Review: Klatch Coffee Panama Altieri Washed Geisha (Rancho Cucamonga, California)

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a fan of Klatch. I don’t order from them very often, simply because there are so many great roasters out there to try, but I’ve never had a cup of Klatch Coffee that I didn’t like. Some of their roasts have been among my favorite cups of coffee EVER.

I recently got an email alert that Klatch was offering a sale on Geisha coffee, and it took me approximately 0.02 seconds to click the link to start browsing! The price of this coffee has been reduced from $39.95 to $29.95 for 8 ounces… it’s still expensive, clearly, but I thought it would be worth a try. Klatch has clear notes about roast dates for coffees this special – this Panama Geisha is only roasted on Mondays, and I have a feeling it won’t be offered for very much longer. I ordered this coffee the week of May 1, and at the time they were also offering a Panama Altieri Natural Geisha, but that’s no longer on the site. Jump on this ASAP if you want to try it.

Whole bean: Mild nutty fragrance that smelled like macadamia nuts and cashews, with a subtle note of tropical fruit. Papaya?

V60: This had a really mild but pleasant aroma, like just catching the barest whiff of perfume. Whispers of caramel and melon. This cup brewed for 2:30, and I think it could have used a finer grind for a bit more extraction, because the final brew tasted a bit bland and watered down to my palate. Not bad, but I was hoping for more flavor, especially for this expensive of a coffee!

AeroPress: Now HERE is the flavor I was wanting. Don’t you dare dilute this with any additional water! This brew was sugary, with notes of nectarine, and it tasted terrifically vibrant and alive.

Chemex: This method produced a coffee that was even more mild than the V60 cup. It had a hint of floral aroma, and it was sweet, but rather bland and plain. I don’t think I particularly care for this coffee in filtered pourover methods. With that said, I served this brew on a couple of occasions to Shutterbug (who usually drinks coffee with milk and sugar added) and he was able to enjoy this coffee with just a bit of sugar added (no milk). It is quite smooth.

Yes, I probably committed some kind of crime letting someone add sugar to a Geisha coffee, but everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right?

French press: Smooth, sweet, with lovely body and a delicious tangy finish. It reminded me a bit of nougat and brown sugar with a touch of tangerine. This was my second favorite method after the AeroPress.

Summary: $60/lb + shipping is quite the splurge for coffee, and I don’t think too many of my readers would be crazy enough to do this, but if this coffee sounds appealing to you, I’d encourage you to act now before it’s gone. I loved this coffee in the AeroPress, as it really brought out exciting flavors, but other methods produce smoother, more balanced cups. You won’t get a bad cup of coffee with this stuff. Is it worth the cost? I’d say for an occasional treat, yes.

From the roaster: “It offers a sweet fusion of melon, floral and raspberry aromatics. An enchanting sense of sweet floral aromatics. The flavors in the cup bring out notes of cantaloupe, peach, sugar cane, marshmallow, and a beautiful finish of floral nectar.”

Klatch Panama Altieri Washed Geisha

Review conducted at 4 days post-roast.

Review: Patriot Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido (Lakeland, Florida)

From time to time, I get contacted by coffee companies who are interested in introducing me to their products, and I get pretty excited if it is a craft coffee company doing the talking. Such was the case when I got an email from Patriot Coffee Roasters, out of Lakeland, Florida. Take a look at their “About” page; I think you’ll clearly see the passion and dedication that is present in every word!

I had no idea what kind of coffee would be coming to my door (single-origin? blend?), as I don’t typically dictate gifts, but I was thrilled to open the box from Patriot to find this Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido. I love Ethiopian coffee, and the previous time I had tried an Idido coffee (from Novel Coffee Roasters), I was very impressed, so I couldn’t wait to crack this bag open.

Whole bean: hint of fruit in the aroma – raspberry? This almost smelled like perfume, in the best possible way. Definitely could smell hibiscus. My mouth was watering.

V60: This made a smooth cup with a hint of the perfume-like flavor I smelled in the whole bean form. Sweet but muted. This would make a great cup for newbies to Ethiopian coffee.

AeroPress: Very intense flavor, rich and satisfying. It was almost prismatic, the layers of fruit and floral flavor. Wowza.

Chemex: Delicate, like fruit tea. Sweet and fragrant. This had a whispery quality to it which I reveled in. If the AeroPress cup reminded me of Freddie Mercury’s intensity, this Chemex cup was more reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens’s hushed vocals.

French press: Richer flavor, but I felt this was unbalanced. Muddy texture and overall a less satisfying cup vs. the paper-filtered methods.

Summary: This coffee is delicious, and I rank it as the first real standout coffee I’ve had in 2017. I wouldn’t recommend it in a french press, but it makes a great cup when you use filtered methods. My personal favorite was the coffee that was made in the Chemex, because I really enjoy the subtle nuances of this origin, but it made very enjoyable cups in the Hario V60 and the AeroPress as well, depending on your tastes. Thanks to Patriot Coffee Roasters for the introduction – I’ll definitely be ordering from you guys again!

