Review: Methodical Coffee Costa Rica La Pastora (Greenville, South Carolina)

Recently I was in Tyler, Texas for work and made my obligatory stop at The Foundry Coffeehouse for my morning ritual. I opted to get a bag from Methodical Coffee as I noticed they were stocking this roaster again. However, I had to do a lot of label and packaging scrutinizing to ensure I got what I wanted. Let me hop up on my soapbox for just a minute.

The importance of clear (as in easy to decipher) packaging!

Coffee roasters, we know you generally have one of three choices when deciding how to present your bags of coffee to the public.

Option #1: Each bag will carry the same logo, but individual origins and varietals will have different colored bags.

(Photo courtesy of Sprudge)

Option #2: Each bag will carry the same logo and be the same color, but the labels on the bags will be different colors for the different origins and varietals.

(Photo courtesy of Onyx Coffee Lab)

Option #3: Each bag will look exactly the same, apart from the text stating what kind of coffee is inside.

(Photo courtesy of Methodical Coffee)

In my experience, I find that most coffee roasters I buy from go with Option #2. It makes sense, really: they can print up just one bag design in one color, but it’s still easy to tell with just a glance what kind of beans are inside the bags. When I’m shopping, I’d like to be able to tell very quickly how many varietals I have to choose from, so that I can narrow down my choices and hunt for a clearly marked “roasted on” date (which is a whole separate rant for another time). Option #1 is more work for the roaster since they have to print up many different colors of bags, and in Stumptown’s case, it honestly was a bit confusing for me when they stopped using their signature brown bags for packaging – if I was at a Whole Foods looking specifically for Stumptown, I couldn’t just scan for the brown bag anymore. However, the different-colored packaging for each of Stumptown’s coffee offerings does make sense from a consumer point of view.

Option #3 is no doubt the cheapest option for packaging, because it allows for just one bag and one color label to be printed. All that would have to be changed would be the text on the front. But, from a customer perspective, this made me have to squinch my eyes up a bit to find the information I was looking for (country of origin, farm, etc.). The Foundry had 2 different coffees from Methodical on their shelves: an Ethiopia Guji and this Costa Rica. However, I almost missed the Costa Rica because I saw the Ethiopia Guji first and since I’ve already reviewed it, I thought, “oh, well, I’m not going to buy a coffee I’ve already reviewed” and it appeared that was the only coffee from Methodical available… until I looked much more closely at the bags. It’s a really pretty bag design, don’t get me wrong… I just would love it if the different varietals stood out a bit more. I am used to reading labels carefully but anything the companies can do to help out tired customer eyes is a good thing, I think!

Okay, now onto the coffee…!

Whole bean: Nondescript, apparently, since I have nothing here in my notes. I need to be better about this!

V60: At a 3:00 extraction, I wasn’t a fan of the coffee in this method. Harsh, bitter, and hollow in flavor. Kind of generically “dark” in flavor, though this wasn’t a particularly dark roast.

AeroPress: This had a nice balance of flavor; sweet, rich, tangy, and smooth on the finish. Good in this method!

Chemex: Sweeter result than the V60 cup but I still wasn’t particularly wild about this.

French press: Powdery and completely different in flavor than all the other methods. Subtly sweet and enjoyable. Mild.

Summary: Best in the immersion methods (French press and AeroPress).

From the roaster: Almond, gingersnap, plum

Methodical Coffee Costa Rica La Pastora

Review conducted 7-8 days post-roast.

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