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About this blog

Reviewing coffee, from the roasting process to the aroma in my mug.

Entries in this blog

 

Warming up for autumn with Starbucks Italian Roast

Hey guys, here's an update on my blog of coffees just in time for September, when the leaves begin to turn a brilliant orange, the air becomes crisp and it's time to settle back down into the work routine.   Here's the thing though, the other week I ran out of my usual bean of choice, and I didn't really want to drive in the mess of Seattle traffic just to get it, so instead I walked down to my local Starbucks and got a bag of whole bean Italian Roast, knowing it would at least be palatable. This cost me around $11 (USD) for a pound, which I find to be reasonable, as my norm is usually about $13-15 per pound.   The smell of coffee permiated the bag's foil, nitrogen filled vacuum bag- so I figured it was just freshly roasted (or the bag was defective). Luckily my first guess was correct, and I was greeted with a bean with the sheen of oil, but none rubbing onto my fingers. This is common for an Italian Roast, as it roasted to the point where many of the oils have evaporated. But the fact that there was some on the bean kept my faith high. My grinder however... told a different story. At my usual "medium-fine" setting, it jammed twice per grinding for 8 cups. I was able to get it restarted by shaking it both times, but that is not a good sign in my books, especially with the amount of oil on the beans.   Opting for an unbleached paper filter today, I got down to tasting.   Tasting: Body, Flavour, Oil:   The first sip I take has a definite woody and smoky flavor in my opinion, rolling off of the back of my palate like a cream. No sweetness here, so I would suggest adding a cube of sugar to those who prefer some sweet notes. When consumed warm, it's very smooth- though the acidity begins to come out as it cools, but certainly still drinkable- and I normally hate cold coffee for that reason. According to Starbucks, the beans are multi-region, which I can confirm by taste because of the batch-roasting process they use. Being quite robust, I would strongly recommend this as a morning roast, during an afternoon snack or even as espresso.   Aroma:   The aroma of this blend is quite mild, to the point where it reminds me of a quiet library. I can smell some of the roast itself (those who have roasted will know what I am talking about), along with a hint of chocolate and earth. The only unfortunate thing is I literally had to stick my nose in my cup to smell those essences.   Summary:   I have yet to be disappointed by the whole-bean Starbucks Coffee, and this is among one of my new favourites. It reminds me slightly of Illy, with the creamy earth flavor, and it's bold notes. The flavor of smoke is noticeable in every cup, but that is to be expected with Italian Roast. Admittedly, it is slightly strong for my tastes but it's still enjoyable to me. The body is no joke either, this is definitely something that would kick you back into gear if you drank it during the evening. This is fair-trade coffee, and tastes organic as well; I cannot detect any sharp tastes of chemicals, which stand out obviously in poorer quality brands and roasts.   For those who'd like an espresso like cup, I would wholeheartedly recommend this to them. However, it is by no means light or moderate- it is an all-out full city dark roast and for those who like medium or light roasts I would suggest only 1 tbsp per 6 ounces, rather than the recommended and common 2.   Rating: 7.8/10. Reasoning: Beans jam grinders (-1), aroma is underwhelming (-1), smoky flavor is more like a French Roast, not Italian (-0.2).

Xernicus

Xernicus

 