When I was writing up this review, I came across this entry on Patriot’s own blog regarding their cupping of this coffee. We agree that the french press doesn’t showcase these beans to their full potential, but they unanimously agreed that the AeroPress was the clear winner here. Potato, po-tah-to, if you ask me – it’s hard to get a bad cup of coffee with these beans!

From the roaster: stewed berries, hibiscus, nectarine, caramel sweetness, syrupy body

Patriot Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Idido

Review conducted at 6 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.

Review: Caffe Vita East Timor Hatuhei (Seattle, Washington)

On my recent trip to New York City, I told myself that I needed to limit my coffee purchasing to just two bags of coffee, and they needed to both be roasters which were new to me. Birch Coffee’s Emma Espresso was the first, and this bag from Caffe Vita is the other. Now, I’ve actually had Caffe Vita before, so I feel like I am cheating just a tiny bit from my resolve. I had a cup from a storefront across the street from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon, and I had another cup at a corner cafe on a different trip to Portland. Both cups struck me as being on the darker side than I usually drink, and darker than I typically get from ubiquitous roasters like Heart and Stumptown. Is this bad? Not necessarily. I decided it warranted further investigation.

Whole bean: The bag itself, once opened, has a pretty strong smell of plastic (perhaps it’s something to do with the inner coating?). However, the beans were rather fruity, like peaches and cherries.

V60: Toasty and milk chocolaty flavors at the start, but on the finish, this brew tasted like nail polish smells. Terribly astringent. I don’t know what it was about this, but it tasted like chemicals and rubbing alcohol. Not my favorite! Surprisingly though, when I came back to this cup after it had cooled down, it smelled JUST like french vanilla ice cream.

AeroPress: Slightly burnt tasting when consumed straight; I had to add water. Once the water was added, it was a pleasant, if slightly generic tasting coffee.

Chemex: Same notes as the V60 method, but even more objectionable. Something about the pourover method must just bring out notes in this coffee that overpower the cup and make it smell/taste strange.

French press: This was the best method for this coffee, in my opinion. The coffee had a nice deep toasty flavor that was accented by a slight hint of nectarine.

Summary: Coffee from this region of the world is not my personal favorite and I don’t drink much of it, so take my opinion for what it’s worth ($0.02?), but I think this particular bean is best suited to being brewed in a french press. Back when I used to drink Sumatran coffee more regularly, the french press was my favorite brewing method for that bean, and I do think it coaxes out the best flavors for beans similar to it. This coffee is fruitier than most Sumatrans, but it shares many of the same characteristics in the cup.

From the roaster: Maplewood, toffee, marionberry, black tea

Caffe Vita East Timor Hatuhei

Review: BeanFruit Coffee Co. Kenya Nyeri Chinga Peaberry (Jackson, Mississippi)

I had not heard of BeanFruit Coffee Company until very recently, but upon investigating, I discovered I was clearly behind the times, as they are a 2015 Good Food Award recipient, and they have had their coffees rated at 90+ points on both Coffee Review and The Espresso Vein. When people think of great cities for coffee in the USA, cities like Portland, Oregon come to mind… I doubt too many people think of Jackson, Mississippi! However, I’ve discovered over time that great coffee can be found where you least expect it, and I was eager to try these beans, especially once I caught a whiff of the heavenly fragrance coming from this bag.

Whole bean: Wow!! The whole and ground beans smelled bright and punchy – this is not a shy coffee bean. Sweet smell of juicy nectarine.

V60: Complex, mysterious cup. I taste the nectarine that I smelled in the whole bean form but it also has a syrupy flavor with a hint of black pepper. Loved this! Medium-bodied result with a dry finish. When doing tastings, I normally will brew the usual 12 oz and drink just as much as it takes for me to get my notes down, but for this tasting, I opted to drink all of the coffee I brewed, just because I liked it so much.

AeroPress: WOW. The concentrate blew me away. Nectarine, raspberry, and vanilla. Sweet as pie and smooth as silk.

Chemex: The fruit was muted by this method but it also amplified the vanilla flavor. The coffee also had a cream flavor to it with a hint of lemon on the finish which brightened it up and woke up my palate. So, so good. The brew smelled just like clover honey as it cooled.

French Press: Compared to the AeroPress and Chemex cups, the French Press cup was less sweet and complex; it wasn’t a bad cup by any means, but I was definitely more blown away by having it brewed in the other methods. Still, it was definitely better than a lot of other coffees I’ve had!

Summary: This coffee is a stunner. I am so impressed with the depth and range of flavors! For the sweetest result, go for it in an AeroPress (fruitier) or a Chemex (vanilla-ier). But really, I doubt it’s possible to make a bad cup with these beans. Absolutely lovely.

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. And honestly, I loved this coffee so much that BeanFruit will definitely be making a repeat customer out of me!

