Review: Sterling Coffee Roasters Guatemala Los Carillos (Portland, Oregon)

I had expected that I would have a streak of five reviews concentrating on Portland-area coffee roasters, but that expanded to seven once I decided to get two additional bags of Sterling Coffee Roasters’ beans. This is the last in the series; the next bag will likely be something local as I plan to attend the sold-out Dallas Coffee Day this Sunday!

Whole beans: These beans gave off a milk chocolate, vanilla bean, and chocolate milkshake aroma. Very inviting.

V60: Nope. This cup was astringent and dry – not pleasant, especially considering the sweet aroma of the beans. Plain water tasted super sweet after drinking this.

AeroPress: There was a bit of marshmallow and some lemon flavor in this concentrate. Adding water made me think of s’mores, and made it a very smooth cup.

Chemex: Clean, light, marshmallow scent and flavor on the finish.

French press: Sweet and full-bodied! This cup was most like a chocolate milkshake.

Espresso: Sterling’s website stated that they pull this as a single-origin espresso in their shops, and that it is best consumed as a straight espresso because the flavor has a tendency to get lost in milk. I only pulled a few shots before I ran out of beans, but I managed to hit their suggested parameters, and the shot was decently tasty but not as good as their Blendo Stupendo in my opinion. As a straight shot, the Guatemala Los Carillos has a somewhat generic chocolate flavor with a note of lemon. Not my favorite flavor combination. Even with a small amount of milk (about 4 oz of milk added to my 2 oz of espresso), the coffee flavor really was muted.

Summary: Based on my previous experience with Guatemalan beans, I had expected that I would enjoy this brewed in a Chemex the most, but while it was delicious in a Chemex, I actually think I preferred this particular bag of beans in the French press, as it brought out the chocolate/vanilla flavor the most. I had limited experience with this as an espresso but from what I did experience, I think this is best served as a coffee. I will say that Sterling is 3 for 3 in impressing me with their beans!

From the roaster: Look for a delicate vanilla bean fragrance when ground, and a cup that smacks of dried Mediterranean fruit, marzipan, and that sublime cocoa flavor so characteristic of Guatemala coffee. Light roasted for drip and press.

Sterling Coffee Roasters Guatemala Los Carillos

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