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

dav

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 Kivu—CREAMY!

dav

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!

dav

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 Galeh Washed—like mom’s rhubarb pie

dav

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

dav

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

dav

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!

Friedhats Colombia El Desvelado #1—my new favorite Colombian!

dav

Here’s another candidate for my list of Top 10 coffees.

Colombia El Desvelado #1 Filter Coffee from Friedhats Coffee Roasters, Amsterdam. The coffee comes in a fun plastic canister. On the label, the company encourages customers to keep the canister, and return it to them for recycling.

About the coffee itself, the company states this:

Notes: Candy sweetness, blueberry jam, plum.

Variety: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia

Coop: Cafe Occidente

No. of members: 1670

Region: Nariño

Altitude: 2200 masl

Process: Fully washed

Harvest: 2019

The roast appeared to be medium, around 3/5.

The aroma of the ground beans was mouthwatering: nougat, blueberry jam, and prunes.

On the label it said ”Filter coffee”. I figured that this would work well with the AeroPress. Oh boy, it did.

The mouthfeel was juicy and jammy.

Even if the body was medium-mild, the coffee was very flavorful. On the high end of the spectrum, there was the soft acidity of blueberry jam. The midrange was dominated by the prunes. In the finish, there was some molasses, and a tiny hint of the nutty sweetness of burley tobacco. After every cup, I was left craving for more. It was that good.

In Finland, you can get Friedhats coffees from Coffea, Jyväskylä. I highly recommend checking them out—both the Dutch roastery, and the Jyväskylä store, that is. They really know their stuff!

Lehmus Roastery Myllysaari Light Roast—fruity, herbal… and excellent!

 

davThis one is going to be a strong candidate for my top 10 coffees of the year.

Myllysaari Light Roast from Lehmus Roastery. On the label, the blend is described as follows: Etiopia, [that’s how you spell it in Finnish] Anderacha, Sheka, Limu, Guji, Keffa Bourbon, natural, 1700–1900 m.a.s.l”. They also say that the roast level is 2/5, whereas the body is 2,5/5. The roastery suggests that the blend is especially suitable for filter machines and AeroPress.

Of course, I decided to go with AeroPress.

The second I opened the bag, I knew I was going to love it. It had an aroma of fresh cut (yellow?) stonefruits. At the same time, there was this herbal aroma that made me think of a very light green color, mixed with a lot of white, and just a touch of light gray.

Both of these aspects were there in the taste as well. The flavor was naturally fruity and sweet, but not too sweet. It was herbal and hoppy, but not dry, hay-like, or bitter. Also, the sweet milk chocolate flavor that I usually associate with flavor profiles like this was absent, which made the blend unpredictable in a good way. The mouthfeel was solid and creamy—as you would expect from a Lehmus Roastery product!—, but light and juicy at the same time.

Oh yes, I liked it a lot.

If you’re one of those people who have thought that light roasted coffee is acidic and nasty by default (as many traditional Finnish blends are!), and that therefore it is better to stick to ”dark roast” blends, think again! Myllysaari Light Roast from Lehmus Roastery is an excellent example of how pleasant a high quality light roasted Ethiopian can be. It’s pure bliss!

Lehmus Roastery Kanava Half City Roast—an excellent all day blend

dav

This is an excellent blend: Kanava Half City Roast from Lehmus Roastery, the award winning coffee company in Lappeenranta, Finland.

According to the roastery, Kanava is a blend of washed Caturra, Colombia, and Castillo Arabica from Colombia. Both the roast level and body are said to be 2,5/5. They also say that this blend is suitable to filter coffee makers and the AeroPress. Can you guess which one I opted for? The AeroPress, of course.

First, the bouquet. I detected (in no particular order)

  • vanilla
  • some chocolate
  • nuts
  • dried fruits (figs/raisins?)
  • burley tobacco

The mouthfeel was classic Lehmus. It was creamy, syrupy, and rich. And, yet it was kind of light at the same time. I just loved it.

What about the flavor profile? At first I went: ”OK, another solid middle-of-the-road blend.” But then I started to notice how complex it actually was. I detected the following (again, in no particular order):

  • vanilla
  • some chocolate
  • nuts
  • dried fruits
  • the soft acidity of fresh fruits (apples?)
  • toasted burley or dark fired kentucky tobacco

None of these flavors overpowered the others. Rather, they worked together in perfect harmony. Also, despite the multifaceted nature of the flavor profile, at no point did the blend feel too ”busy”. Actually, the overall experience was medium light and rather simple.

Like I said, Kanava from Lehmus Roastery is an excellent blend. It would work perfectly on any occasion. You owe it to yourself to check it out!

Paulig Juhla Mokka—The Finnish classic

dav

This is the coffee review that many of my readers have been waiting for.

This is also the review that will make others roll their eyes.

What is it about? Juhla mokka, blended and roasted by the Finnish coffee giant Paulig.

This is the blend that has been considered THE Finnish coffee for decades. Every Finn knows it. Many also think that it is the best coffee around. You can read about the history of the blend on the company website (in Finnish).

On the package, Paulig tells us that this coffee is (my translation) a ”fine and full-bodied” blend of 100% Arabicas from Central America, South America, and Africa. Nowadays, the blend is available in several different forms and roasts, but the classic version of Juhla mokka is roasted light (1/5), and comes in these 500 g ”bricks”, pre-ground for filter use. The company describes the flavor profile thus:

  • Body: 2/5
  • Acidity: 4/5
  • Aroma: 4/5

As I opened the bag, the coffee smelled like a basic grocery store Arabica. The aroma was somewhat fruity, and there might have been a hint of chocolateyness as well. Quite pleasant, actually.

While the blend was pre-ground with the filter machine user in mind, the grind size seemed to be suitable for AeroPress as well. That’s why I decided to brew it using the latter.

Regardless of the AeroPress recipe, the flavor was dominated by a ”high”, sharp acidity. It was not reminiscent of fruits, berries, or anything else I could think of. It just tasted acidic. Now, normally I’m OK with some acidity, especially if the body is full enough to balance out the flavor profile. Here, however, the midrange was pretty weak. There might have been some nutty and chocolatey notes here and there, but they seemed muted and hard to detect. Overall, the coffee felt kind of weak (diluted, even?) and sharp at the same time.

Many Juhla mokka fans have asked me whether I like this blend or not. Well, let me put it this way: I do not actually hate it. That said, it’s kind of hard for me to understand why so many Finns love this coffee so much. Of course, to each their own, right? Right. In my humble opinion, however, there are better options out there. If you want to get a good, light roasted coffee that’s readily available in the local supermarket, I would suggest you try Gran Dia from Arvid Nordquist.