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coffee@home: Two of Oren’s Daily Roasts

orenssidamodaterra

Beans: Ethiopia Sidamo #3 and Brazil Cerrado Daterra
Roaster: Oren’s Daily Roast
Rating:
3- and 3+

My recent trip to New York was mostly business only. I had time to grab a quick cup of house blend from the Joe Kiosk in Grand Central right before rushing for the train. I also had a few minutes to wander down the street near my hotel, where I stumbled upon the Oren’s Daily Roast on 3rd between 30th and 31st. It was late in the day and couldn’t afford to consume much coffee so I’m holding off until I can do a more thorough review. But I will report that despite the demonstrated skill and sweet demeanor exhibited by my barista, the few sips of espresso I tasted of the Beowulf Blend pulled into my paper cup (before I spilled it), didn’t inspire me to return. Fortunately, the sense I’ve gathered is that Oren’s likes to pride itself on its selection of brewed coffees more than its espresso.

Rather than a full review then, I decided to give Oren’s a more detailed exploration at home, especially since they bag up their 30 or so beans in bags as small as a quarter pound – an excellent size for sampling. I picked up some of Oren’s Ethiopian Sidamo given my recent jag of Ethiopian coffee consumption which I hope well-anchored my palate. I also purchased a bag of Oren’s Brazil Daterra, based on my previous positive experiences with Ecco Caffe’s version of what is probably a slightly higher grade lot.

I suppose the first thing I noticed was that both coffees were slightly less expensive than stuff I might typically buy. Oren’s Ethiopian is $15/pound whereas the Daterra is $13/pound. (Oren’s also sells a $50/pound Jamaca Blue Mountain and a $30/pound Kona.) Ritual or Blue Bottle’s, least expensive coffees, by comparison, typically sell for about $15-18/pound (even if they are typically sold in 12 oz or 8 oz bags respectively). What this says to me is that I ought to expect similar, but slightly lower, quality coffee. Fair enough given Oren’s reputation as one of the few quality coffee providers in the city prior to New Yorks recent wave of new roasters and cafes.

Despite my doubts (based on less than positive past experiences with Oren’s) these coffees certainly looked and smelled good. The Ethiopian was a darkish medium while the Daterra was a bit ligher. Both were decent looking medium roasts with neither coffee exhibiting any oils as some of the coffees on Oren’s shelf very much did. While I assume they were reasonably fresh, neither of them – in the store or on the bag – posted roast dates and I forgot to ask. Overall, I’d say Oren’s offers delivers some decent coffee although it’s not a “superior bean.”

orens sidamo

Ethiopian Sidamo (3-)

Grinding this coffee released a fruity explosion in my kitchen. If you have any doubts about what someone means when they refer to a coffee as a fruit bomb, you should try this coffee. It exhibited a syrupy mouthfeel and was chock full of blueberry along with some strawberry, raspberry, vanilla and a touch of cream. While it was a wild coffee to inhale, I quickly grew tired of drinking it, especially as a French Press. As espresso, it was also too much of a good thing and not particularly well-balanced. moderation is the key here. It’s not a bad coffee, but simply fruitfully overwhelming. A little further rest time and brewing it as a pour over yielded a much more subdued cup. I’d certainly recommend a pour over or something with paper or else this coffee will likely rate a notch or two lower.

orensdaterra

Brazil Daterra (3+)

As expected, this was a pleasing, mellow, solid Brazilian coffee, exhibiting nuttiness and mild, crisp apple acidity and a slight viscosity in the mouthfeel. There were hints of chocolate and something a bit buttery. It was nothing earth-shattering, but produced a really smooth and straight-forward French Pressed cup of coffee. Shots of it as espresso had real potential. It had great buttery qualities with brown sugar and molasses, but lacked a complexity that spoke of base material for a blend rather than a shining single origin.

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3 comments to coffee@home: Two of Oren’s Daily Roasts

  • Dear Man-Seeing-Coffee,

    My name is Vijay and I work for Oren’s Daily Roast. Your blog popped up this morning as a mention for us on google.

    I appreciate what you had to write, and any feedback that you provide regarding our coffees.

    However, (obviously) I would disagree with your suggestion that a lower price represents a lower quality. This can be true, but I assert that it is not the case with our company. Oren prides himself on acquiring the best coffees, roasting them fresh daily, and selling them at a fair price. Because of the way Oren prefers to do business (as direct as possible w/ farmers) and because we have a large customer base and do our own roasting locally, we are able to offer our coffees at competitive prices.

    Often, we will find companies that sell the very same coffees (same farm, same lot) as we do for more money.

    Incidentally, the Ethiopian Sidamo is one of our highest quality coffees – it’s Organic & Rainforest certified, grown under a program called “Operation Red Cherry,” helping Ethiopian farmers increase quality.

    In any case, I thank you for the blog, and I would love to send you some of our other coffees to try out and tell us how they appeal to you.

    I have a Guatemala Amatitlan that you will totally love… Also, I want to send you some of our new Burundi Bourbon… and in a few weeks, I’ll have a Kenya that Oren has cupped and is very confident in.

    Please send me your address, and I’ll send these out to you.

    My email is vrajwani (at) orensdailyroast.com

  • Kberg

    Since this review is not about espresso, I was a bit surprised to see oren’s daily roast pop up, there are like la colombe, only not as good, their espresso and I hate to say this is really not good, baristas are untrained, uncaring for the coffee, etc, obviously its hard to fine fault, they are there to serve a more coffee as a commodity product for instance a 20oz mocha and syrup, I agree that they are a bit higher notch than supermarket coffee for instance, and vijay may be right about coffee lots having the same price, not sure about the roast though, again this is odd , judging a shop’s roasted coffee for maybe drip/french press and nothing else, perhaps maybe a 2, 2- given la colombe was judged a 2+. Was the coffee really that good, like many manhattan roasters or atleast ny ones, you pay a premium price, but price alone is not a factor, in any case it is still interesting, perhaps maybe the beans are roasted just for drip, maybe a fairer comparison would be to blind test green beans at a roaster, to really see if beans are the same, great idea.

  • Good point about the price, Vijay. I forgot about those pesky laws of supply and demand! Of course, there are also two other factors at work. First is roast quality. The same beans, roasted differently, could demand very different prices. The proof is in the pudding so to speak. The second is roasters who might use the same coffee, but carry a brand name for which consumers will pay more. Whether customers are being duped, want to pay for status, are seeking some form of “insurance” against bad coffee or are in some other way irrational is a point I’ll leave to the economists.

    That said, I was simply reporting my impression at the time – however, ill informed it may now look in retrospect.

    As far as other Oren’s coffees, I’d be happy to give them a try. The Guatemalan was one of the ones I was debating whether to purchase. I’ll contact you separately about that.

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