I picked up these two coffees in the back-of-the-store bean purchasing center of Cafe Calabria. The Calabria Espresso blend seemed a no-brainer. I liked my shot in the cafe and wanted to see how it might fare on my equipment at home. I also wanted to try another single origin coffee given that I had less luck with the Yergacheffe I had ordered. However, I didn’t have a strong inkling about what I might like and was in something of a rush. I mentioned that I liked lighter roasts and the woman behind the counter suggested the Guatemala so that’s what I bought.
I’ll start with the Guat since that was the least exciting of the two; I like to save the best for last. I noted brown sugar and roasted vegetable sweetness (carrot) along with some cinnamon, molasses and clove. It had a spicy/smoky profile with a slightly viscous mouthfeel. It was too dark, however. The roast notes predominated and I picked up on only the mildest acidity and sweetness. I tended to favor a French Press with this coffee since the increased body helped compensate for the otherwise roasty profile. In general, though, I’d probably suggest pursuing better things.
At home, the Calabria blend produced a dark, chewy espresso that was slightly different, but still as good as what I found in the shop. As espresso, it had some pretty prominent red-wine notes, both in terms of sweetness and acidity. Also notable were oranges, earth and mild, woody, herbs.
I didn’t enjoy this blend as filter coffee. Too much roast. It also wasn’t my ideal espresso given the intensity of the roast and given that I don’t think the profile was pushing any boundaries in terms of taste. Still, this blend produces a tasty, well-balanced, properly sweet shot worthy of some attention. It’s fine example of traditional espresso blending.