As I alluded to in my previous piece, I had a bit of trouble with these two coffees while tasting them at the Mr. Espresso Roasting plant. All that really came through on my espresso-coated tongue were the very distinctive brighter notes of this Colombian Coffee, which, I am embarrassed to say, I mistakenly mistook for something vaguely Ethiopian. Fortunately, Luigi took pity on me and gave me the chance to redeem myself in the privacy of my own home by giving me a bag of each. What he didn’t count on was that there, away from prying eyes, I could consult with my personal Q-grade cupper, simply copying his notes and claiming them as my own.
Of course, it was actually a real treat to try out these two coffees a bit more leisurely at home. I was mostly pleased but slightly underwhelmed with the two single origin beans from Mr. Espresso that I had sampled previously at Coffee Bar – mostly because they struck me as slightly too dark a roast. A recent review of Mr. Espresso’s Ethiopian coffee rekindled my interest, however. I should add that even if many of the recent critiques Coffee Review has withstood hold true, like at least one other blogger, I still assume there’s some merit to his 93 rating. Even internal to Ken David’s own, allegedly inflated, rating system, this 93 would still be quite good.
Having now tried both these Mr. Espresso single origin coffees with a cleaner palate, I’d like to clarify that I liked the Ethiopian more. It’s an excellent example of a delicately fruity and floral Ethiopian coffee taken to a slightly darker than might be expected roast. I got notes of lemon, strawberry, and lavender on the one hand while still enjoying some deliciously sweet chocolate and caramel notes as well. It had a slightly buttery quality and was overall a pretty clean, medium bodied coffee that I think would be equally pleasing to coffee newbies and experts alike. As far as brew method, I didn’t think you could really go too wrong with this one, but I personally found it best – most aromatic – in a French Press. I’d highly recommend this one to someone not familiar with Mr. Espresso or who otherwise might be skeptical of them in the face of newer, edgier roasters.
The Colombian Coffee was also quite good, but more for its novelty “punch” of exotic flavors rather than the well-rounded, easy going, drink-all-day nature possessed by the Yergacheffe. This coffee hits you up front with lots of roasted yam and sassafras yielding to buttered corn and brown sugar. I likened it to being clubbed by a mace rather than being stabbed by a knife.
But wait. That sounds unpleasant and this coffee is anything but. I think the point is that I never would have expected this particular flavor profile from a Colombian coffee. As I grew accustomed to it, however, I noticed some similarities to the bright, pine-like acidity in an Intelligentsia Colombian I recently consumed. While I liked that coffee a bit better than this one – it had a better overall balance and nuance of flavors – this Colombian is notable simply because it’s unlike anything I’ve tasted recently and is so distinctly so. Again I preferred this coffee in a French Press, but it was pretty fun as well as an espresso.