A little while back, Dan from Neptune Coffee in Seattle got in touch about sending a couple of a samples my way. The cafe has recently started roasting its own and he wanted to get my take. The blogging has been slow as of late so sorry, Dan, for the belated review. Happily, my take on this coffee is that for a fledgling roasting operation they are doing some good work.
The more impressive of the two coffees I tried was the Guatemala Huehuetenango. This sharp and intense, full-bodied coffee with a syrupy mouthfeel was herbal and slightly floral with a spicy caramel sweetness. It brewed well both via French Press and pour over but was one of those coffees that I find too intense and rich to work well in a siphon. It produced an interesting, not half bad, single-origin espresso; I’d definitely encourage some experimenting since I think it has some real potential in this format.
The Nepsresso was leagues better than the lifeless, Nespresso pod shot I “pulled” the other day at a demo, so there’s no way that you’re going to mistake this blend for its similar sounding Nestle counterpart. I liked the blend quite a bit as brewed coffee, something I don’t often find with espresso blends. It produces a sweet, slightly viscous and mildly fruity cup with notes of chocolate, cherry, apple and blueberry. It’s well rounded and full-bodied.
As espresso, I kept running into fairly thin-bodied shots lacking a the really full flavor that I felt like I should be getting. In fact, I had a similar experience with Gimme!’s Leftist when pulling shots at home. Despite my running that blend through the ringer, I was never able to replicate the stunning espresso I’ve repeatedly experience in Gimme!’s stores. Yes, barista skill may be involved here, but I have a theory that it has to do with my use of a spring powered lever machine and double basket, which works wonders with some espresso, but seems to fall flat with others. To test this out, I “assisted” my lever and sure enough, what emerged with both espressos was something closer to what I felt like I should be getting: a richer, creamier, more full-bodied shot. The bottom line is that these two espressos may simply not be build around my particular home use. For now then, I’m simply giving the Nepspresso the benefit of the doubt and holding off on formally rating it until I can plan my next trip to Seattle.