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.
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.
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).