Review: La Colombe Panama Ironman VI Geisha (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Earlier this summer, I visited the District of Columbia and while there, visited a La Colombe coffee shop for the first time. I’ve reviewed La Colombe coffees before (their Nizza espresso and their single-origin Colombia San Roque), and while neither were exactly to my personal taste, both were exactly what they said they were; their tasting notes don’t lie. So, at the cafe, when I saw this bag of Panama Ironman VI Geisha, I was curious to see if the tasting notes matched up as well as it has in the past with this brand. Plus, I hadn’t had much if any craft coffee for almost two weeks prior to this so it didn’t feel like too much of a splurge to pay the premium that I did for these Geisha beans.

Whole bean: Bright, sweet, fresh aromas. It reminded me of a light, refreshing white wine, like a pinot grigio.

V60: Strong notes of grapefruit in this with a nice (but sweet) complexity.

AeroPress: I had this as a concentrate – no need to dilute with additional water if you like the tart taste of grapefruit and nectarines. This was the most tart of the four cups.

Chemex: Creamy and complex cup that tasted of nectarine and citrus, but sweeter than the AeroPress result.

French press: By far, this was my favorite method for these beans. Layers upon layers of rich flavor here — creamy vanilla and sweet floral notes with nectarine and sugar. Very enjoyable!!

Summary: I really like Panamanian geisha coffee, and this bag is no exception. Try it in a french press and experience a vibrant, multi-layered flavor bomb.

From the roaster: White peach, blood orange, apricot

This coffee is not currently available on La Colombe’s website, but here is a link to their online store:

La Colombe Coffee Roasters Store

Review conducted 10-11 days post-roast.

Review: Origen Coffee Roasters Tanzania Tarime (Escondido, California)

Thanks again to my friend Erin for these beans!

If you read my review of Origen’s Mexico Oaxaca beans, you’ll remember I noted that this roaster seems to roast on the darker side, as the beans were pretty dark and shiny. The roast level is definitely darker than what seems to be the norm amongst popular third-wave roasters like Intelligentsia and Counter Culture.

Regarding these coffee tastings, I have gotten comments from friends to the effect of, “Wow, I don’t think I could ever pick up on all the flavors you can in coffee! It all kind of tastes the same to me!” I have two theories on this. First, I don’t think that it’s impossible to develop one’s palate if you take the time and really think about what you’re eating/drinking. I certainly am no supertaster! Second, I think at a certain point, all coffees DO taste the same if they are roasted long enough. Once the beans get to a certain level of “doneness,” the origin flavors of the beans will get eclipsed by the roasting process. It’s not dissimilar to steak, and how it’ll be much more difficult to tell what cut of meat a steak is when it is well done vs. when it is rare or medium rare. Well-done steak will taste more of the cooking process, while medium-rare steak will retain more of the meat’s characteristic flavor/texture.

Whole bean: Oily, shiny beans. Ground, there is a slight hint of stone fruit and dark chocolate.

V60: Tastes like coffee. I really only taste the roast level and no characteristics of the bean’s origin. It is not bitter or burnt tasting, but I cannot distinguish any real difference between this Tanzanian and the Mexican coffee beans I had earlier in the week.

AeroPress: Dark and a little spicy. Fine to drink straight with no acidity issues; nice body to this cup.

Chemex: This cup had a little sweetness in it that the others thus far did not. Smelled a bit like Nilla wafers.

French press: Smooth cup that was reminiscent of dark chocolate. Rich body.

Summary: These beans are great if you enjoy a smooth, dark cup of coffee. I think the French press version was the most enjoyable overall for its smoothness and chocolate flavor, but it doesn’t match the roaster’s notes at all in my opinion.

From the roaster: Complex, bright, red berries, apricot, sweet

Origen Coffee Roasters Online Store

Review: Lexington Coffee Roasters Guatemala Waykan (Lexington, Virginia)

Thanks again to my friend Sarah for these beans! 🙂

I consider my tasting skills to be decent, but I can’t hold a candle to the fine folks at Coffee Review. I purposely did not pay attention to the tasting notes on this coffee until after I was finished, and I’m always interested to see where I agree with others and where I diverge. More details in the summary.

