Review: Andytown Coffee Roasters Colombia Las Planadas (San Francisco, California)

A quick trip recently to Michigan found me seeking out local shops/roasters in the Detroit area. I had about 10 minutes to decide where I was going, and luckily for me, I found a terrific little shop called Astro in the Corktown area of Detroit. I saw several shelves of roasters, notably Heart and Kuma, but I was more interested in trying roasters I hadn’t yet tried before, so I was happy to grab a bag from George Howell Coffee and this bag from Andytown.

I first heard about Andytown via reviews from the excellent blog The Coffee Concierge. Andytown is a San Francisco-area company that bakes, serves coffee, and roasts beans all from their 600-square-foot space. Their “About” page is warm and charming, and certainly makes me want to visit the next time I’m in that area!

I also enjoyed this, printed on the bag behind the information card:

It brought to mind “I Like Birds,” by Eels. 🙂

Whole bean: Smells sweet like honey! Super fragrant.

French press: The dominant flavor was of chocolate/cocoa powder. It was less sweet than the aroma of the beans promised, but it had a lovely citrusy tang on the finish, like tangerine. Really tasty.

Chemex: Easy drinking cup that tastes like cocoa powder but it’s missing the tangerine element of the press pot cup. Not bad, but I felt this cup had less personality.

AeroPress: The citrus flavor was the most present in this cup, with a nice thick texture and bright flavors.

V60: Bittersweet chocolate flavor that had a bite to it, but it smoothed out as it cooled.

Summary: I liked this coffee in the French press best, as I felt it brought out the best balance between the chocolaty depth and the citrusy brightness. I was a tiny bit disappointed that the coffee smelled sweeter in bean form than it actually ended up in the cup, but it’s nothing a drop of honey wouldn’t cure if you swing that way!

From the roaster: Lightly floral, full-bodied, honey sweet

Andytown Coffee Roasters Colombia Las Planadas

Review conducted 6 days post-roast.

Review: Patriot Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido (Lakeland, Florida)

From time to time, I get contacted by coffee companies who are interested in introducing me to their products, and I get pretty excited if it is a craft coffee company doing the talking. Such was the case when I got an email from Patriot Coffee Roasters, out of Lakeland, Florida. Take a look at their “About” page; I think you’ll clearly see the passion and dedication that is present in every word!

I had no idea what kind of coffee would be coming to my door (single-origin? blend?), as I don’t typically dictate gifts, but I was thrilled to open the box from Patriot to find this Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido. I love Ethiopian coffee, and the previous time I had tried an Idido coffee (from Novel Coffee Roasters), I was very impressed, so I couldn’t wait to crack this bag open.

Whole bean: hint of fruit in the aroma – raspberry? This almost smelled like perfume, in the best possible way. Definitely could smell hibiscus. My mouth was watering.

V60: This made a smooth cup with a hint of the perfume-like flavor I smelled in the whole bean form. Sweet but muted. This would make a great cup for newbies to Ethiopian coffee.

AeroPress: Very intense flavor, rich and satisfying. It was almost prismatic, the layers of fruit and floral flavor. Wowza.

Chemex: Delicate, like fruit tea. Sweet and fragrant. This had a whispery quality to it which I reveled in. If the AeroPress cup reminded me of Freddie Mercury’s intensity, this Chemex cup was more reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens’s hushed vocals.

French press: Richer flavor, but I felt this was unbalanced. Muddy texture and overall a less satisfying cup vs. the paper-filtered methods.

Summary: This coffee is delicious, and I rank it as the first real standout coffee I’ve had in 2017. I wouldn’t recommend it in a french press, but it makes a great cup when you use filtered methods. My personal favorite was the coffee that was made in the Chemex, because I really enjoy the subtle nuances of this origin, but it made very enjoyable cups in the Hario V60 and the AeroPress as well, depending on your tastes. Thanks to Patriot Coffee Roasters for the introduction – I’ll definitely be ordering from you guys again!

When I was writing up this review, I came across this entry on Patriot’s own blog regarding their cupping of this coffee. We agree that the french press doesn’t showcase these beans to their full potential, but they unanimously agreed that the AeroPress was the clear winner here. Potato, po-tah-to, if you ask me – it’s hard to get a bad cup of coffee with these beans!

From the roaster: stewed berries, hibiscus, nectarine, caramel sweetness, syrupy body

Patriot Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido

Review conducted at 6 days post-roast.

Disclaimer: I received this product gratis in exchange for a fair and honest review. Even though I received this for free, I treat and test it the same way as if I had paid for it out of my own pocket.

Review: Eiland Coffee Roasters Espresso X (Richardson, Texas)

“How do you decide what coffee to buy?”

I wish I could say that I have a system for this, but I really don’t! Coffee isn’t my day job, so contrary to popular belief, I don’t spend all day thinking about it or making plans for where to get my next fix… erm, I mean cup. I do have a list on my computer of roasters that I’d like to eventually check out, and as time and finances permit, I do chip away at that list. However, about half of the time, the coffee that makes its way into my home is the coffee that catches my eye somehow while I’m out and about. Most of my coffee purchases are done directly from roasters or from specialty coffee shops. Occasionally, though, I have good luck at Whole Foods markets, as was the case with this bag.

I’ve reviewed and enjoyed Eiland Coffee before, when I got a chance to buy their Ethiopia Sidamo Ardi at Dallas Coffee Day 2015. Even though their roasting headquarters are probably only 20 minutes or so away from where I live, I keep forgetting how relatively local they are to me so I haven’t tried any of their other beans until now. This Espresso X was fresh and it had been a while since I had purchased a local roaster. Game on!

Whole bean: Super sweet. Chocolate and almond. I typically try not to look too closely at the tasting notes on bags prior to doing these reviews, but I couldn’t help but notice the words, “rock candy” on the label. They’re not kidding!

Espresso: Unlike the Ritual Day Drinker espresso, which was complex and sunny and almost didn’t taste like coffee, Eiland’s Espresso X would be what I would consider to be an espresso for everyone. This is not a frou-frou bean, but it is not dark or bitter either. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor notes, but what notes it does have (chocolate, sugar) are REALLY tasty. Smooth, sweet, and eminently pleasurable to drink any time of day.

Favorite parameters for this blend: 204 degrees F, 17 grams in, 28 grams out, 28 second extraction.

With milk: I just had a sip of Shutterbug’s latte to see what I thought of this espresso + milk. It didn’t disappoint – it tasted very much to me like Haagen-Dazs coffee ice cream!! Granted, there was additional sugar in the cup, but the same creamy, smooth, luscious flavor was there. If I ran a coffee shop, this would be the sort of espresso I’d keep around as a “house” espresso. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that wouldn’t love this.

AeroPress: These beans weren’t quite as special in the AeroPress… Not bad by any means, but I just felt it tasted like good strong coffee. A bit generic, as I was missing the chocolate flavor that was present in the espresso. However, I will say that with a bit of sugar added, the coffee tastes pretty much exactly like it smells. One common lament I hear from people is that they love the smell of coffee but don’t like how it doesn’t taste as good as it smells. I’d love to brew them some of this and see if they change their mind.

Summary: I challenge you to find a more comforting, delicious espresso shot than this. It’s simple, but done exceedingly well. This isn’t trendy – it’s a classic.

From the roaster: Rock candy, milk chocolate

Eiland Coffee Roasters Espresso X