Review: Cuvée Decaf Spicewood 71 (Spicewood, Texas)

Is there a decaf coffee out there worth drinking? My search has just begun, but I am pretty confident I’ve found one. I love being surprised by a coffee!

Cuvée Coffee is a craft coffee company based out of Spicewood, TX (also known as the home of Willie Nelson), about 40 minutes northwest of Austin. Their decaf appears to be a blend of Colombian beans. I couldn’t find information on how Cuvée decaffeinates these beans (water process? methyl chloride?).  The whole beans smelled to me like chocolate-covered cherry cordials and pistachios. Lots of pistachios.

French press: This was my first tasting of this coffee. It brewed up a bit pale in color with a red tint. Extremely smooth, but hollow tasting. Loved the texture of the coffee but it was missing a core to its flavor. At this point, I decided to add just a tiny pinch of salt to my cup (probably about 1/16 tsp of kosher salt to a 12 oz cup) and it really improved the coffee! I don’t make a habit of salting my coffee, but it makes sense that if a coffee is a bit bland, a little salt can bring out the flavors, just like it does with food. The addition brought out some of the acidity and the cup was much better balanced in flavor. Very nice if you’re looking for a rich cup.

V60: Deep, dark brown color – not really red. Gentle aroma. No real flavor to report. I added a pinch of salt to this too, but it didn’t really make a difference – I thought this cup was too thin and bland. Next!

Chemex: WOW. This surprised the heck out of me. This method knocked my socks off!! A lovely, bright acidity with some sweetness. It tasted like lemon meringue pie filling with toasted marshmallow. Considering how relatively flavorless the press and V60 were, I was floored at how flavorful this was. I couldn’t tell this was decaf.

AeroPress: This was a blend in flavors of sorts between the Chemex and french press. Nice balance of the rich depth and the bright notes, but for me there was not as much WOW factor as the Chemex. A very very pleasant cup to drink though.

Summary: Chemex makes this coffee into a rock star. It was also good (if more muted) in the AeroPress. If you make it in a french press, add a little salt. Don’t use a V60 unless you want no flavor.

From the roaster: Herbacious with hints of lemon. A cola-like body, and notes of tea as it cools.

Cuvée Coffee Decaf Spicewood 71

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