Review: Turntable Lab Coffee for Records Blend 1 (Brooklyn, New York)

I’ve never visited the physical Turntable Lab location in Brooklyn, but I’ve shopped on their website a few times for records and accessories. While browsing their merch tab, I happened to see that they offer coffee, and it intrigued me enough to buy their Blend 1, which is a medium roast coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico. (Blend 2 is their dark roast, and I felt my personal tastes would be better suited to Blend 1.)

I tried doing a bit of research regarding what company is actually roasting these beans, and based on the address on the back of the bag, these beans look to be roasted and packed by Pulley Collective. More than just a roastery, Pulley Collective appears to roast-for-hire (doing the roasting and packing on behalf of a brand), and they also offer classes on coffee roasting. Pulley Collective has facilities in Oakland and Los Angeles as well as in Brooklyn.

One of my personal rules when buying coffee is to only buy coffee that has a roast date on it. There was no way for me to know ahead of time if this bag would be labeled, and when it arrived, it did not have a roast date on it. Based on the lack of any degassing in the bag, and the minimal, passive amount of bloom when the hot water hit the ground beans, I’m going to guess this coffee might be between 7-10 weeks old. Not great, but it could be worse. While doing the tasting, I kept in mind that I was likely to be missing out on the beans’ optimal flavor characteristics, since the coffee was older than 2-3 weeks post-roast.

Whole bean: Nice mild scent. These are well-roasted beans: no oil on the surface, and everything was one even color.

French press: Plush, rich, fudgy texture. Extremely smooth flavor. This tastes of milk chocolate, apple, and dates. This was the most enjoyable cup from my tasting. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of flavor strength, I’d give this a 5. It was nice and mild, not shocking or overly loud or abrasive. It’s sort of the coffee equivalent of an acoustic singer-songwriter album.

Hario V60: At an extraction that took 3:10 overall, I perceived this cup of coffee as having a much sharper flavor than the French press version. It wasn’t exactly bitter, but it was on the edge of tobacco – darker, stronger, and somehow more generic. Honestly, the last time I tasted this general flavor profile was when I had the French press cup of Folgers pre-ground coffee, but this was better than Folgers.

Chemex: I think the larger grind size + the thicker Chemex filter made this coffee smoother in taste/body than what resulted from the V60. The flavor was still close to what you get from Folgers, but the texture was more like melted chocolate – very rich.

AeroPress: Close to the French press in flavor, but there was more of the pitted date flavor in the AeroPress concentrate. After I added a bit of extra water, it made the coffee more bland, but it remained supremely smooth, with loads of oil on the surface of the coffee.

Summary: If you buy this coffee, it’s worth brewing it in a French press or another immersion method, as the drip/pourover methods will make it taste like Folgers. The coffee has a nice mild, smooth flavor, and would probably go well with a contemplative, quiet album. I’m currently pairing it Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans.

From the roaster: Fig Newton, chocolate, apple

Turntable Lab Coffee for Records Blend 1

Review conducted ???? days post-roast.

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