I was contacted by the folks at Rare Earth Coffee about testing out a couple of their coffees. Rare Earth Coffee is a relatively new addition to the coffee scene; the company was founded in 2014 in the Central Valley of California. One aspect of this company that sets them apart from most is their use of a Sivetz air roaster; most companies use traditional metal drum roasters, and air roasters are purported to result in a much more even roast level because there’s no possibility of beans scorching. I’d only encountered one other company that touts their use of an air roaster (here’s my review of Kaladi Brothers Coffee Costa Rica San Pablo back in 2015), and that coffee actually didn’t have a terribly even roast, but I had higher hopes for these beans from Rare Earth.
This House Roast is labeled as a medium roast. “Medium” is a pretty vague descriptor for a coffee and there’s a range of what I think would be considered acceptable. For me personally, I expect a medium roast to have a rich brown color but not have any oil on the surface of the beans. When oil starts appearing, in my opinion, that’s verging into medium-dark/dark territory (Full City + and higher in roast level). This House Roast from Rare Earth is definitely on the darker side of medium in my opinion – it perhaps wasn’t QUITE so oily but it reminded me a lot of Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend in its appearance, roast level, and scent.
Whole bean: Very evenly roasted with an oily sheen. Looks rather darker than I’m used to, and it has a strongly roasted aroma.
V60: The coffee brewed in this method had flavors of bittersweet cocoa and toasted almond. It took me a few swallows to acclimate to the flavor because these beans definitely taste dark-roasted to my palate (but I’m much more accustomed to drinking light-roasted coffee these days). I think if I had this coffee along with food (perhaps a breakfast plate at a diner, or with a nice dessert), it would be better for my taste. Straight up, though, it was a little bold and acrid for me.
AeroPress: This had a much smoother and more well-rounded flavor than the V60 cup. Dark chocolate flavor abounds in this cup. Much easier to drink. This may be a coffee that lends itself better to immersion methods of brewing vs. pourover/drip.
Chemex: I had a hard time dialing in my grind correctly for a 4 minute extraction time – the final result was more like a 2:45 extraction time, but the coffee came out similar in flavor to the AeroPress cup. Chocolaty and sweet.
French press: I made the mistake of having my phone nearby when making this cup of coffee and I got carried away while texting a friend, so I accidentally brewed this coffee for 6:30!! 2:30 longer than I intended. However, this coffee didn’t appear to suffer for it. The flavor was loaded with chocolate and nuts, and it had a nice depth to it. Not bitter at all. Very smooth.
Summary: Immersion methods bring out sweet, nutty, and chocolate notes in this coffee. Brewing this in a Chemex (underextracted) also gives a nice and balanced result. My suspicion is that this coffee brewed in a Hario V60 or as automatic drip would taste more assertive and closer to a dark roast, with less sweetness and more roasted flavor.
From the roaster: No tasting notes provided
Review conducted 10 days post-roast.
Disclaimer: I received this product gratis in exchange for a fair and honest review. Even though I received this for free, I treat and test it the same way as if I had paid for it out of my own pocket.