Paulig Café Parisien—maybe with milk..?

img_20190119_131622Several friends have requested reviews of readily available blends from Finnish coffee companies. The biggest of them all is Paulig, the traditional company known to every Finn. Last year I reviewed some blends that belong to their series of coffees named after a city. After doing Café Sydney, New York and Barcelona (see the reviews under the category ”Paulig”), I was finally able to find Café Parisien in beans. So, here we go.

Café Parisien is the darkest roast (level 5/5) in the Paulig city series. They don’t say much about the contents in the bag description, and on their website they only state that this is a blend of the best Southern and Middle American coffees, some African beans for berry-like flavors, and a small amount of Indian Robusta.

The bag note is very pleasant. Like many other Paulig blends, it’s sweet and marzipan-like, maybe even sweeter than the lighter offerigs in the same series. While you can easily tell that Parisien is roasted darker than the others, it isn’t particularly smoky. Quite nice so far.

How does it smell in the cup? Well, this is where it gets hard to explain, at least in a polite manner. Let’s just say that it does smell. Yes, I can detect some sweetness and dark chocolate, but the bouquet is dominated by a peculiar sharpness. I assume it’s the Robusta. Now, in the very best Arabica/Robusta blends, such as Fit Fuel from Black Rifle Coffee Company (my #1 coffee in 2018, see the review), Robusta can have this ”high-pitched,” spicy floral quality. Here, however, the sharp smell was reminiscent of the well-known liquid that—according to Wikipedia—is a ”by-product of metabolism in humans and in many animals.” Oh boy.

Thankfully, the taste is a little more agreeable: Again, the dark chocolate is there, but I also get a hint of almonds. It’s pretty low in acidity, yet quite bitter. The overall experience is relatively multidimensional, but for some reason the different flavors don’t seem to fit together well enough to form an enjoyable mélange. Instead, they stay separate from each other in a way, if that makes sense. You are also left with a long, bitter aftertaste.

The company states that Café Parisien would work well as a base for café au lait. I can see why. The added milk would probably make the actual taste less apparent.

Do I hate it? Not really, but I can’t say I like it very much, either. Of course, I acknowledge the fact that Café Parisien is not meant to be a top quality gourmet coffee blend, but rather something you can easily get from any supermarket. However, I do not quite understand why Finnish coffee companies like Paulig—who have over 140 years of experience—still keep making products like this, while their Swedish and Italian competitors provide so much better quality for the same price. It must be because we Finns keep buying.

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