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: BeanFruit Coffee Company Ethiopia Kochere (Jackson, Mississippi)

BeanFruit Coffee Company wasn’t even on my radar until the middle of 2016, but I was so impressed with their coffee that two of their roasts took 1st and 3rd place in my Best of 2016 list. I had to wait some months before I had time to order from them as a normal customer, but I finally got my chance in May. May? Isn’t it July now? Yeah… I got a bit behind on the review-writing, but this is why I jot down copious notes!

Fun fact: Apparently I was order #4000! That felt good. 🙂

I ordered two bags, and this Ethiopia Kochere was the first that I opened.

Whole bean: Sweet, delicate aroma of black tea.

V60: Complex, sweet, floral notes. Much more complex than the smell of the whole beans would have indicated. I got honeydew in this cup!

AeroPress: BRIGHT (I wrote this in all caps in my notes) and sweet. I did add a little additional water to this after brewing to smooth out the flavor a little, and it brought out some floral notes.

Chemex: The perfume to this cup was super sweet, and had a sugary taste. Not much fruit or floral character to this – I mostly tasted the caramelized sugar top of a creme brulee.

French press: Not as sweet as the Chemex cup but it had a lot of richness. This cup also had notes of honeydew but seemed less balanced in flavor than the V60 cup.

Summary: I enjoy really complex coffees that make you stop and ponder what it is that you’re tasting, and this coffee is definitely one that does that! I liked it best in the pourover methods (V60, Chemex), with the V60 edging out the Chemex for the sheer range of flavor. But, if you’re a sweetness addict, this coffee in a Chemex is a stunner.

From the roaster: Sweet, white peach, melon, floral

I procrastinated on publishing this review for so long that this particular coffee is no longer being sold, but try any of BeanFruit’s African coffees. You won’t regret it; they are all delicious!!

BeanFruit Coffee Company Online Store

Review conducted 3 days post-roast.

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: Intelligentsia Ethiopia Tikur Anbessa (Chicago, Illinois)

I’m pretty sure that Intelligentsia needs no introduction around here. I tried a V60 pourover cup of this coffee at Vero’s Coffee Bar and was struck by the flowery, peachy flavors. Naturally, I had to bring a bag home!

Whole bean: Creamy, earthy scent that smelled a bit like pinenuts with a hint of butterscotch.

V60: I had to make this cup twice because my usual grind setting was much too fine for these beans and caused the brewing to take longer than it should. Even at the coarser setting, my total brew time was 3:25, which is longer than I usually do (2:45-3:15).

Because I had picked up so much coffee on my California trip, I wasn’t able to open this bag until it was 12 days old. At the shop, the cup’s dominant scent and flavor was floral and fruity. However, at 12 days old, the pourover I made at home tasted much more like dark chocolate and butterscotch with some subtle floral notes on the finish. I was surprised at the change in flavor.

AeroPress: Dark chocolate aroma with a nice adicity on the finish. I drank this as a concentrate only because I wasn’t thinking and I emptied the kettle before the coffee in the AeroPress was done brewing, but I didn’t need to add water. Rich, strong brew with a liveliness to it.

Chemex: Here’s another instance where my grind was too fine for this bean. I did automatically adjust the grind a bit coarser than usual, but it wasn’t enough, because at the 4:00 mark the filter was still full of water that had yet to flow through the grounds. I was reluctant to start again and waste 44 grams of coffee beans, so I just took the filter out and drank the coffee that had brewed up to that point. This method produced a bit of a sour coffee, but that was my fault because it was likely underextracted. Tangy and bright but unbalanced.

French press: This produced a cup rich in dark chocolate notes with a tangerine finish. Smooth overall with a perky aftertaste! Nice balance.

I think this coffee is pretty delicious, but I was surprised at just how much the flavor changed between when the coffee was 3 days old (in the shop) vs. 12 days old (at home). In this case, I liked both but the increase in chocolate flavor and the decrease in fruit/floral flavor was very interesting.

To equate the flavors to music, the floral/fruity flavors seem like treble notes and the dark chocolate seems like bass notes, and I suppose it would make sense that the bass notes carry further over time…?

The generally accepted coffee dogma is that fresher is better. However, this bag had me questioning that assumption. I liked the three-day old coffee, and I liked the twelve-day old coffee, but for different reasons. The coffee seems like it was evolving as it aged.

Summary: Delicious coffee. If you prefer brighter, floral notes, drink this coffee as soon after roasting as possible. The chocolate/butterscotch flavors seem to come out in time, particularly in the V60 and french press.

From the roaster: Distinct citrus blossom aromas precipitate flavors of white peach and honeydew melon and a resonant dark chocolate finish.

Intelligentsia Ethiopia Tikur Anbessa