From the roaster: Vibrant, sweet melon, nectarine, complex

BeanFruit Coffee Company Kenya Nyeri Chinga Peaberry

 

Review: Novel Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Idido (Dallas, Texas)

Novel Coffee Roasters is a Dallas-based company that is starting to gain a national presence; their coffees are currently available for purchase in coffeehouses in eight states, as well as online through their website (with FREE shipping!). I did a little googling on Novel and was charmed by the story of how they picked their name. The founders liked the double meaning of the word “novel,” both used as a noun (reflected in their slogan: “Every Coffee Has A Story”) and as an adjective (new, fresh, surprising, unique). The company has only been around since 2013 but have quickly racked up accolades; this Dallas Observer article features them in more depth.

You may have noticed that this is the third Dallas-area roaster I’ve featured in a row on my blog; this was on purpose, as I have a trip to Portland, Oregon coming up and I plan to collect many bags of PDX-area coffee to review! But before I leave, I wanted to show Texas roasters some love. I picked up this bag from Roots Coffeehouse in North Richland Hills.

This is the second Ethiopian coffee I’ve had recently from the Idido region (the first was the Kickapoo Coffee I received from Craft Coffee). I remembered that particular tasting being difficult because I hadn’t sufficiently adjusted my grind settings to compensate for the increased density of heirloom coffee beans, so I made sure to keep this in mind this time (it worked pretty well for the Tweed Staycation blend, which is also comprised of heirloom beans).

Whole bean: Subtle, milk chocolaty aroma combined with a lovely honey fragrance!

Chemex: I deviated from my usual tasting procedure here and started with the Chemex, because this method makes the most coffee and I needed a full travel mug for my 1.5 hour commute this week. I was pretty entranced while sipping this during my drive; the dominant note was of caramelized sugar, like the beautiful top of a creme brûlée. It also reminded me of Earl Grey tea, and the combination of those two flavors was stunning. I was sorry when I drained my mug (though no one can say I didn’t savor it; it kept me company for over an hour).

French press: Clean flavors. A little nectarine tanginess that quickly smoothed out to dark chocolate.

AeroPress: I brewed this at 185 degrees F and drank this as a concentrate. It had the most acidity of the four methods but was paradoxically very smooth going down! Notes of red grape and honeydew melon dominated this cup.

V60: Crazy amounts of sweet honeysuckle aromas wafted from this cup. Light body, bright floral flavors. Sunny day in a cup.

Summary: I enjoyed every single cup that I made with this batch of beans. What a lovely example of a washed Ethiopian coffee!! It had a lot of personality; it had brightness and darkness; it showed new perspectives and flavors over time and in different methods. It tasted like the sort of book that I could happily get lost in for hours. Bravo, Novel! You haven’t seen the last of me, that’s for sure.

From the roaster: The town of Idido is an epicenter of quality in the Yirgacheffe region. Heirloom coffee grown and milled here is so good in fact, that it became famous under more than one name: Idido, Aricha, and Misty Valley are all sourced from among the same farms, all operating at elevations over 2000 meters.

The coffee we selected is fully washed and flawlessly sorted, presenting nectar-like flavors of white peach, summer melon, and honeysuckle.

Novel Coffee Roasters Online Store

Review: Publik Coffee Roasters El Salvador Calera Blanco (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Thanks again to my friend Alison for sending me this bag!

Publik Coffee Roasters took their name from the Dutch word for community, with the idea that coffee is something that brings people together. This bag did not have any tasting notes on it, so I went into this with no preconceived notions about what flavors and aromas I would smell (I would later get the info from the company’s website).

Whole beans: Delicate, shy aroma. Not very fragrant. Once ground, however, it definitely asserted itself. I smelled raisin, nectarine, and a whole lot of dark chocolate.

V60: As I was brewing this cup and the water was saturating the grounds, the kitchen started smelling like I was baking brownies. Once I tasted the cup, my immediate thought was, “this tastes almost exactly like chocolate milk.” Keep in mind, I hadn’t added ANYTHING to the coffee other than hot water. It wasn’t a very full-bodied cup, but the flavor was very intensely chocolaty. I couldn’t really taste anything other than chocolate… the fruit flavors I detected in the ground beans were not coming forth.

Just for kicks, I added a splash of whole milk. SO CHOCOLATY. I’m sorry I don’t have more descriptive words for this – what synonyms can there be for chocolate? I felt like I was drinking a glass of Nestle Quik (but less sweet).

AeroPress: Not a bad cup, but I didn’t detect anything particularly distinctive about this coffee brewed this way. It tasted like coffee. Smooth, but pretty one-dimensional. I didn’t even taste chocolate.

Chemex: Light, milk-chocolate flavor with just a hint of raisin.

French press: The most full-bodied of the bunch (not surprisingly), it tasted more like dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate, with a really creamy flavor. As it cooled, slight notes of nectarine and caramel started coming forth in the cup.

Summary: Here’s another coffee that will please chocolate fans. The V60 makes the coffee so sweet, you’d swear it was chocolate milk (especially if you actually add milk). The french press makes a richer, more complex chocolaty brew.

From the roaster: Aromas of cherry, cocoa powder, and nougat give way to flavors of dark chocolate and soft caramel in the cup. As it cools, the cup anchors in a juicy peach acidity and clover honey sweetness.

Publik El Salvador Calera Blanco