Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Long Overdue.

So my reviews are insanely overdue. The contents of the bags have been gone for quite some time. The good parts ingested.. the not so tasty parts in the trash.

On to the coffees.

The Roasterie's Super Tuscan espresso blend arrived in a white, heat sealed bag with a valve, and some very nifty artwork. In the box, the coffee was accompanied by a nice logo'd demitasse and saucer. Nice touch.

I first tried the coffee with traditional parameters. ~14g, ~2oz, ~20-30 seconds. I wasn't so fond of it. Nothing popped. There was no high end, and there was no deep end. It was all in the middle, and the complexity was not sharp enough to really pick much of anything out. I confess to being a little disappointed. I was expecting this blend to change my opinions of air roasting. It seemed, at first, to confirm them.

I wrote up a detailed review, and submitted it to The Roasterie to be looked over. After a rather defensive response, as can be expected, I was then told, indirectly, that I was using the wrong brew parameters to get the most out of the blend. Something about 20 grams in a triple basket to pull a 2oz. double in about 20-22 seconds is what was suggested. I had previously tried updosing, downdosing, ristretto, lungo, anything and everything.. except the triple basket double.

It made a huge difference. The complexity toned out a little, the flavors expanded to reach into both the higher and lower ends of the spectrum. A little milk chocolate, a little citrus, it was pretty pleasant.

I will say it is a very approachable espresso. It won't make you think. It won't make the seasoned professional go "wow!". It WILL, however, provide a very pleasing shot of espresso. It will also bring your friends over to the dark side.. gently.. gracefully.. and without the relentless explosion of intensity and complexity that can drive many who experience espresso for the first time away.

It's definitely worth a try. Just make sure you have an 18 gram basket handy. Once it arrives, this is your time to shine as a coffee missionary by using it to recruit more people over to the dark side.. the complex and beautiful world of espresso.


Jaime van Schyndel said...

Writing reviews is hard. That's why I don't do it. You can be diplomatic and have lots of friends or say what you really feel and get an often uber defensive response when you just wanted to point out an issue. The worst is the 'I don't know how you were pulling it, but...' response.

Most times people get up in arms but a true judge of character is when they weigh in what you say and think about it to see if you might have a point. A barista down south sent both me and a well known blogger some kenya. After cupping it, I chose not to review it and after a lot of hand wringing about what to say... (I respected him and didn't want to upset him) I called him up and after a long conversation, I told him the coffee was flat out baggy. He took it in stride and we narrowed the why that might happen and I have to say, my respect for him grew a lot. BTW, the other blogger wrote one smashing review.

What does that story mean? Never print the bad stuff unless you got a bone to pick but always tell them what you believe.

Branden said...

Just a few weeks ago I obtained some of the Super Tuscan as well for my own personal review. After some experimentation, I was a little disappointed as well. It's not a downright bad blend, but you're right, it just doesn't make the drinker think. Not the kind of absence of thought that occurs from an amazingly perplexing shot that leaves a person speechless, but the kind of shot that just doesn't have a lot to say and what it does say is not all too interesting.

I like the positive spin on it though. When someone is just starting out with espresso, he or she is not necessarily looking for the perplexing shot but just one that tastes better than all the swill out there. It definitely is a great blend for a newbie who prefers to begin the journey to the dark side with some training wheels.