Review: Matchstick Catalogue No. 39 (Vancouver, Canada)

This bag from Matchstick was the third and final bag I purchased from my trip to Revolver Coffee in Vancouver. On the shelf, it was listed as espresso, but the bag indicates that it can be prepared as both espresso and as filter coffee. I was so overwhelmed by the huge amount of coffee I had brought back from Canada that I chose not to do a full coffee tasting with all four of my normal brewing methods, but I figured I’d get a decent idea of the flavor of these beans using just the AeroPress and French press, along with pulling shots of espresso.

If you have a moment, it’s very much worth reading Matchstick’s About Us page, which reads like a mission statement on why they believe that taking longer to do something does not necessarily mean time has been wasted. In addition, their Roastery page has a beautifully written description about the art of coffee roasting and the importance of quality in every step of the process. If you’ve ever wondered why modern third-wave roasters choose to roast their coffees so lightly, compared to coffee behemoths like Starbucks, their Roastery page will sum things up much more eloquently than I can – it’s worth reading in full.

Whole bean: Fresh aromas of sweet cherry pie and chocolate.

Espresso: The straight shots I pulled of these beans were definitely on the bright/sour side, even at temperatures up to 209 degrees Fahrenheit. I personally prefer straight espresso with more of a chocolate/nut flavor profile so this was a little much for me to consume on its own.

With milk: Even though I felt like the shots straight tasted like sour cherries, with milk, they turned into marshmallows and toffee. Amazing how different the flavor became with the addition of just a few ounces of dairy. This espresso definitely is suited for milk drinks.

Favorite parameters: 20 grams in, 43.3 grams out, 209 degrees F, 25 second extraction, with 4 oz milk.

AeroPress: Again, another surprise, as the beans brewed in this method turned into a fudgy, toasty coffee that was quite comforting to drink. No hint of sourness or bright flavor here at all. Definitely a crowd-pleasing sort of coffee.

French press: I accidentally brewed this batch for 4:50 (just a little over my target 4 minute brew time), but the resulting coffee was beautifully sweet and smooth, with a nice marshmallow undertone and just a hint of brightness to keep things lively. Plush mouthfeel. Decadent to drink.

Summary: I may be a bit of a wuss, but I can’t handle the Catalogue No. 39 as straight espresso. However, it’s terrific in milk drinks, and really lovely brewed in an AeroPress and French press.

From the roaster: Walnut, toasted marshmallow, undertones of red fruit

Matchstick Catalogue No. 39

Review conducted 11 days post-roast.

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