Review: Café Grumpy Heartbreaker Espresso Blend (Brooklyn, New York)

Café Grumpy calls their Heartbreaker blend their signature house espresso blend. Like a lot of blends, this one appears to rotate components based on availability and current flavor profiles. Right now, this blend is a combination of Guatemalan and Ethiopian (Kochere) beans, so I guessed that I could expect chocolate and perhaps some fruity/berry and floral notes.

Sort of silly of me, but I had a great time testing these beans while playing this fantastic album in the background. Seemed appropriate!

Whole bean: These smelled like chocolate graham crackers. Sweet!

Espresso: I probably pulled a dozen or more shots over 2 days with these beans, and I’m not sure I have quite figured them out. There was a fantastic amount of crema (at about 1 week post-roast) and the flavor was generally a combination of dark chocolate and blackberry. I ended up preferring this espresso pulled at a pretty high temperature as I felt the lower temperatures brought out perhaps a little too much blackberry flavor and the shot came off rather sour.

Favorite parameters (though I never really feel like I found the “perfect” parameters for these beans): 18 grams in, 209 degrees Fahrenheit, 39.3 grams out, 23 second pull.

With milk: This espresso in milk drinks was nice, but not particularly noteworthy in my view. Nothing wrong with these drinks, but they didn’t particularly bowl me over. I do think they work better with less milk though – in a latté, the espresso flavor was drowned out for my taste.

AeroPress: This was rather nice brewed straight – great body, chocolate flavor with a bit of berry brightness and nutty flavor.

Summary: Did these beans break my heart? Not really, but I also don’t feel like I got to know them fully. If these beans were a person, I’d feel like they were an acquaintance I wouldn’t mind meeting again, but I’d need more time and perhaps a mutual friend (a trained barista?) to help me get a sense of the true essence of this blend.

From the roaster: blackberry, amaretto, dark chocolate

Café Grumpy Heartbreaker Espresso

Review conducted 7-9 days post-roast.

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