Our dear friends in Kobe, Japan, were kind enough to send me this treat: ”Hazelnut Coffee” from Lion Coffee, the company based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Thank you so much!
As the name would suggest, ”Hazelnut Coffee” is topped with a hazelnut flavor. On their website, the company tells us that this is ”a special blend of International coffee beans with a predominant Hazelnut flavor and subtle background notes of coconut.” On the bag, they also state that they have used beans from Colombia and Brazil, and that this is ”100% Arabica coffee. Flavored with natural and artificial flavors.” Also, the roast is said to be ”Light-Medium”. Overall, the whole product is described as ”light” at 1/5. Whether this figure points to the roast level or strength, we don’t know.
As I opened the bag, I immediately noticed the added flavoring. The hazelnut aroma was really strong and sweet. Quite pleasant, actually! I did smell the coffee, too, obviously, but it was overpowered by the topping, to the extent that without reading the description on the label, it would have been impossible to identify the beans that have gone into this product.
The coffee was pre-ground (medium size), so I decided to brew this in my AeroPress (inverted, steel filter).
In the cup, too, the hazelnut flavoring was the main player. The actual coffee provided a nice, medium-light base for the topping, but it never took center stage. I could tell that the coffee had a toasted, slightly bitter feel to it—pretty nice!—, but because of the added flavoring, I couldn’t analyze it any further. It was apparent that in this coffee, the hazelnut thing was meant to be the star of the show. In this respect, the Lion approach seems to have been pretty different from that of, say, Galliano, whose flavorings are a lot more subtle. Here, the flavoring had a natural, nutty vibe to it, but there might have been a tiny hint of something artificial to it as well, something that made me think of those glycerol-like aromas I’ve smelled in my friend’s sweet vape juices. Maybe that was the coconut? Also, the mouthfeel might have been slightly goopier than that of your regural unflavored Arabica. But I didn’t mind! This was not supposed to be a natural coffee product anyway.
Now, I personally never crave for anything sweet, ever. I drink coffee for the coffee flavor. That’s why I usually prefer unflavored, natural coffee products. However, sometimes it is fun to try a ”dessert” coffee with an added topping. Even though the company describes Hazelnut Coffee as ”tropical”, ”A wonderful taste of the [Hawaiian] islands”, I found it to be very suitable to the cold, Scandinavian Christmas season as well.
In my opinion, Lion Hazelnut Coffee would be a great option for anyone who likes to add sugar or other sweeteners to his/her coffee. It could also work well for anyone who is just getting into coffee, and who is not accustomed to strong coffee flavors just yet. For instance, my good Wife is more of a tea person, but she absolutely loved this blend.
Give Hazelnut Coffee a try! I think you might like it!