This particular coffee features top-quality beans from 55 communities in Guatemala.

Whole bean: In the whole bean format, I didn’t detect any particular fragrance that stood out, but once ground, they had a beautiful fragrance of bittersweet chocolate.

V60: My extraction time was a bit on the short side (2:30), and this particular cup tasted mostly like black tea with a bit of bittersweet cocoa and lemon.

AeroPress: In its concentrate form, this cup was pretty sour – it tasted like a combination of lemon juice and pith. However, once I added water to the concentrate, it smoothed out and had a more iced tea-like quality (but hot, of course). Rich body.

Chemex: Smelled a bit like the smoke from blown-out matches, but it tasted like milk chocolate. This also had a little bite of acidity at the end to keep things interesting, but overall it was markedly smoother than either the V60 or AeroPress cups.

French press: Dominant flavor was one of marshmallows, followed by hot cocoa. This is a nice cup for cold winter mornings when looking for a comforting way to start the day. Too bad it’s currently August in Texas! 😉

Summary: I liked this coffee. It reminded me a fair bit of the Coffee del Rey Guatemala Huehuetenango without the graham cracker flavor. Most of the flavors I noticed in this coffee were chocolate, marshmallow, black tea, and lemon. However, the reviewers at Coffee Review had this to say:

“Gently crisp, cedary, complex. Tobacco-toned cedar (think cigar humidor), vanilla, raw sugar, narcissus-like flowers in aroma and cup. Brisk, dry acidity; lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Vanilla, flowers and cedar carry into a resonant finish.”

Yeesh, I need to work on my tasting game!

From the roaster:

Aroma: Candied Fruit & Chocolate

Flavor: Apricot, Pecan, & Milk Chocolate

Acidity: Brisk

Body: Silky

Aftertaste: Tangy Fruit, Nut, & Cocoa

Lexington Coffee Roasters Guatemala Waykan

Review: Rival Brothers Rwanda Dukunde Rawa (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Recently, I started a subscription to Craft Coffee, a company based out of Brooklyn, NY. Craft Coffee describes themselves as the Pandora of coffee, where you can tell them what you’re currently drinking and they’ll send you coffees that they think you’ll love based on your preferences. After answering their short questionnaire, it determined that I would be best pleased with their Purple Label (lightest roast), Reserve category ($$$$ – their most expensive coffee). Hahaha. Do they know me or what?

I opted to get a three-coffee sampler to start, and I received three 4-oz bags from different roasters. All the coffee in this shipment happened to be from Africa, but Craft rotates roasters and countries of origin quite regularly so every box is a surprise. So far, over two shipments, 5 of the 6 roasters have been new to me so it’s pretty great to be able to try coffee from small roasters that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

V60: Lots of vanilla in this method with a puckery bit of citrus fruit. Very interesting. I could see this mix of flavors being a Bath and Body Works product – vanilla/lime/grapefruit.

AeroPress: Lovely!! I really like this rendition. This actually smells a lot more like a delicate, mild tea than a coffee. Everything is well-balanced; the subtle richness of vanilla blends nicely with the personality of the fruit. No bitterness or overwhelming tannins. I think I would really like this as an iced coffee – light and refreshing. It has an uncommon elegance to it.

Chemex: Bright, vibrant brew. It tasted like lime juice at the forefront, but once I started slurping and aerating the coffee, I got a lot more apricot flavor. The aroma was pretty light and mild.

French press: Full-bodied and intense. I actually didn’t care for this – it tasted overwhelmingly sour and bitter at the same time. Assertive and rather rude to the palate! I felt like the coffee was a surly teenager.

Summary: My preference is to brew this coffee in an AeroPress – it felt like it had the best balance of flavors and it was the smoothest brew by far of the four methods. The V60 will give you more vanilla; the Chemex will give you more citrus. The French press will sass you.

From the roaster: Vibrant, Lime, Sweet, Vanilla

Rival Bros. Rwanda Dukunde Kawa