Review: MauiGrown Coffee Maui Mokka (Hawai’i)

This is the second of two varieties of coffee that one of my students brought me from Hawai’i (the other was the MauiGrown 100% Kona I wrote about last week). Unlike the Kona, which came in a blue opaque bag, the Maui Mokka came in a bag which had a clear front to it, so you could easily see the quality of the beans. The first thing I noticed was that the roast level looked to be on the lighter side of medium – lighter than the Kona beans, but still definitely in “medium” roast territory. The second thing I noticed was how small the coffee beans were. When green (unroasted) coffee beans are roasted, they expand in size, so the green beans for the Maui Mokka blend must be miniscule!

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MauiGrown 100% Kona bean on the left; MauiGrown Maui Mokka bean on the right.

Whole bean: toasty aroma of dark chocolate.

V60: I made this twice. The first time, at a 2:15 extraction time, I felt it was rather bland. The beans were so tiny that I figured they would be rather dense, so I set my grinder to a coarser level than usual, but apparently that was the wrong thing to do. The second I made this, at a 3:00 extraction time, I felt it came out a bit bitter but still plain tasting. Not a fan of these beans in this brew method.

AeroPress: Now THIS was better. Straight-up fudgy goodness in the cup. No need to add any water to dilute the concentrate, as this went down super easy!

Chemex: This had a bit of bite on the finish, but it was too close in character to the V60 cup. Pass.

French press: Much better! This cup had a rich mouthfeel, with a lovely amount of body and sweetness. It had a delicious comforting flavor of chocolate throughout.

Summary: Try this particular coffee in immersion methods like the AeroPress and French press for best flavor.

From the roaster: MauiGrown is famous for our Maui Mokka variety which we refer to as our Champagne of coffee. The seed stock for the Maui Mokka originated in Yemen and was planted on the Ka’anapali Estate in the 1980s. MauiGrown Coffee Co. is the only commercial grower of this variety in the world.

MauiGrown Coffee Maui Mokka

Review: MauiGrown Coffee Company 100% Kona (Hawai’i)

Hawai’i is the only state in the USA that grows coffee, and Kona coffee in particular has a reputation for being both very mild in flavor and very expensive. It’s hard to get your hands on 100% Kona coffee on the mainland; finding blends is much more common. Certain roasters do offer fresh-roasted Kona beans (for instance, Peet’s Coffee has 100% Kona available on their website, roasted once a week). However, with so many varieties of coffee available at more reasonable price points, splurging on 100% Kona wasn’t really a priority for me. However, when one of my students told me she was going on vacation with her family to Hawai’i, I couldn’t resist asking her if she would mind bringing back some coffee. Happily, she obliged, and this was one of the two types of coffee she brought back for me. Thanks, K! ūüôā

Whole bean: These beans looked to be roasted to about a Full City level; nice medium roast. There was the barest hint of cherry, but overall the aroma was¬†simply a strong “coffee” scent,¬†the kind that anyone that enjoys coffee would smell and go, “ahhhh.”

French press: Simple flavor of semi-sweet chocolate. One-dimensional, but a good dimension if you enjoy chocolate!

Chemex: This method yielded a sweeter cup, that tasted more of milk chocolate. It had a rather delicate fragrance, that wasn’t as assertive as the whole beans.

AeroPress: Brewed at 175 degrees F, this cup tasted of chocolate-covered almonds. This was the smoothest cup of the four, with no additional water needed (other than what is used for brewing). I do encourage drinking this as a concentrate!

V60: Very similar to the AeroPress cup, with a hint of butter on the finish. Delicious.

Espresso: Based on how much I liked this coffee in the AeroPress, I opted to try this¬†as espresso. It had a lovely reddish-brown color, but the flavor was pedestrian. Admittedly, I didn’t do very many pulls of this bean in my espresso machine before writing this review, but I definitely enjoyed it more when brewed as drip coffee.

Summary: 100% Kona coffee is expensive and difficult to get unless you live in Hawai’i, but if your coffee tastes run to the chocolate/almond/smooth side, it might be worth getting your hands on some as a splurge! I liked this particular coffee best in the AeroPress and V60.

From the roaster: Kona coffee is grown only in the Kona district of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Most Kona coffee is the Typica variety. Not all Konas are alike. Depending on altitude, soil, nutrition, pulping, drying, and roasting, Kona coffees can vary greatly. MauiGrown Coffee Company Store has selected a Kona coffee with what we consider is a Classic Kona Taste.

This 100% Kona is not available on the MauiGrown website (as of press time), but here is a link to their online store: MauiGrown Coffee Company Store

Review: James Coffee Company DecafNation (San Diego, California)

Even though I’ve already written about James Coffee Company’s Night Owl Blend, this bag of their DecafNation blend was actually the first bag of theirs that I invited into my home¬†to test, as I purchased this from Culture Craft Coffee and Espresso in Escondido, California. I didn’t intend to stretch out the decaf tasting, but with so many “normal” coffees in my house this summer, it took me more than a few days to satisfactorily complete my evaluation of this decaf. However, I think it was worth the effort!

I have to note that the back of the bag had the most detailed coffee brewing instructions I’ve seen to date, from ANY roaster. Props to you, James!

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Whole bean: Spicy chocolate aroma. Super fragrant!

V60: At a 2:45 extraction, this coffee had a deliciously rich flavor with a hint of maple. Simple and satisfying. Quite nice!! I kept forgetting that this coffee was decaf, which is always a good sign.

Chemex: I brewed this at a 4:00 minute extraction, and the resulting brew was sweet like milk chocolate with a touch of maple cream. I started thinking about the maple candies I’ve had in Canada. Mmmmm.

French press: This version didn’t have much in the way of sweetness. I definitely preferred this decaf brewed as a pourover instead of in a press pot, as the coffee here tasted hollow and bland. Slightly disappointing.

AeroPress: I almost forgot to taste the coffee this way, as I got a bit distracted by all the other coffees hanging around my house at this time (SQUIRREL!), but by the time I got around to it (1 month post-roast), the beans brewed in an AeroPress tasted fine, “like coffee.” Not sure if I would have picked up any other flavors had I had this when the coffee was fresher, but it did result in a perfectly decent brew.

Summary: This is a great decaf for people that enjoy satisfying, crowd-pleasing flavors like chocolate and maple. If circumstances required me to drink decaf, this is one that I would be quite happy to consume, especially paired with a nice, sweet dessert.

From the roaster:

DecafNation is not currently available online, but here’s a link to James’s¬†online store:¬†James Coffee Company