Quills is a new company to me, but I was absolutely floored by the amazing flavors in their Ecuador La Papaya (as you might have seen me raving about a couple of weeks ago). I ordered this bag of their Blacksmith espresso blend at the same time, but life kind of got in the way and I wasn’t able to do a full battery of testing on the beans in my normal time frame (around 7-14 days post-roast). This might have actually worked out though, as the beans proved to have a useful life for longer than I anticipated. Good job, Quills. 🙂
Whole bean: Fresh scent, with notes of cocoa and nuts and a hint of red cherry.
Espresso: I started pulling shots of this bean 10 days post-roast, and did another series of shots at 20 days post-roast. Throughout the first run of shots, the flavor was really bright and verging on sour, but I found that this bean benefited from higher temperatures (for my taste, anyway). The best shot to my palate tasted mostly of bittersweet chocolate, but still had a slight punchiness and acidity to it to keep things lively. There was plenty of crema throughout both tastings.
Favorite parameters for this espresso: 206 degrees F, 19 grams in, 40 grams out at a 25 second extraction time.
With milk: Shutterbug liked the latte I made for him, though to be honest, I think he was inclined to like just about anything I gave him after a really nasty surprise with a bag of Peet’s coffee I brought home (that review will be posted next week).
AeroPress: This was a bit disappointing. The coffee brewed this way tasted strangely watered down, even though I was drinking it as a concentrate. Stick to brewing this as true espresso – it tastes hollow and bland in this method.
Summary: This espresso benefits from high temperatures if you’re looking to get rich, chocolaty flavor with a good balance of acidity.
From the roaster: cherry, honey, toasted almond
Review conducted at 10 days and 20 days post-roast.