Café Liégeois Mano Mano Subtil—nuanced, yet simple and rustic

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This week, I’ve been enjoying Mano Mano Subtil from Café Liégeois, Belgium.

On the bag, the company tells us that that ”this blend includes, among other things, coffee from Bolivia” (my translation). That’s all they say about it, really. OK, there was the familiar graph, too. This time, it said this:

  • Rondeur: 10/14
  • Intensité: 9/14
  • Fruité: 13/14

The roast was medium dark, somewhere around 3–3,5/5. Right off the bat, it seemed to me that this coffee would work really well in the moka pot as well as the AeroPress. Again, I was right! Either way, the mouthfeel was very smooth and creamy, just like in the other Café Liégeois coffees I’ve had the pleasure of trying. This seems to be part of their trademark!

What about the flavor profile, then? At first, I was having a bit of a hard time articulating what Subtil tasted like. After several cups, however, I started to figure it out. I concluded that the main notes were medium dark milk chocolate flavor, and fresh fruits. But there was also a nice bitterness that seemed to come ”from within” the coffee, if that makes sense. What I’m trying to say is that Subtil felt smooth and slightly bitter at the same time. It was also somewhat nuanced, yet simple and rustic. I liked it!

Despite its name, Mano Mano Subtil from Café Liégeois might not offer you the most subtle flavors you can think of. Anyhow, I found it to be a pleasant all around blend that you can brew in any way you want, and enjoy any time of the day. I think it’s worth checking out! In Finland, you can get it from Kahvikaveri.

Café Liégeois Mano Mano Puissant—potent but smooth!

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Next up: Puissant from Café Liégeois, Belgium. As the name would suggest, this is one of the more potent blends in the company’s Mano Mano line of coffees.

On the bag, there is little information on the ingredients. The company only tells us that ”[c]e mélange contient, entre autre, du café de… Inde”. That is to say, ”this blend includes, among other things, coffee from India” (my translation). Based on the flavor profile, however, I assumed that this is a blend of Arabica and Robusta. While it was hard to guess the proportions, there seemed to be a generous helping of R in this—which was nice!

As on the other Café Liégeois coffee bags, here too the flavor profile was described by the familiar graph. It could be interpreted thus:

  • Rondeur: 10/14
  • Intensité: 12/14
  • Fruité: 5/14

The roast was dark, somewhere around 4/5, in my estimation. Just the appearance of the beans made me think that this would be suitable for moka/espresso use. I was right! (I guess don’t have to tell you that I chose to use my Bialetti Moka!)

The bouquet reminded me of pine needles and dark baking cocoa. These were the main players in the actual flavor profile, too. There might have been a hint of something floral in there as well (Robusta!), but it was by no means a prominent component. While there was some acidity and bitterness—both very pleasant—, on the whole, the blend was very well behaved and smooth.

So, if you’re looking for a Robusta forward espresso that is

  • flavorful
  • smooth
  • very satisfying
  • but something that won’t punch you in the face…

then Mano Mano Puissant from Café Liégeois might be a good choice. I think you should give it a try! In Finland, you can get it from Kahvikaveri.

Café Liégeois Kivu—CREAMY!

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On the border between Congo and Rwanda, the high plateaux bordering Lake Kivu are favourable to growing high-quality coffee. The altitude and the humid tropical climate, combined with the richness of the soil, give the grain a slight citrus taste, as well as beautiful persistence in the mouth.

This is how Café Liégeois (Belgium) describes Kivu, their dark roast (4/5?) coffee that comes from the Amka coop, Kivu region, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They are so right. This is exactly what you get with this coffee.

On the bag, the flavor profile is described further by a graph. It could be interpreted thus:

  • Rondeur: 9/14
  • Intensité: 8/14
  • Fruité: 13/14

As was the case with Café Liégeois’ Chiapas Mexico which I reviewed a couple of days ago, there was no information on the bag about suggested brewing methods. So again, I ended up brewing the coffee in my Bialetti Moka, and in the AeroPress (inverted, paper filter). Whichever method I chose, I really liked what I tasted.

