Sunday, February 11, 2007

WCR's Decaf Torro espresso blend

You may remember my review of the Torro espresso blend from West Coast Roasting a good while back.

Nate White decided it was time to put the decaf up on the site, and asked if I'd like to give it a review. How could I refuse?

The bag aroma is interesting. Chocolate, yes, but also something else.. something much akin to licorice (black, naturally). It was good, but very different.

The first try was a normale double used in a 10oz. latte. It tasted of chocolate, but it was also bitter with a drying effect on the surface of the tongue just behind the tip. Interesting.

Now, I know this is a Decaf blend, so it will be lacking in flavor and complexity when compared to a non-altered bean, but I didn't want to have a shot that was just good "for a decaf". I was determined to get a good shot by any standard, if at all possible.

The obvious solution? Updose, of course.

All this on an Expobar Pulser with a stepless Gaggia MDF. So I dosed a bit more coffee into the ridgless "Synesso" double basket, and pulled. Slightly better, but not enough to say so.

A little logic tells me that the coffee is lacking much of its natural chemistry from the decaffeination process. In order to eke out the maximum flavor, we must have more flavor to begin with from which to extract. The solution?

Jon Rosenthal's infamous Triple Ristretto. Now, usually, I despise this drink. It's as dishonest as one can possibly get to the bean's natural flavor... at least, to me. But I was desperate, and in this case, it seemed to make sense.

Load up the triple basket with no overdosing. Pull the shot to about 1.5oz in about 22 seconds. The coffee sang. It was sweet, it was viscous, and it tasted VERY much of cherries. The result was a chocolate covered cherry with a very weak chocolate. It was definitely not what I was expecting when compared to the normal Torro I had tried.

There is still more experimenting to come, so stay tuned.

UPDATE.

Alright, so I've had some time to live with this coffee. Despite my first impression, this coffee has proven to be a great end-of-the-day treat. I must confess, however, that this is reliant on the triple basket. I was never able to get a shot to satisfy myself with a double basket.

Seeing that I own a tripls basket and a naked PF, this isn't an issue at all, but it could be for some, but I digress. It would be worth trying even if you don't have a triple. For a decaf, it's really pretty dang tasty.

In milk, it mellows out quite a bit and settles into a nice coffee and chocolate flavor. Dark chocolate and milk, that is, not milk chocolate.

I have enjoyed it most as a 2oz. triple Americano with a normal dose pulled in ~22-24 seconds time. I have found it to be quite sweet this way, with teh berry flavors shining through, but not overpowering the mellow balance of the medium bodied medley of flavors.

If you are in need of a go-to decaf blend for espresso, don't pass this one up on your search.

West Coast Roasting website

1 comment:

nate said...

Thanks a lot for taking the time to review our Decaf Torro, Jason! I'm glad you enjoyed it.