Caffi Etiopia Natural—Just. Amazing.

Here’s the product that every Finnish coffee enthusiast has been talking about: ”Etiopia Natural” from Caffi, the artisan roastery based in Lahti, Finland.

It’s funny. It’s only a 10 minute walk from my house to the Caffi roastery, and yet I had tried only one of their blends (which was very good by the way).

But here we go! A multiple-award-winning product, Etiopia Natural is a gourmet coffee of an extremely high quality. On the label, the company states that it has nuances of kiwifruit and jasmin, and that there are hints of berry and citrus in the finish. They say that the mouthfeel is balanced and pleasantly rounded.

I would totally agree.

I brewed it in the AeroPress, using my favorite inverted method and the steel filter. The flavor profile was very complex and multifaceted, with all the flavors the company promises. The mouthfeel was light and extremely juicy. Put it like this: If a classic Arabica/Robusta espresso were a good French brandy, Etiopia Natural would be the best IPA you can get from your local artisan brewery. It was very fruity, almost hoppy.

As I was sampling Etiopia Natural, my daily coffee intake nearly tripled. I just wanted to have another cup. And then another. It’s that good.

Having said that, I agree with my friend who suggested that if you need a quick pick-me-up in the morning, Etiopia Natural might not be the best choice. Yes, in my opinion, too, a coffee this nuanced would be best enjoyed with a high quality dessert.

Etiopia Natural truly lives up to all the hype. It is very, very good. You can get all Caffi products from their stores or online. Do yourself a favor and check them out!

Rost & Co. Honduras Filter—Exactly what they promise

As you may have noticed, I have recently tried several blends from Rost & Co., the artisan roastery based in Helsinki, Finland. This is the last one I got for now: Honduras Filter.

On the bag the company offers the following information:

  • Origin: Honduras, Ocotepeque, Co-op Cocafelol.
  • Altitude: 1100–1750 meters.
  • Processing: washed.

As for the tasting notes, they state (again, my translation): Nutty, soft, cocoa-like.

That’s it! That is exactly what you get. I would say the nuttiness is probably the main player. It is accompanied by a pleasant, soft acidity and a hint of cocoa, or maybe even some milk chocolate. Flavor-wise, this blend is pretty simple and straightforward, but in a good way. Overall, it is well-rounded and medium-mild.

In my opinion, Honduras Filter would be an excellent blend to have first thing in the morning. It paired extremely well with my daily breakfast pancake.

Check it out! You can get this blend and other Rost & Co. products from Kaffecentralen.

Rost & Co. Piriste Filter—delicate choral lyricism

Today I’ve got a new coffee review for you, and the coffee which I will be reviewing is this: ”Piriste Filter” from Rost & Co.

On the bag, the company describes the product thus (my translation): ”Soft, balanced, round.” The ingredients are listed as follows (the country names are in Finnish):

20% Etiopia Yirgacheffe

20% Brasilia Daterra

40% Kolumbia Cundinamarca

I would add that the roast seemed to be medium, around 3/5.

In my opinion, ”soft, balanced, round” is a very fitting description of this blend. The mouthfeel was kind of creamy—a lot like the other Rost & Co. blends I’ve tried—, but also kind of juicy. The flavor profile was pretty multifaceted: On the one hand, there was some nuttiness. On the other hand, however, I got a soft, fruity and berry-like acidity as well. In my opinion, all of these elements were there in equal proportion. It was as if none of them had the courage to take the spotlight, but all of the them decided to stay further the back on the stage instead. It was like a choir where every singer was faithfully singing their part, softly, I would add, but no one had been appointed soloist. Therefore the music sounded—I mean the coffee tasted—complex, but a little subdued.

That’s fine! Sometimes, instead of listening to a powerful Italian tenor (my beloved Pascucci Golden Sack!), you just want to enjoy soft and delicate choral lyricism. If that’s what you want in a coffee, ”Piriste” is for you! While it didn’t exactly ”wow” me, I liked it quite a bit.