Brewed in the moka pot, the bouquet was truly great. It smelled like chocolate, marzipan, cream and sugar, and fresh fruits. The mouthfeel was exceptionally creamy, too, perhaps even oily. I loved it! While the flavor profile was not super complex, it did have different aspects to it. I tasted pretty much all of the things I had detected in the bouquet; the chocolate, marzipan, cream and sugar, and fresh fruits were all there. But then, on top of that, there was the same extremely high note that I had detected eariler in Chiapas Mexico. As I was reviewing that blend, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. At the time, I thought it was kiwifruit. Now, however, after reading the Kivu bag description, I went: ”Yes, citrus!” In both Chiapas Mexico and Kivu, this citrusy tinge was barely noticeable. Even then, it added some personality to the flavor profiles.

Again, as could be expected, the AeroPress made the overall experience a little ”softer”. Having said that, the flavor profile was pretty much the same as in the moka version. The mouthfeel was almost equally creamy and pleasant.

Man, these Café Liégeois products are good! I really think you should check them out. In Finland, you can get them from Kahvikaveri.

Café Liégeois Chiapas Mexico—all day every day!

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This is Chiapas Mexico by Café Liégeois, Belgium. It is a medium roast (3/5?) coffee from—you guessed it—Chiapas, Mexico.

On the bag, there was not much information on the product, but the company does tell us this: ”Rich and complex, it reveals very fruity, exquisite aroma notes. Fair [trade?]. The perfect blend between flavor and solidarity.” Additionally, the flavor profile was described by a graph. It could be interpreted thus:

  • Rondeur: 9/14
  • Intensité: 9/14
  • Fruité: 13/14

Since there was no information about suggested brewing methods, I ended up brewing this coffee in the ways I know:

  1. in my good old Bialetti Moka, and
  2. in my trusty AeroPress (inverted, paper filter).

Either way, I really liked what I tasted.

In my opinion, the Moka pot brought the best out of this coffee. The bouquet was truly mouthwatering: it was tobaccoey, creamy, caramelly, and fruity. I could tell that this was going to taste pleasantly acidic—which it did.

There were two aspects to the flavor profile: On the one hand, Chiapas was relatively robust, with the flavors of tobacco, nuts, and some caramel. On the other hand, however, it made me think of yellow stonefruits (apricots?), maybe even some kiwifruit. These two aspects worked extremely well together. The end product was robust enough to wake me up in the morning, and yet sophisticated and delicate enough to work as a dessert coffee.

As could be expected, the AeroPress made the overall experience ”softer”, or more muted; the individual flavors were not quite as intense. Brewed this way, Chiapas seemed to be exactly what I like to have first thing in the morning: an honest, middle of the road Coffee, with no bells and whistles.

I found Chiapas Mexico from Café Liégeois to be a pleasant ”all day every day” type of coffee. Granted, it didn’t blow me away like some higher-end coffees would, but it did precisely what it was supposed to do. I will definitely order some more! In the meantime, I’ll be excited to try other blends from the same manufacturer!

In Finland, you can get Café Liégeois products from Kahvikaveri. Check them out!

Kahiwa Capricornio—a big espresso from Brazil

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Capricornio is a big, full-bodied espresso from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, Lahti, Finland.

The description on the label is quite brief. The company only states that this is a smooth Brazilian coffee with low acidity. The beans are grown in an altitude of 600 m. They are honey processed, and roasted dark (4+/5). As for tasting notes, they say this: nuts, caramel, and mocha brownies.

It was obvious that I would brew this in my Bialetti Moka, exclusively.

Right off the bat, it was clear that this was not supposed to be a super multifaceted coffee. While the flavor profile was not exactly monochromatic, it was simple, bold, and masculine. Sometimes that’s exactly what is called for! In my opinion, the midrange nuttiness was the main player. In the baritone section, I detected the pleasant sourness of cigar leaf. There might have been some brownie-like flavors, and a hint of caramelly sweetness as well, but overall, Capricornio was more on the dry side.

If that’s what you like, you should check it out! You can get Capricornio from the Kahiwa website!

Kahiwa Galeh Washed—like mom’s rhubarb pie

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Here’s another interesting coffee from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, Lahti, Finland.

