasn’t as impressed with the coffee in this method for some reason. It wasn’t bad, but it lacked the balance that it had in other methods.

Summary: Compared to the Roseline Ethiopia Gera, this coffee is brighter, sunnier, and more extroverted. I really adored it brewed in an AeroPress and in the Chemex.

From the roaster: lemon curd, raspberry tart

Roseline Coffee Kenya Othaya Peaberry

Review: Chromatic Ethiopia Guji Sidama (San Jose, California)

Chromatic Coffee is where I get one of my favorite espresso blends. I figured it was high time I tried some of their other offerings, so I added a bag of this Ethiopia Guji Sidama to my most recent order.

Whole bean: mild, light, sweet, and fragrant. Reminded me more of perfume than coffee.

V60: At a 2:40 extraction, this coffee was quite floral, like I was walking through a garden. Bright and sunny. It packs quite a punch in flavor!

AeroPress: Brewed as a concentrate, this tasted like lemon pith and flower stems – bitter and grassy. I added some water and it was better, but whoo! This brew made my mouth pucker. The flavor was brighter than neon!

Chemex: Very floral and acidic. Tastes like lemon, grapefruit, and flowers. Springtime in a mug.

French press: This brew had the most body and depth, which combined with the citrus/floral notes, made for a weird combination. It tasted confusing to my mouth – kind of like if there was a chamber music piece consisting of glockenspiel, piccolo, triangle, and trombone.

Summary: This washed Ethiopian coffee reminded me a lot of the Case Coffee Ethiopia Mogeyes, which tasted like I had taken a “mixed bouquet of flowers and spun them in a Vitamix.” Very floral in aroma and flavor, with notes of grapefruit and lemon.

From the roaster: Citrus, floral, round

I JUST ordered this at the end of March but at writing time (early April), it’s already disappeared from the website! Guess I caught them right before they changed their menu.

Chromatic Coffee Online Store

Review: Commonwealth Coffee Colombia Carlos Muñoz Nariño (Denver, Colorado)

When I visited Oak Lawn Coffee in Dallas and purchased beans recently, I got a free to-go cup of drip coffee. That cup of drip was so tasty, I turned right around and walked back into the shop to demand (nicely!) to know what it was, and it turned out to be this roast from Commonwealth. On a later visit, I was finally able to pick up a bag and I couldn’t wait to try it at home!

Whole bean: mild aroma with orange notes.

French press: Citrus/orange flavor that predominates through a thick texture and flavor of milk chocolate.

Chemex: Light body with a mild milk chocolate flavor. Less orange in this cup.

AeroPress: Straight up, it was toasty, thick, and rich. It was a little much for me as a concentrate so I would recommend adding water to lighten things up.

V60: Dark chocolate flavor; less sweet than the Chemex cup, but still quite pleasant. Arguably more pleasant!

Summary: Chocolate and orange flavors combine for a very easy-drinking, smooth cup. I happen to really like the orange notes so the french press version was my personal favorite.

From the roaster: I mistakenly threw out the bag before writing up this review so I don’t have the full tasting notes from Commonwealth, but there was definitely chocolate and orange listed! Oops.

This particular coffee is not offered currently on Commonwealth’s website.

Commonwealth Coffee Online Store

Review: Roseline Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Gera (Portland, Oregon)

I know I bring them up a lot on this blog, but I have to give props to Houndstooth Coffee in Dallas for continuing to offer an intriguing rotating selection of roasters in addition to their house roaster (Tweed). On a recent visit, I was delighted to see bags of Roseline Coffee! I have reviewed Roseline’s Catapult Blend before and enjoyed it very much (once I figured out that it was an espresso blend), so it wasn’t a hard decision for me to grab this bag of their Ethiopia Gera.

This funny exchange happened at the shop:

Me: “Awesome! You guys have Roseline!”
Barista: “Whoa, you know Roseline?! And you pronounced it correctly!”
Me: …… “How else would you pronounce it?”
Barista: “We’ve had people saying Ross-lynn, Rose-lynn…”

The barista I chatted with said that she was particularly excited about this Ethiopia Gera, which made me look forward to trying it even more!

Whole bean: Light, nutty aroma.

French press: This was a plush, radiant coffee that had a really delicate and smooth flavor. A little nutty, a little sweet, a little juicy. It whispers and caresses the palate. Absolutely lovely. I was dumbfounded.

Chemex: Tea-like body but juicy. So refined! Not hugely different from the french press version, but perhaps a bit brighter in flavor. I enjoyed this a lot.

AeroPress: This rendition was the most bright/acidic of the four when consumed straight, but it wasn’t unpleasant – just a little louder than the other brews. Adding just a touch of water to the concentrate smoothed and sweetened it out.

V60: Peachy, silky and sweet. Damn good.

Summary: This is the first coffee I’ve had in 2016 that really blew me away. I love the delicate balance of flavors and how it just shimmers in the mouth, like you’re holding a gossamer ball of light on your tongue. It doesn’t have a strong flavor, so if you’re used to coffee slapping you awake in the morning, this will seem really mild-mannered and polite in comparison. But, for those times when you want to sit and contemplate the beauty inherent in things that are fleeting (which for me is a lot of the time!), this coffee fits the bill.

From the roaster: peach, chestnut, oolong tea

I am heartbroken to say that this coffee is not currently available on Roseline’s website. I feel like such a tease.

(Edited 4/14/16: It’s up! Roseline Coffee Ethiopia Gera)

Roseline Coffee Online Store

Review: Corvus Everyman Seasonal Espresso Blend (Denver, Colorado)

On a recent visit to Method Coffee in Dallas, they had fresh bags of this in stock, so I decided to check them out. I had not previously heard of Corvus, but the independent DFW area coffee shops that I frequent have not steered me wrong yet!

Poking around their Mission page, I learned that Corvus prefers to work directly with private farms instead of relying on certifications like fair trade, organic, etc. They roast in the Nordic style, which to me basically means they roast only as much as needed to bring out the natural flavors of the coffee, as opposed to roasting until the coffee tastes like the roasting process. Heart would be another roaster I’d put in this category.

Whole bean: Creamy scent with notes of berries.

Espresso: This espresso had a lot of bright berry acidity. It reminded me a lot of the Commonwealth Ontology Espresso in flavor – chocolate and blueberry/raspberry notes. It was very nice pulled as a straight shot if you like a bright, sweet espresso that packs a punch.

Favorite parameters: 18 g in, 35 g out, 202 degrees F, 23 second extraction

With milk: This blend seemed a little less special once milk was added since it muted the berry notes, but it made a decent latte.

Other preparations: I had a hunch that I would like this blend prepared as coffee instead of espresso, and I was right! This was excellent brewed in a Chemex: chocolaty and lively due to the blueberry flavor. Lovely depth and sweetness. It was also very good in a french press.

Summary: A tasty espresso consumed straight if you like berry notes; good with milk. Particularly good brewed as coffee!

From the roaster: Dried berry, Cacao sweetness, supple. Currently made up of coffees from Peru and Ethiopia.

Corvus Everyman Seasonal Espresso Blend