Check it out! Along with other Rost & Co. blends, you can get it from Kaffecentralen.

Kahwe Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Light Roast—another amazing mélange of flavors

So you’re looking for a light roasted coffee with lots of flavor and complexity? Look no further.

This is Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Light Roast from Kahwe.

Bella Elisabeth is a blend of washed Typica, Bourbon, Caturra and Pache from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. At roast level 1/5, this particular offering is the lightest version offered by Kahwe. On the label the company says that it’s acidic and multifaceted, with hints of black tea, and the fruitiness of coffee berries, red apple and guava.

As I first opened the bag and ground the beans, I knew I was going to like this a lot.

I doesn’t really matter whether you brew this in the moka pot of the AeroPress. Either way, it offers you quite a mélange of flavors. I detected the following:

  • black tea (not quite as pronouced as in the 3/5 version)
  • caramel
  • fresh, sweet, red apples (the first coffee I’ve ever had that makes you think of apples!)
  • red berries
  • baking spices (cinnamon, maybe?)
  • some milk chocolate or nougat
  • a small hint of licorice in the finish

Now, this may sound like a lot. However, all of these flavors have their own place. They are like siblings who live together in the same house, in perfect harmony. None of them overpowers the others, but everyone of them brings something different to the table. In other words, on the one hand, the flavor profile is really complex, and yet on the other hand, it’s very uniform.

Add to that the mouthfeel: so juicy it’s almost unbelieveable.

I probably don’t have to tell you that I like this blend very, very much.

So like I say, if you’re looking for a light roasted coffee with lots of flavor, look no further. Get yourself some Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Light Roast from Kahwe. It is just amazing.

Kahwe Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Medium Roast—full flavored and dry

Next up: Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Medium Roast from Kahwe.

I recently reviewed—and loved!—the dark roasted (4/5) version of this coffee. As I mentioned then, Bella Elisabeth is a blend of washed Typica, Bourbon, Caturra and Pache from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This particular version was roasted medium (3/5). On the label they say that the flavor is acidic and multifaceted, with hints of black tea, and the fruitiness of guava and raisins.

I found myself thinking that there were two sides to this version of the blend. On the one hand, there was a herbal or leaf-like side to it, which made me think of fermented, unflavored black tea—English Breakfast Tea from Nordqvist came to mind. This aspect was very prominent. It brought a certain dryness to the overall flavor profile. On the other hand, though, there was a caramelly side to it, too, the same one that was more apparent in the dark roasted version. I personally did not detect the fruity or raisinlike flavors, but that didn’t bother me at all. I really enjoyed the slightly drier and full flavored feel that this version had.

In my opinion, this medium roasted version of Bella Elisabeth was not quite as spectacular as the dark roasted one (which was just amazing!). But that’s just a matter of personal preference. Like its darker sibling, this was a high quality product. So, if you like your coffee full flavored and dry, Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Medium Roast is your choice. Get it from Kahwe!

Artisan Café Muchagara – AA—sweet rhubarb pie, just like mom made it

Wow. Just wow. Here’s another winner from the great Artisan Café, Helsinki.

Muchagara – AA.

This is what the roaster says about it:

In my estimation Muchagara – AA is roasted medium light, around 2/5. It also says ”Filter” on the label. Since I’m not a pour-over guy, really, I decided to brew it in my AeroPress. (Of course, I had to try it in my Moka pot, too!)

When I got this bag, I had high expectations, and for a good reason: the last product I got from Artisan Café – Red Guji – was probably one of the greatest coffees I had ever tasted.

As I opened the blue bag, I went: ”Berries, just like Red Guji. Oh wait, not berries. I’m smelling rhubarb. Rhubarb and baking spices.” This is pretty much the picture I had in my head as I was enjoying this coffee. The mouthfeel was very juicy. The taste was very fruity, in the rhubarb way. On the other hand, the spiciness made me think of cinnamon. These two aspects worked extremely well together. The whole thing reminded me of the traditional Scandinavian style sweet rhubarb pie my mom used to make when I was a kid.

