I was excited to try the coffee from plowshares since: a) I hadn’t tried it previously, b) I had read some good stuff about their operation, and c) they are local (at least by my west coast standards). While I didn’t end up trying a cup on the clover at Kaffe 1668, I made certain to pick up a bag to try at home.
I don’t remember what compelled me to pick the El Salvador over the other two Plowshares coffee that shared the shelf with it. Maybe it was that irresistible name, “Las Delicias,” or maybe it was Kaffe 1668 was serving that one. Either way, it turns out that this coffee also got some decent marks from Ken Davids on coffee review. I personally was very pleased. It was a solid performer, eco friendly, and very reasonably priced at $10/12 oz online (although I think I paid slightly more at Kaffe 1668).
I found this gigantic, very flat looking bean to yield an unusual aroma: peanuts and roasted corn along with a bit of chocolate, dried apricots and black tea. It also carried a kind of earthy, fall leaf quality that made me think of mountains. It’s a hearty coffee that leans toward a fuller body with a clean mouthfeel. The package describes the acidity perfectly as crisp.
I had fun playing with this coffee as an espresso even if that’s not necessarily its intended purpose. I got loads of crema and a very spicy espresso. It worked better as a Frech Press, which toned down this spicy quality but overwhelmed the flavors a little with the additional body. Best of all was the effect I got with it as a pour over drip. This method (a ceramic cone, not chemex although that may work as well) seemed to accentuate the sharper, crisper qualities as well as the spice – something like clove. It reminded me a lot of some Peruvian Coffees from my past. Of course, this realization makes me wonder how it actually would turn out on a Clover which falls somewhere between a pour over and French Press in terms of solids in the cup.
The bottom line is that Plowshares is definitely worth a try. Just keep in mind that its a roaster only – no cafe of its own. The good news is that it seems you can now try and/or acquire Plowshares coffee at a sizeable and growing list of places, including some hotels and restaurants both in New York City and outside of it.