I have a new favorite espresso blend!!!
With a name like Chromatic, this is clearly an espresso blend after my own heart. This coffee company has been on my list of must-try roasters for some time now. I was very much hoping to get my hands on a bag of Chromatic Coffee during my recent trip to San Jose, but when I found out that their flat rate shipping is only $2.00, I decided that I could wait since the shipping is so affordable. Props to Chromatic for getting the beans to me in just two days (roasted on a Tuesday, received on Thursday!).
A nice touch: My coffee came packaged with a piece of Werther’s Original butterscotch candy. Thus far, Chromatic and Red Bird are the only roasters that I’ve ordered from who send candy (Red Bird sends hard candy during the summer months and chocolate in the winter). Not necessary, but a welcome treat. 🙂
Typically, I start pulling espresso shots around 6-7 days post-roast, but I broke into this bag 4 days post-roast because I couldn’t wait. I actually hadn’t pulled any espresso shots at home for a few weeks prior to this, so I figured I would need some practice to dust off my skills.
Whole beans: Mmm. Creamy fragrance that was mild but full of promise.
The first pass choked the machine due to too fine of a grind, so I adjusted the settings on my Vario. The second pass was still a bit slow (ristretto territory) but I started making noises in the kitchen of shock and delight. This espresso had a luxurious texture and a complex but eminently comforting flavor of chocolate and caramel with just a hint of red cherry. I was astounded at how good it was! I continued adjusting the grind and extraction time/volume to play with getting more/less fruit and more/less chocolate in the shot. All were tasty.
After six shots (and yes, I drank them ALL) I made a latte for Shutterbug to test how well this espresso stood up in milk. He added about 1/2 tsp of sugar before I had a chance to taste the drink. When I did have a sip of his drink, my jaw dropped because it tasted like I had put the best butterscotch sauce in the world into the cup. I have never had a latte that tasted as much like dessert as this one.
The next day, I made myself a latte (no sugar). Blissful. Obviously not as sweet as the sweetened version from the previous day, but the same butterscotch flavor notes were there. Very, VERY easy to drink!
I continued to experiment with temperature and extraction rate. My personal favorite was a ristretto shot pulled at 18.5 g in a double basket, 201 degrees F, 15 gram output. This espresso was equally enjoyable straight and in milk. Straight, it was smooth yet complex with beautiful layers of caramel and nougat flavor that lingered for a long time on the palate. In milk, it simply screams butterscotch.
I kept putting off trying this in the AeroPress because I loved it pulled as espresso SO MUCH, but I felt I needed to see how it fared without the 9 bars of pressure. It had a sweet, rich, smooth chocolate flavor. No particular fruity or floral notes. There was an earthiness to the aroma while I was brewing the cup, but it dissipated pretty quickly. Overall, it was less interesting in the AeroPress vs. as an espresso shot (which is to be expected, really) but it makes a really enjoyable cup in the AeroPress, especially for someone that doesn’t like bright flavors in their coffee. This would be something I would be comfortable serving to a dark roast drinker; it had delicious toasty flavors with a nice depth.
Obviously, my home is not a cafe and there’s really no such a thing as a “house” espresso around here, but if I was running a cafe, THIS would be my choice. For the first time in 6+ months and innumerable espressos and coffees, Shutterbug actually asked me to order more of a particular coffee. In fact, it was more like he implored me! I was quite happy to oblige.
Summary: Get your hands on this. Now. But leave some for me!
From the roaster: Chocolate, butterscotch, creamy