I absolutely loved this coffee. I found myself brewing a cup after another.

Artisan Café produces some of the best coffees I have known. Granted, their products are not cheap. But they are worth every dime. So, if you happen to be in Helsinki, do yourself a favor and pay them a visit. You will not be disappointed.

Kahwe Guatemala Bella Elisabeth Dark Roast—truly excellent!

A couple of days ago, I received an exciting package: Mr. Joel Marttala, the master coffee roaster of Kahwe roastery (Tampere, Finland) was kind enough to send me some of their Guatemala Bella Elisabeth to try. Thank you so much!

Bella Elisabeth is a blend of washed Typica, Bourbon, Caturra and Pache from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. According to the company website, the blend is available in several different roasts. Mine was roasted dark (4/5). As it says on the label (my translation), this version has soft and lightly toasted flavors, with hints of caramel and dried fruits. They also tell us that the mouthfeel is ”thick.”

Now that sounds amazing.

And yes, that’s exactly what Guatemala Bella Elisabeth is like, too. I brewed it in my Moka pot and tried the AeroPress as well. Both gave me excellent results. The mouthfeel was slightly ”thick” and syrupy. Yummy. The sweet flavors of caramel and dried (or stewed?) fruits were quite prominent. But then there was also a cigar-like quality which was both sour and bitter. It balanced out the flavor profile nicely. When I say ”bitter,” I don’t mean that the blend tasted harsh. Oh no, not at all. The whole experience was very smooth. These three aspects—the caramel, the fruits, and the cigar—were present in equal proportion, and they worked extremely well together.

Let me put it like this: If Guatemala Bella Elisabeth was the only coffee I could have for the rest of my life, I would be a happy man indeed. I will have to head to the Kahwe website and get the lighter roasted versions as well.

If you haven’t already, you should check out Kahwe. Mr. Marttala really knows his craft. Thanks again!

Revisited: Arvid Nordquist Reko—I still like it a lot!

Recently, someone asked me: ”If you had to buy one pack of coffee at the supermarket, what would you get?” I immediately replied: ”Arvid Nordquist Reko.”

This is a blend that has gained massive popularity among Finnish coffee drinkers. I have also enjoyed it many, many times over the years.

As I thought about it, I suddenly realized: While I had gone through several packs of the pre-ground version of this blend, I had never bought it in beans. I just had to go to the supermarket and get it.

So, without further ado:

Revisited: Reko from the big Swedish coffee company Arvid Nordquist.

As the company tells us, Reko is a ”Dark, powerful & spicy” blend (my translation), made from ”100% quality Arabica beans.” On the bag, they also provide the following information: ”A clean, nutty aroma. A full-bodied flavour with a wide acidity. A spicy aftertaste with a hint of liquorice.” They also say:

  • Roasting: Dark (8/10)
  • Acidity: Wide (7/10)
  • Spiciness: Licorice (6/10)
  • Body: Rich (8/10)
  • Fruitiness: Black currant (6/10)
  • Nut chocolate: Dark chocolat (sic) (6/10)

All of this is pretty accurate, I would say.

Flavorwise, Reko is not the easiest blend to describe. On the one hand, it’s quite simple and ”one note.” On the other hand, though, it’s pretty complex. There’s a lot going on. I can detect the following flavors:

  • dark chocolate
  • vanilla
  • nuttiness
  • (baking?) spices
  • rootiness
  • licorice
  • creosote
  • leather
  • smokiness

On the whole, Reko is not particularly sweet. There are no dried fruit flavors (figs or raisins) to speak of. (If that’s what you are looking for, check out Pascucci Guatemala!) But Reko is not particularly dry, either. It never feels as if something is missing. It’s a very solid and full flavored blend.

