Review: Olympia Coffee Burundi Long Miles Reserve (Olympia, Washington)

This is the second coffee I picked up from Fleet Coffee in Austin. Olympia Coffee is a roaster I’ve seen before in my travels but I somehow had never gotten around to trying. I had high hopes though, given that I’d seen some rave reviews (most recently, a glowing review of Olympia’s Little Buddy Blend from Benji of The Coffee Concierge).

The “Sweetheart” designation was confusing, as when I went on Olympia’s website, I saw other coffees labeled with that name. I managed to find an explanation on La Marzocco USA’s website, where they had written up a feature on Olympia. From their website:

Sweetheart is a rotating, seasonal single origin coffee. Sam Schroeder, co-owner of Olympia Coffee points out that, “Sweetheart intentionally does not try to achieve a consistent flavor profile, but rather provides our guests with a seasonal variety of flavors specific to a given moment.” The Sweetheart concept is one way the company implements its overall goal of “Quality Coffee and Quality of Life.” Schroeder goes on to explain, “If we feature a farmer’s coffee as Sweetheart Espresso, we can buy over 10 times as much coffee from that farmer than if we were to feature it as filter coffee alone. This has the ability to create much stronger bonds with farmers and improve quality of life at origin.”

This explains why different coffees will be labeled “Sweetheart” at any given time. Most coffee companies aim for as consistent a profile as possible for their espresso, so it’s a refreshing change to see a company embrace the inherent variability and uniqueness of the coffees available at any given time.

Whole bean: “Delicious” was unfortunately the only word I wrote down. I couldn’t pinpoint any specific aromas, just that it made me excited to brew!

V60: These beans were surprisingly dense — do note that you’ll likely need to grind these beans quite a bit more coarsely than usual in order to hit a typical 2:30-3:00 minute extraction time. The grind setting I chose gave me a 4:10 extraction time, but I don’t think the coffee suffered much for it. There was great sweetness in this coffee. Toffee flavor with a nice tangy finish.

Chemex: Same problem as the Hario V60 – I guessed too fine of a grind again and ended up with a 4:40 extraction time here. This did taste just a bit overextracted, with a slightly unbalanced flavor of plum against white sugar, but it was a tangy and fruity cup that I still enjoyed.

French press: Great texture to this, with a tangy flavor that spoke mostly of honey.

AeroPress: I think I ran out of words by the time I got to this part of the tasting because I wrote “intense,” and once I added a touch of additional water, I wrote “awesome.” I did put a star next to this particular category though, which I reserve for the methods I think are the best, so obviously even though I didn’t have much to say, it was a terrific cup of coffee.

Summary: If you’re planning on brewing these beans in a method where grind size matters a lot (pourovers), grind this coarser than usual if you don’t want to overextract the flavors. I liked these beans best in the Hario V60 and in this AeroPress, but it was good in all four methods.

From the roaster: Flavors of brown sugar, tea, and citrus

This coffee is not available as of publishing time on Olympia’s website but I’ve provided a link below to their online store.

Olympia Coffee Online Store

Review conducted 10 days post-roast.

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