Review: Bird Rock Coffee Roasters Nebula Nectar Espresso Blend (San Diego, California)

Here’s a roaster I was pretty excited to check out (again). I had received a couple of bags of Bird Rock Coffee from my sister as a birthday present a few years back (pre-blog), and I remembered the coffee being delicious, so when I had the chance to visit San Diego recently, I made sure to stop and get a bag of beans from Bird Rock. In fact, it was the first stop I made after landing at the airport. Don’t judge me too hard, it was only 2.2 miles from the terminal!

Whole bean: Sweet, syrupy scent. I wrote “melon??” in my notes – I was thinking honeydew but it was hard to pinpoint. Once I ground the beans, it smelled pretty strongly of graham crackers.

Espresso: I feel like I didn’t get quite as much time to experiment with these espresso beans as I would have liked, simply because I had a lot of coffees to try. But, the espresso I pulled with these beans definitely lived up to the notes on the bag in that it was very, very complex. Ristretto shots came out with notes of s’mores, graham crackers, honey, and cantaloupe. Normale shots (how I ended up preferring this espresso) came out with loads of complexity and notes of mango. For anyone that’s had the Asian candy Hi-Chew, one particular shot tasted just like the mango flavored Hi-Chew.

Favorite parameters: I don’t feel like I really discovered all the secrets of these beans, but for anyone wanting mango Hi-Chew espresso: 199 degrees F, 18 g in, 29 g out.

AeroPress: Smooth, round flavors. Not quite chocolate – more like flat Coca-Cola, which actually was a bit more pleasant than it sounds. Floral scent.

With milk: I think I made one latte with these beans for Shutterbug, and he wasn’t super enthused. It was drinkable, but I imagine this particular espresso shines best when consumed without dairy. Adding milk to something that tastes like cola/s’mores/melon/mango all rolled into one? Yeah, that sounds odd to me too.

Summary: Very complex, multi-layered espresso that should be consumed straight or as an Americano. I would be interested in trying this bean again sometime as I don’t feel like I unlocked all of its potential, but I sure had fun trying!

From the roaster: Maple, honeydew, rose, root beer

Bird Rock Coffee Roasters Limited Edition Nebula Nectar Espresso Blend

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