Most of the time when I’m doing coffee tastings, I have to evaluate the coffee first thing in the morning because caffeine lingers so long in my system, I can’t sleep properly if I consume caffeine later in the day. It can be a little hard to properly enjoy the coffee if I’m bleary-eyed from a subpar night’s rest. However, this tasting was a refreshing change because, since I was dealing with a decaf, I was able to start my tasting at night, after dinner! It’s nice to be fully awake and fairly relaxed when enjoying a new coffee.
There are multiple ways of making decaffeinated coffee. This post from Sagebrush Coffee does a better job than I could explaining the different methods, and what makes “Sugarcane Process” different from the rest. Most speciality coffee roasters will likely offer decaf made either with Swiss Water Process (which removes 99.9% of the caffeine) or this newer Sugarcane Decaf Process which removes 97% of the caffeine. Sugarcane Decaf Process, in particular, is reputed to maintain more of the inherent flavors in the beans than SWP, so I was excited to give this decaf from Tweed a try. These particular beans come from Huila, Colombia, but this is a rotating coffee so at other times of year, Two-Step might consist of different beans.
Whole beans: Firmly into medium roast territory – there was just the barest bit of oil glistening on the surface of the beans. Smells like sweet toasted almonds. No real fruity/floral notes before grinding; it just smells like a nice strong coffee.
French press: This cup had a deep bittersweet cocoa flavor. Very smooth and fudgy, very pleasant to drink. I think the heavier body inherent in French press brewing suited the chocolaty notes of these beans. There was just the slightest bit of acidity on the finish that came out more as the coffee cooled.
Clever Dripper: This was a very similar result to what I got from the French press, but the filter made the body a bit less heavy.
Chemex and V60: It turned out that my usual grind setting range for the pourover methods was much too fine, and both the Chemex and V60 cups brewed for around 2 minutes longer than I’d usually go for! However, they didn’t seem to suffer for it. Both cups had a lovely toasted almond flavor and aroma with a pleasing bitterness that would complement desserts, particularly rich desserts like a creme brûlée. They were virtually identical in flavor.
Summary: While I didn’t detect any of the ‘ripe fruit’ flavors that Tweed listed on the bag, I agree that this decaf absolutely has a lovely chocolate-forward sweetness that is satisfying both on its own and consumed with baked goods. It’s nice to not have to compromise on good flavor while avoiding caffeine. It was good in all the methods I tried. My espresso machine is out of commission at the moment, but I think these beans could probably pull some nice shots… a decaf affogato sounds like a lovely treat!
From the roaster: Ripe fruit, caramel, sweet
Review conducted 8-9 days post-roast.