Review: Tweed Staycation Ethiopian Blend (Dallas, Texas)

On my most recent visit to Houndstooth Coffee, the baristas used me as a guinea pig and had me try an interesting concoction that was espresso + tonic water + lemon ice cubes + a sprig of rosemary. It was quite sweet and I told them it tasted like liquefied lemon LifeSavers, which they seemed pleased about. The espresso didn’t make its presence known until the latter half of the drink, but when it did, it added a nice complexity to this cold beverage. If that sounds up your alley, visit the Dallas location soon – I didn’t catch the name of this drink but they’re rolling it out shortly (it’ll probably be on the menu by the time I publish this)!

The Tweed Staycation blend is made up of Ethiopian heirloom coffee beans; the bag listed the proportions as 70% Yirgz, 30% Ardi. On the website, they get into a bit more detail; 70% of the blend will be either Kochere or Yirgacheffe, washed, while 30% will be Kilenso Moccanissa or Sidama, natural-processed. The current Yirgz/Ardi blend probably just reflects what is “in season” now and what Tweed was able to procure from their producers.

Whole bean: These beans smell like blueberries and raspberries. Sweet and mild. On a blueberry scale of 1-10, 1 being “no scent” and 10 being “Violet Beauregarde,” this bag rated about a 5.

French press: Flavors of blueberry and melon rind with a piquant aftertaste. I brewed this for my usual 4 minutes but I was missing a certain depth in this cup; it was a bit bland, which is odd for an Ethiopian coffee! However, I tried brewing it again for 5 minutes the next day and it brought out a mesmerizing honeysuckle aroma and flavor.

Chemex: Berry bomb! Deliciously sweet with a bit of citrus zing. This had a very thin body (which could be expected thanks to the thick Chemex filter), and could be super-refreshing as an iced coffee.

AeroPress: The concentrate was too strong to drink straight, but adding just a bit of water brought out muted berry and rich cocoa flavors. Very sweet and satisfying.

V60: This particular cup wasn’t to my taste, as it mostly tasted of lemon and lemon pith. It was a bit bitter, even at only a 2:40 extraction time.

I didn’t know going into this tasting how the coffee was processed; it wasn’t until I looked up the website in order to write this review that I found out it was 70/30 washed/natural. Based on the blueberry aroma I detected from the whole beans, my assumption was that it was mostly natural-processed beans, so my expectation was that I would get much more berry flavor than I did (which makes sense if that was only 30% of the batch).

Summary: This is a nice blend of the two predominant processing styles of Ethiopian coffee, and I think it features the best of both worlds. Natural-processed Ethiopians have strong berry flavor but can come off tasting a bit like plastic. Washed Ethiopians are cleaner in finish but can go too far in citrus and floral flavor for some. This blend had no plastic in it, and strikes a lovely balance that brings out blueberries, raspberries, a little cocoa (in the AeroPress), a little refreshing zing of lemon on the finish (in the Chemex), and sweet floral notes (in the French press).

From the roaster: Berry, melon, lemon zest

Tweed Coffee Online Store

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