One of the great things about Reko is that it’s really predictable, in a good way. It does exactly what you expect. Even different brewing methods do not alter the flavor profile significantly. They do alter the strength, obviously, but even then you can always tell that it’s your trusty old Reko. And by the way—surprisingly, perhaps—, it really doesn’t matter whether you get it in beans so that you can change the grind size, or just go with the pre-ground version. It doesn’t make a big difference, if you ask me.

If you really want to find out what this blend is about, brew it in a moka pot. Beware, you will feel it. I just love it that way. I have to say, though, that since Reko is pretty bold and big, after your third cup you might want to have something lighter for a change. But then you can try it in the regular coffee maker. It just works every time. Also, it’s great with the AeroPress. Very enjoyable.

Granted, Reko is not gourmet coffee, but then that’s not what it was created for. In my opinion, it is one of the very best grocery store coffees out there. I just won’t let you down. No wonder everyone likes it so much.

Hannover 96 Kaffee ”Melange Alte Liebe”—a great morning blend!

Our dear friends came back from Hannover, Germany, and brought me this: Hannover 96 Kaffee ”Melange Alte Liebe” by Hannoversche Kaffeemanufaktur.

This is a special coffee blended for Hannover 96, the 2. Bundesliga soccer club.

On the Hannoversche Kaffeemanufaktur website it says that the blend is made from the best highland Arabicas on the planet. The company tells us it is velvety, highly aromatic and has a smooth, soft fullness. I would add that it’s roasted medium light (around 2,5/5).

I knew this blend was created mainly for the French press, pour over, AeroPress or coffee machine user in mind. However, I decided to try it (you knew it) in my Bialetti Moka.

This is just great. Initially, Hannover 96 Kaffee seems pretty ordinary, but that’s exactly why it is so good. It’s medium full in body. It’s not very sweet. Rather, it’s quite bitter (not unlike Gran Dia by Arvid Nordqvist) and acidic. And yet it’s not harsh at all, but—just as they say—smooth and soft. There’s some tobacco in the taste as well. Every now and then I also get a tiny hint of juiciness of some kind. In my opinion, this is a fantastic pick-me-up in the morning. A true no-nonsense blend, it would work perfectly with your bacon and eggs. I like it a lot.

By the way, this blend has one of the sweetest room notes I’ve known: very caramelly, and slightly tobaccoey. It brings back a fond memory from my childhood: Me and my best friend T, running around in his garden. T’s father, pruning his berry bushes, clenching his French zulu pipe, and smiling at us. The sweet, toffee-like aroma of Clan pipe tobacco. Just awesome.

Oh boy, Hannover 96 Kaffee is great. Get it if you can!

Drop Coffee Roasters Samaichacha—fresh fruits and milk chocolate

Our friends moved back from Stockholm, Sweden, and brought us this: Samaichacha from Drop Coffee Roasters. Thank you so much!

Samaichacha is all about washed Caturra from Bolivia. On the label, the roastery provides the following information: ”A medium bodied cup, notes of crunchy pink apple and milk chocolate, with a floral hint. A lasting aftertaste and mouthfeel reminding of mature red wine.” The roast is medium-light at around 2/5.

As I ground the beans, I got a mouthwatering aroma of milk chocolate and fresh fruits, which made me think of some of the fantastic products from Turun Kahvipaahtimo.

I tried brewing the coffee in both my AeroPress (inverted, steel filter) and moka pot. Either way, I got a beautiful combination of juicy fruitiness (not as in the chewing gum, but in real fresh cut fruits) and milk chocolate. The fruitiness was always there, but the chocolate thing balanced it out nicely, and brought some nice higher midrange body to the flavor. Honestly, I didn’t detect any actual wine-like flavor, but the long finish did remind me of the way a good Merlot feels in the mouth.

Samaichacha is definitely a high quality product, no doubt about it. I really enjoyed it, especially in the morning. I guess I’ll have to crash at my brother’s place in Stockholm, and get some more!