Review: Drum Coffee Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Banko Gotiti FTO (Missoula, Montana)

I first heard about Drum Coffee via my friend Brandon, a fantastically talented percussionist who happened to stop in at one of their locations while on a road trip. My first reaction to the roaster’s name was, ha, nice pun (since I figured they use a drum roaster to roast their coffee beans). But on investigating a little further, I realized the name had multiple layers of meaning because the co-founder is none other than John Wicks, drummer for the indie band Fitz and the Tantrums. John and his wife Jenna opened the first Drum Coffee shop in 2016 and they now have two locations in Missoula. I’m only superficially familiar with Fitz and the Tantrums’ discography (my local public radio station, KXT 91.7 FM, does play them regularly and I remember when “Moneygrabber” started blowing up here in Dallas), but with as detail-oriented as musicians are, I knew these beans were likely to be great! John spent years working as a barista in Seattle so he would have a very clear sense of what good coffee entails.

During the first 4-5 months of 2020, I was very much on an espresso kick and I was making repeat orders of familiar blends from some of my local roasters… I think I was aching for “comfort food” coffee and I wasn’t interested in trying new things. This order from Drum Coffee was my first purchase of single-origin coffee in a long while and I was unprepared for just how much I really missed it.

Whole bean: These smelled just like blackberry cobbler. Wow!

French press: Deliciously fragrant – not sour or bitter whatsoever. This cup was juicy, rich, plush, and full of blackberry and plum flavor. This is a shockingly good Ethiopian coffee. After months of milk drinks and chocolaty, nutty espressos, this fruity, mouthwatering cup of black coffee was a refreshing revelation and I could feel my entire face lighting up as I sipped it. I couldn’t get enough of this!

Chemex: This was another sweet, juicy, delicious cup. Slightly less rich than the French press cup, with a finish like powdered sugar. It keeps you drinking!

AeroPress: This was also really good. Amazingly, it was even sweeter than the French press cup, but less juicy.

V60: This was the only brewing method I didn’t like for making this coffee. Somehow, I felt like this method filtered out all of the really special flavors in this coffee, and the resulting brew was bland and a little pithy on the finish. Compared to the stunning flavors in the other brewers, this was a disappointment.

Summary: This was just what I needed to get my senses reawakened and to get me excited about coffee again. During the past few months, I feel like my priority has just been about staying alive… the joy I had in tasting the first sip of this coffee made me feel like I was truly living once more. The feeling was not dissimilar from how the right song at the right time can uplift you and feed your soul. I highly recommend this particular coffee in a French press, and it’s also excellent in an AeroPress and a Chemex.

From the roaster: blackberry, plum, pastry dough

Coffee is seasonal, and unfortunately these beans are no longer available on Drum Coffee’s website, but here’s a link to their online store:

Drum Coffee Online Store

Review conducted 5-6 days post-roast.

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