Galeh Washed is all about organic, washed Heirloom from Limu Kossa, Ethiopia. It is roasted dark (4/5), and—as the company states on the label—in a way that makes it suitable for both filter coffee and espresso. They also say that it tastes like ”cacao nibs”, dates, and rhubarb.

I tried brewing this in my AeroPress (one of those inverted methods, paper filter), as well as in the three cup Bialetti Moka.

In my opinion, the AeroPress brought out two major aspects: First, there was the cocoa thing, and secondly… something herbal. I was wondering whether this was supposed to be the rhubarb flavor, but even after several cups, all I could think of was herbs of some sort. Now, I really liked it! (Cf. my review of another lovely Ethiopian, Lehmus Roastery Myllysaari.) But I didn’t really detect anything that tasted like rhubarb.

However, as soon as I tried Galeh Washed in my Bialetti, everything changed. Now, the overall experience was more acidic, in a pleasant way. Moreover, what used to taste like herbs, felt very much like rhubarb. To be honest, I didn’t get the ”dates”, but perhaps the full midrange, and the natural sweetness might be taken as date-like. The whole thing made me think of my mom’s rhubarb pie!

Perhaps Galeh Washed was not quite as mindblowing as the ”regular”, lighter roasted Galeh. (I just love that one!) But like any other Kahiwa offering, it is certainly worth checking out. I think I might have to grab another bag!

Kahiwa Finca Canalaj—a very nice Guatemalan for filter coffee lovers

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Next, I’ll be reviewing a couple of coffees from our local roastery, Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, Lahti, Finland.

The first one is this: Finca Canalaj, made of washed Caturra from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Only seeing the name ”Huehuetenango” on a bag makes me want to try it. I have always liked coffees that come from this source!

On the label, Kahiwa tell us that the roast is on the lighter side, 2/5. They also promise us notes of milk chocolate and red berries.

Since Finca Canalaj is intended for filter use, I decided to brew it in my AeroPress.

Indeed, the flavor profile seemed to have these two aspects: On the one hand, I detected a light (milk) chocolatey flavor. On the other hand, there was this delicious acidity, that was slightly reminiscent of red berries, but—in my opinion—not only that. At times I also thought I tasted fresh cut fruit, perhaps something like yellow stonefruits. Even then, the experience was not overly chocolatey or berry-like/fruity. It tasted like coffee, with a capital C. On top of this, (I know I keep repeating myself!) I’m sure that I detected it again with this coffee: a hint of that nutty and toasted flavor of burley tobacco. Very pleasant!

In sum, I would say that Finca Canalaj is a delicious, medium bodied Guatemalan with enough chocolateyness and fruitiness to keep you interested. While it was not quite as exquisite as some other Guatemalan coffees I’ve tried, I can honestly say that it was a high quality all-day coffee that can be recommend to anyone. Get yours from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters!

Oh, and by the way: Kahiwa have just upgraded their packaging, so you will now get your beans in these great looking black bags with really cool labels. Check them out!

Cafetoria Rwanda Mahondo—one of the best filter coffees I’ve had this year

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Yet another winner from Cafetoria Roastery: Rwanda Mahondo, a truly fantastic filter coffee, made of naturally processed, sun dried Bourbon and Jackson from Gayenke district, Northern Rwanda. The roast is medium (2/5).

Since I’m not much of a pour over man, I decided to brew this in my AeroPress. As always, I tried several different brewing methods. These are my thoughts about the blend.

As soon as I had my first sip, I went: ”Another example of how well Cafetoria describes their coffees.” As with their other coffees, you get precisely what they promise on the label. With Rwanda, it’s all about ”[b]lueberries, grapes, raisins, oak, creamy body, cola, Porto wine”.

What a great experience this was!

The mouthfeel was juicy and creamy at the same time—”syrupy” would perhaps be the best word, if it didn’t make you think of something extremely goopy and sweet.

Now, Rwanda Mahondo was kind of sweet, but not too much. Also, it was very flavorful, without being overpowering in any way. It was an amazingly complex, yet a very soft mélange of flavors. I detected everything they had listed in the description. For me, though, the cola flavor was only barely detectable. Also, I thought I tasted some burley tobacco in the finish. Be that as it may, this was one of those blends that make you want to have another cup, and then another, and…

Cafetoria has it in stock! Get yourself some today!

