Temple Coffee just celebrated their first year as a roaster. This occasion is a sad one for me since somehow during that time, I never actually managed to get up to Sacramento to try their coffee. Of course, I also somehow never managed to visit Temple prior them starting to roast when they were a wholesale account of Barefoot.
Fortunately, Temple’s roaster, whose blogs – Coffee is Food and Home Roastery – I’ve followed for some time, was kind enough to send some samples my way to evaluate. Not that this is the first time I’ve tasted Temples coffee. Temple’s coffees, along with one of Ed’s side projects, This Joy + Ride, have been known to appear from time to time at Modern Coffee. Here’s what I thought of the four coffees I tried.
Dharma Dois (3+)
The Dharma Dois is Temple’s espresso blend. I tasted an earlier incarnation of this blend at Modern Coffee, which liked it quite a bit (possibly better). That one, as best as I can remember from a single shot, had a crisp and subtly sweet profile reminiscent of Verve’s Street Level. This most recent version swaps out one of the beans for an Ethiopia, lending it a rounder, sweeter quality. I completely agree with the bag’s tasting notes of toasted almond, caramel and marzipan, which worked nicely as a macchiatto. As a straight shot, I also noticed some bitter chocolate, pear and grape with a syrupy, yet clean mouthfeel. While I can’t say it made a show stopping cup of coffee, it did have some versatility beyond just espresso, which is always a plus. I’d say try this one as espresso with milk.
Colombia Monserrate Huila (3+)
Coffees from Colombia are another interesting lot. Many are truly spectacular while many are merely mediocre. This one strikes me as somewhere in between (and I think may have struck Ken David’s similarly – if one can correctly interpret his inflated 100-point scale). My notes included cocoa, caramel, cherry, and pear with a gentle acidity, tea like body and a dried fruit finish. Overall, I thought this coffee had a flatter profile than I would have liked, but what struck me favorably about this coffee was the mouthfeel. It was very clean, and depending on the brew method – Aeropress was probably my favorite – the coffee turned creamy, almost silky.
Brazil Macubas Minas Gerais, Cerrado (3+)
Naturally processed Brazils are finicky things. I sometimes find them pleasing and complex in a very good way. Others…well, I wrote previously about the less than excited response their stinky-cheese-like quality can have on a crowd. Fortunately, Temple’s Macubas mostly avoids the cheesy funk and hits the right notes, and by right notes, I mean chocolate, earth, caramel and a mellow, roasted tomato acidity. Although it worked as a very syrupy espresso, I found this coffee best as a French Press early on and as an aeropress a bit later in its lifespan. The latter method did particularly well at morphing the slight musty ferment that I noticed with a paper filter – dry earth and fall leaves – into something more reminiscent of toffee.
Sumatra Tabu Jamu Sidakalang Lake Toba (3)
Cedar. Fresh earth. Sage. Dry with a sharp acidity. This coffee fits the stereotype for an intense, spicy-savory Sumatra. I struggle with coffees from this region of Sumatra.Their particular herbacious qualities make them intriguing to taste in small dose but often too much to bear in an entire cup. My best experience so far has been Verve’s Sumatra single origin which does this type of coffee justice – an intense burst that doesn’t tire the tasetbuds. Temple’s coffee does a good just of toning down the pot-filled dorm room effect of a hearty Sumatra, which is something to be appreciated. At the same time, the flavors of this coffee seemed a little muted. Can’t win with it and can’t win without it, I guess.