Despite the current trend in specialty coffee leaning toward fruity, juicy light roasts (which I love!), I think that a really good medium/medium-dark roast coffee is a thing of beauty, and it is something that goes under-appreciated these days. There’s something supremely comforting about a cup that has toasty, fragrant notes of chocolate, nuts, and brown sugar. It’s actually rather difficult to be able to offer a coffee like this year-round, as coffee is a seasonal product, and roasters have to continually sample and source beans from various areas in order to maintain the specific flavor profile they’re aiming for.
West Berkshire Roastery is a family-run business located in southern England, and they reached out to me to invite me to try out their Signature Gold Espresso beans. At the moment, my espresso machine is out of order, so this review will just focus on filter brew methods.
One aspect of West Berkshire Roastery’s mission is a commitment to sustainability. They are the first UK craft coffee roaster to package in fully printed (label-free) aluminum cans. These are plastic free and 100% infinitely recyclable. The coffee comes packaged in 180 gram cans, as well as in 500 gram/1 kilogram bags for larger orders.
Whole bean: Very evenly roasted, without any oiliness. This is a very good sign.
French press (cafetière): Decadent, creamy, and sweet, with a flavor like milk chocolate. The lack of paper filter gives this coffee a wonderfully plush mouthfeel.
Chemex: Same qualities as the French press cup, but the body is thinner, so the chocolate notes are more intense, like semi-sweet chocolate. Total brewing time: 3 minutes 45 seconds.
Hario V60: The grind size I chose for this method resulted in a 2 minute 40 second total brewing time, and for these beans, I don’t think that was enough. The finished coffee seemed a bit bland compared to the other cups, and I do think that these beans would benefit from more steeping time.
Clever Dripper: I planned for a target total brew time (including draw-down) for 4 minutes, and the resulting cup was like an excellent cup of gourmet hot cocoa.
Summary: This Signature Gold blend from West Berkshire Roastery produces consistently delicious results no matter what brewing method you use. I’d suggest that you aim for a 4 minute brewing/extraction time for maximum chocolaty flavor. There truly was not a bad cup in the bunch! Personally, my favorite brew method for these beans was the French press (cafetière), as I found the rich, creamy mouthfeel to be a wonderful complement to the chocolate notes of this coffee. But, if you are not a fan of the silt that can can occur with a French press, make it in any method you like – it will be heavenly!
From the roaster: creamy chocolate, toffee, and almond
Review conducted 11 days post-roast.
Disclaimer: I received this product gratis in exchange for a fair and honest review. Even though I received this for free, I treat and test it the same way as if I had paid for it out of my own pocket.