Java Trading Co: Columbian Supremo + How to make decent hotel coffee

Howdy folks, from the foggy Oregon coast, and I hope you've been doing well.   This entry is a far turn from my first one, which focused on well... high-end coffee. This entry, instead is focusing on budget coffee, or more specifically, the stuff that I am currently "drinking" in my hotel room, while listening to the waves crash upon the shore.   But in all honesty, this stuff is not half bad, especially compared to what I have been drinking. Now that will probably come as a shock to everybody, saying "hotel coffee is weak, bitter, etc." and it is. The key is that you need to have those expectations ahead of time, and brew accordingly. In this case, I brought my #4 cone filters, but I forgot to bring any coffee. || And of course the local minimart wants $14 dollars per pound of beans that nobody knows how long have been sitting there.   So I went for the pre-packaged "coffee" in a filter, and noting the time, as well as my lack of decent sleep- poured a full pot of water into the reservoir.   And that, probably was the difference between making and breaking that pot -or any hotel coffee-. In this case, it's better to have a weak, watery cup of coffee where you cannot taste the bean's origins and flavor notes than to brew an "optimal" cup, where you taste just how bitter and stale these grounds are.   The aroma is more akin to a cup of tea, than coffee, and despite this being a dark roast- I can't find any body whatsoever. And my stomach is starting to churn... maybe this wasn't a good idea.   The taste is pretty mute- but it goes hand in hand with this dense fog that blankets the ocean, and the surrounding cliffs.   At this point, honestly- despite the fact that I'm trying to give this a fair shot, this tastes like utter shit- and it's as enjoyable as the Windows XP theme song. Upon doing some searching, I've found that this is not the "little company that tried" it's the "big behemoth that failed".   So, anyways, before I go throw up... because my stomach is killing me now... I give this a 2/10 - and the 2 is for being the right temperature.   And will someone please remind me to bring my own coffee to the next hotel I travel to? Bleh.

Xernicus

Xernicus

 

Kicking Horse: Three Sisters review

This is my first entry into my new blog, reviewing coffee, from the beans to the aroma in my cup. And I am proudly starting with Canada's most popular coffee, Kicking Horse; particularly the Three Sisters blend. This coffee could be perhaps be considered on the pricey side, with most coffee beans selling at anywhere from $4-8 per pound, $12 per pound for the is easily double the average cost. I was however, able to find this in my local supermarket, unlike some coffees which need to be bulk ordered from specialty stores or online.   Upon opening the bag, I found them to not be overly oily, something I find rare for packaged coffee. There was, however enough oil on the beans to prevent them from degassing. Simply put, they were washed properly. My burr grinder confirmed this for me, as it ground them at a fine grind for my gold filter with ease, no jamming whatsoever.   Dosing out their recommended 2 tablespoons per 1 6oz cup, I preheated my filter to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and poured the grounds in, starting the brew cycle in my coffee maker. It took roughly 6 minutes to pour 4 cups of coffee, which is the norm for a Technivorm and without letting it sit on the heating plate, I poured it into my mug.   Tasting: Body, Flavour, Oil:   Upon taking my first sip, it's easy to tell that for a "medium" roast coffee, the body of this is no joke. Deep earthy, woody tastes are easily found on the back of the palette, with the lighter, silkier almost caramel like flavors flow over my mid and front tongue. I can detect no bitterness, instead this is a more tart blend of beans.The taste does not change or strengthen as I drink down the cup, either. I would not call this an overly robust roast, being more smooth than of espresso quality. However, it provides the needed morning "kick" that has made coffee so popular. I simply prefer it while listening to music, and perhaps writing a story, rather then gulping it down as my first cup.   Aroma:   The aroma of Three Sisters is rather mild, but not so much that it has no impact. it has a very wood like smell, and it makes me flash back to spending hours in oak forests. The tart flavor is immediately obvious in the aroma, announcing itself via a very berry and flower-like smell. It also has essences of chocolate and sugar, which round the smell off nicely, making it not overly sweet, nor overly rich.   Summary:   This is no ordinary Starbucks roast, nor does it fall into the likes of LavAzza, or Illy. Rather, it rightfully earns a spot as Canada's most popular exported coffee. It also has a unique blend of light, medium, and dark beans, which I believe is why it is able to have a firm body, while not tasting smoky. It also is fair trade, and does not appear to be chemically treated, with it's flavors boldly standing out, rather then being washed out. i would gladly buy this again, and I'll definitely be replacing my current Afternoon coffee beans with these. However, with those who like their coffee to have an espresso quality to their cup, this is not for them, and I doubt that you would be able to achieve such a result even with a double dosage and using a presse.   Rating: 9.0/10 Reason: a bit pricey, even for all it has to offer.

Xernicus

Xernicus

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