Work that Coffee Palate
I like coffee, and by coffee I mean GOOD coffee. So basically, IAmA Coffee Snob. AMA.
I didn’t become a coffee drinker until college and, in the beginning, I often opted for a tall white chocolate mocha from Starbucks or something similar from the coffee shops on campus.
Sometime during my “discovery” of reddit during my junior year I found the Coffee subreddit. Which taught me what a french press was and how to use it.
Since then, I have steered away from adding anything to my coffee and to taste it for what it is, but I have been on a mission to develop my palate. I want to be able to describe what I like and why instead of just saying, “wow, this tastes awesome!”
RCC is a local group of people that like to try new coffee beans. The issue with doing it on your own is that good coffee is expensive. $12+/lb expensive. So, by getting a group of people to split a bag, everyone gets to try something new without having to commit to a bag of coffee they may not like. The club is still fairly new, as am I to the club. Every week, a new coffee is chosen for review and those interested meet up with @RalCoffeeClub to make the exchange. Sounds sketch, right? What can I say, caffeine’s helluva drug! :P
MistoBox is more of a coffee subscription service. They have a promotion at the moment where your first box is only $5 so I figured I’d give it a try. They also have a rewards program where you mention the name of the friend that referred you with your order and you get MistoPoints that can be used for later purchases. Can I, Pamela Ocampo, be your referrer? :)
I’m extremely happy to have tried MistoBox. Each box comes with 4 different 2oz samples of coffee. The October box introduced me to coffees originating from Ethiopian and Guatemalan regions from roasters across the country.
To expand my coffee vocab I took notes of whatever came to mind during the process of hand grinding, brewing, and drinking. I also tried not too look at the card included with the box that gave a description of each of the coffees beforehand to avoid preconceptions of what to expect.
I went through the coffees fairly quickly within the span of one week, brewing each sample an ounce at a time using my Chemex. Below is my attempt to describe what I liked and didn’t like about each one in the order that I tried them.
- Augie’s Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Sidamo
- "Blueberries? What is this? I don’t even…" was what ran through my mind as I opened the bag and began to grind. My first experience with an Ethiopian coffee was off to a good start! The taste was that of blueberries that lingered and, at times, I could sense a hint of chocolate. The mouth feel was soft which made it enjoyable to drink. The first time I brewed it, I was grounded in place in my kitchen sipping until almost halfway done with the mug before I made it back to my desk. I can see myself buying a bigger bag of this in the near future.
- Lone Pine’s Ethiopian Teklu Dembel
- Ah, another Ethiopian. I wasn’t sure if I should expect any similarities with the previous coffee, but when it comes to coffee, that’s rarely the case. The smell came off as citrusy and caramel-like after opening the bag. When I started to grind I smelled cherries! During the brew I sensed some fruity syrupy aromas but I just couldn’t come up with the proper words. The taste was the same and I’m not sure if I was frustrated about my inability to describe, but I ended up not being too thrilled about this one.
- Revel Coffee’s Guatemala Coop Rio Azul
- At this point, I decided to switch it up and try the only non-Ethiopian coffee included in the box. Strong notes of dark chocolate hit me as soon as I opened the bag and darker beans led me to believe this was going to be a bold, full-bodied coffee. After grinding, I could smell more savory aromas, which was a change of pace from the fruity ones I had experienced so far. The one way I attributed it was like a roasted carrot and tomato soup. The taste yielded the same with a subtle, somewhat herbal-y, sweet aftertaste. I wasn’t wrong about the body, either. This coffee kicked my morning into high gear. The flavor complexity made it an interesting coffee to drink, and I wouldn’t mind trying it again.
- OQ Coffee’s Ethiopia Nigusie
- I don’t really have much to say about this one. It had some similarities to Augie’s, but on a subdued level. I felt like this one was more acidic in a way with some additional sweetness but overall the taste of blueberries was more subdued. I enjoyed that grinding it made me think of blueberry muffins and overall it was pleasant to drink, but I think Augie’s would be my first pick over this one.
I’ve yet to compare my reviews with each of MistoBox’s descriptions of each coffee, but I can say that I will continue buying small batches of different coffees so I can refine my coffee vocabulary. It makes my morning routine an interesting one :)