Review: Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters El Rio honey processed El Salvador (Dallas, Texas)

I like to support local businesses, and DFW has a number of local roasters I enjoy (and I do plan to cover them all in due time!). OCCR has a sizable presence here in Dallas; Davis Street Espresso (the shop next door to the OCCR roasting facility) is a popular destination and their beans are served in many coffee shops around the Metroplex. I admit that I have not visited Davis Street Espresso yet so I may not have gotten a full profile on what these beans are capable of. Thus far, however, I’ve been less than thrilled with OCCR coffee when I’ve had it at other shops. Drip and pourover coffee have been unbalanced in flavor, and the espresso (both straight and in milk) tastes to me like I am licking an ashtray, which makes no sense to me because I know these beans aren’t THAT dark roasted.

I read a thread on a coffee forum recently regarding ashy espresso and the consensus was that the espresso shot was likely overextracted. This made me wonder if I would enjoy OCCR more if I brewed it at home and had more control over the variables. I opted not to try this particular roast as an espresso since I’m not generally into single-origin espresso, but I will plan to try their Hidden City Espresso in the future.

First impressions:

The roast date on the bag is March 4, and I bought the beans on March 7, so it’s very fresh. For this fresh of a coffee, I expect there to be a noticeable amount of degassing. I love seeing my new bags of coffee inflate and squeezing them to release the aromas full of promise for a delicious cup. This bag had none of that, which disappointed and concerned me a bit. Even after I cut open the bag and put it into a zipper storage bag (after pressing out the air), there was minimal degassing by the next day. The coffee did bubble and release some CO2 when hit with hot water, so it doesn’t appear to be stale. The aroma from the beans was very mild – I was a bit congested so I thought perhaps my nose was faulty, but I opened up the remainder of the Three Ships that I still had and got punched in the face with strawberries, so it wasn’t my nose.

Chemex: The coffee reminded me most of the Mango Black Tea from Trader Joe’s, but more like tea and less like mango. I’m generally not a fan of tea, as I don’t care for the flavor of tannins. As soon as I smelled this coffee, my throat started constricting like it does when I smell black tea.

V60: This coffee was the deepest in color of any of the preparation methods. It also struck me as quite tannic, and I tasted little to no fruit flavor. There were tobacco notes on the finish, which I dislike.

Aeropress: This was my favorite of the four. It had a citrusy flavor that was light and bright, yet smooth and rounded. As it cooled, I tasted caramel and vanilla along with the citrus.

French press: Richest body of the four, which is not surprising. Right off the bat, it tasted sort of like plastic and grapefruit, but as it cooled, it improved significantly – by the time it was cold, I tasted a lot more depth.

Summary: I like this coffee best when it has oil in the cup. It is a bit astringent and would probably be excellent as an iced coffee, or perhaps as a cold brew? For consuming hot, I would go with Aeropress.

From the roaster: The cup is juicy and thick with notes of mango, candied orange and honey.
Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters

4 Replies to “Review: Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters El Rio honey processed El Salvador (Dallas, Texas)”

  1. I agree. I only like tobacco in my cigars!

  2. Victor, have you had coffee from Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters? Care to weigh in?

  3. I only had it in the Chemex, and as usual for me with a far bit of milk and sugar – I agree with the above about the tea likeness, but not necessarily in a good way. I tend to like tea, but this I wouldn’t go in search of on my own.

  4. Haven’t tried theirs yet… sorry

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