Cafetoria Mitad del Corazon—like a quality red wine

davHere’s another fantastic product from Cafetoria Roastery: Mitad del Corazon, an organic coffee whose origin is in La Coipa, Peru. The roast is dark (3/5).

As I always do with ”espresso” coffees, I brewed this in my Bialetti Moka pot. Here’s what I thought about it.

This coffee is exactly what the company promises on the label. You get ”[o]ak, Porto wine, figs”. It is ”creamy”, and has ”profound acidity”.

Now, in many coffees, acidity seems like a separate feature along with the flavors. In Mitad del Corazon, however, the acidity is an intergral part of what you’re tasting. It is very much like semi dry red wine with a full body. I was reminded of some pinot noirs I’ve enjoyed in the past. I definitely got the dried figs, and some leather as well. Lastly, there was the tiniest hint of caramel in the (very creamy) finish.

Mitad del Corazon is one of those coffees that leave you speechless—hence, the short review. Briefly, I just absolutely loved it.

Do yourself a favor, visit Cafetoria, and get yourself some!

Cafetoria Espresso 7 (new version)—probably the best ”Italian” espresso I’ve had

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Recently, as I happened to be in Helsinki, I went to get some beans from the Cafetoria Roastery coffee shop. I was really happy to meet their founder and master roaster, Ivan Ore, who is not only a great coffee professional, but a true gentleman, as well. Ivan was kind enough to show me some of their new products. One of them was this new version of Espresso 7, Cafetoria’s take on the classic Italian Arabica/Robusta espresso blend. Now, I had had—and loved—Espresso 7 before, but Ivan suggested I try the new incarnation. He told me that he is constantly experimenting with their blends, trying to make them even better. Since I love everything about Italian coffee, I was happy to grab a bag!

On the label it says that Espresso 7 is made of seven different beans from Brazil, Nicaragua, Rwanda, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, India, and Cameroon. 70% of the blend is Arabica, the remaining 30% is Robusta. Sounds pretty Italian to me!

They also say that the blend is roasted the Italian way. On the Cafetoria scale, the roast level is dark at 4/5. Of course, every manufacturer has its own scale of darkness. To me, the roast looks pretty ”medium”, or 3/5 on the scale that many Italian manufacturers seem to use. My point is, many non-Italian ”espresso” blends are a lot darker than this. But I don’t think a true espresso has to be super dark. I’d rather have my espresso roasted like this!

As for the flavor, the company states that there is ”a great roundness” to this coffee, and ”notes of cocoa, hazelnuts, dried berries and toast: Like in Italy!”

Of course, I just had to brew this coffee in my trusty Bialetti moka pot. As I did so, I found out that the bouquet was absolutely mouthwatering. I detected

  • hazelnuts
  • molasses
  • dried fruits
  • some of that floral, hyacinth-like quality of Robusta
  • baking cocoa

From the very first sip, it was clear: The body was full, and the mouthfeel was extremely creamy. At the same time, it didn’t feel (as we would say in Finnish) ”thick”. Exactly the way I like it!

The flavor was no less than amazing. Espresso 7 was very much like genuine Italian Arabica/Robusta espresso blends, only better than most of them. All the familiar elements were there, but it was more well-balanced, well-behaved and sophisticated than most Italian offerings. There was absolutely no harshness to speak of.

The flavor profile was super complex. All of the qualities I detected in the bouquet were there in the flavor as well. It was nutty, sweet (molasses, brown sugar, dried fruits), and floral. It also had this cocoa-like texture, and there was a hint of something toasted as well. Despite its complexity, however, Espresso 7 never felt too ”busy” or all over the place. Instead, it offered me a beautiful mélange of flavors, all of which worked together in perfect harmony.

To sum up, it is safe to say that Espresso 7 from Cafetoria is one of the best ”Italian” espressos I’ve ever had. Period. It could even be the very best. I know, that is quite a statement, coming from someone who loves Italian cuisine more than anything. But I really mean it. It’s that good.

Ladies and gentlemen, please, show some love to Cafetoria! Get yourself some Espresso 7, or any of their fantastic coffees. They really deserve it.