Usually, when I feature coffee from roasters based outside the United States, it’s because I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the country in question. In this case, I did not actually go to Amsterdam (maybe someday!); I came across these beans at Revolver Coffee on Cambie St. in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Revolver had perhaps the best-curated coffee selection I’ve ever seen – certainly the most diverse, with at least 6-8 roasters from all around the world to choose from, all with outstanding pedigrees. Friedhats is a roaster I had never seen or heard of before, but the opportunity to try a coffee roasted in Amsterdam was one I couldn’t pass up! And, as a friend pointed out to me, it was much cheaper to buy the coffee retail and take it home in my hand luggage vs. having it shipped from Europe. This is how my friends help me justify buying 8 bags of coffee on a trip, and this is also why I love my friends! 😉
Friedhats’s website is pretty succinct and to the point – they in fact begin their “About” page with the tagline, “Less marketing, more coffee.” They appear to be fanatical about quality and sustainability, both traits which I fully support in my chosen roasters.
One thing that sets these guys apart from most roasters is their packaging – Friedhats sells their coffee in plastic jars, saying on their site that “we want our packaging to be reused, refilled, and at the very least recycled.” Indeed, I plan to reuse the container once it’s empty. I’ve begun dipping my toe into the waters of home coffee roasting (more on that later!) and the dark tint to this jar from Friedhats seems more ideal for storing my roasted coffee vs. glass mason jars (once the coffee has degassed sufficiently, anyway).
Whole bean: Smells like a peach pit. One thing I noticed in every single brew method for these beans was that the coffee was quite a light reddish-brown color – these beans are definitely light roasted, so don’t be alarmed if the color is redder than you are used to seeing.
V60: Well, these beans proved hard for me to dial in! I have a range on my grinder that is “typical” for a Hario V60 but these beans are quite a bit denser than I’m used to, and the final result was a coffee that took 5:05 to brew!! Way longer than it should have, but I didn’t start over since the coffee actually tasted good. The coffee had a distinct tea-like character; there were subtle notes of creaminess but overall the flavor was basically of a nice quality black tea. If I was in a blind taste test and asked, “is this tea or coffee?” I probably would have guessed wrong.
AeroPress: Fruity, with flavors of peach and blueberry along with the black tea. This had a dry finish and mouthfeel to it. There was really no need to add any additional water to the AeroPress concentrate, but if you do choose to add a little water (we’re talking like 1 oz or less), it results in a more subtle and balanced cup.
Chemex: Similarly to my run with trying to get the grind right for the Hario V60, I guessed too fine of a grind and ended up brewing this coffee for 4:40 (40 seconds longer than my goal). However, I don’t really think this coffee suffers for it. The coffee tasted of peaches and cream, still with that character of black tea but sweeter than the previous iterations.
French press: Peach pit/almond flavor. This cup was smooth and sweet but missing any real fruit flavor. Thicker texture than tea, which isn’t surprising given the lack of paper filter in this method.
Summary: This is definitely a coffee for tea lovers! If you choose to use a pourover method for these beans, definitely try to grind them coarser than usual, but don’t fear – these beans are pretty forgiving and the flavor won’t suffer from brewing longer than normal.
From the roaster:
White peach, black tea, citric acidity (from the canister)
Drinking this coffee is a bit like having a juicy and smooth earl grey tea with a slice of lemon. (from the website)
Review conducted 14 days post-roast.