I picked up this 12 oz bag of Decaf Sumatra Gayoland on my recent trip to Barefoot (even though I vastly prefer getting half pound bags). I cupped it, pulled a few shots with it, and brewed it both via french press and pour over drip. I found a light, delicate, coffee. Brewed, it takes on the color of black tea with just the slightest drop of milk. My results stood in contrast to the dark, earthy espresso I had at the 2008 WRBC and the description on the label.
I don’t know if I did something wrong, but I was pleasantly surprised. The coffee had an intense, but balanced limey acidity and tasted of herbs and a touch of milk chocolate. It had a suggestion of earthy body, but still seemed clean and delicate. As an espresso, it was bright and chirpy. I enjoyed the rich flavor and intense acidity of the french press, but also liked the more subtle depth that emerged as a drip. This coffee was great after a meal of chicken in lettuce cups and went well with a vanilla cake with whipped cream. I could even find myself enjoying this coffee (gasp!) first thing in the morning.
I suppose this same bright, clean profile might not be considered a plus by everyone. I suspect people tend to drink their decaf at night (for obvious reasons), and as such may have often just finished a heavier meal or a big, fat delicious, heart-clogging desert. This is not the coffee for these occasions. The Gayoland is versatile when it comes to brewing but doesn’t want to accompany anything.
I always struggle with how to rate a decaf. Do I rank it compared to other decafs or compared to caffeinated coffees? Certainly compared to decafs this one deserves a four. It’s very good, and one of the few bright decaf coffees I can remember that didn’t come across as simply sour. Compared to caffeinated beans, I think the Gayoland is probably in the lower fours, but I’d certainly like to have this decaf in my regular coffee repertoire.