E’s World Coffee ”Four . . . .”—The Perfect Morning Blend

This is my fourth blend from E’s World Coffee (Anchorage, AK). Coincidentally, it is also called Four . . . . On the company website, the product is described as follows:

Crafted for it’s floral aromas. This blend is a superb mix of Central and South American coffees roasted at a full city roast. It boasts, a complex range of flavors (black tea, dried fruit, brown sugar, hazelnut and milk chocolate). While having a medium overall body and delightful tastes with every sip.

The blend is roasted ”Blackish”. This is the lightest roast offered by the company. In my opinion, it is quite similar in darkness to many good Italian espresso blends. For a compact explanation of ”full city roast”, check out this article.

Since this coffee was created for the pour over/filter category, I did what I usually do: I used my AeroPress (several different recipes).

The mouthfeel was very similar to the one in the darker Three Head: extremely smooth and milky.

As for the flavors, I couldn’t have articulated it better; everything E’s World promised was there. Just like their other blends, Four . . . . provided (sorry for repeating myself!) a wonderful mélange of flavors. This time, however, the point was not to distiguish individual flavors from the whole profile. Instead, the blend was all about… well, the blend, or the collaboration of the flavors.

In my opinion, Four . . . . is the perfect morning coffee. It is moderately complex, yet simple enough to work well in those early hours when your palate has not woken up yet. It is a delicious midrange-forward mixture that will not force you to think too much. It is medium robust, yet mild enough not to punch you in the face. It provides everything I want in my morning cup. Truly excellent!

Now, show some love to E’s World Coffee and order some of their fantastic blends! You will be happy you did!

Lastly, I want to offer my gratitude to the master roaster Earnest Rawlins and his good wife for giving me the opportunity to taste these great coffees. Thank you!

E’s World Coffee ”Three Head”—solid American coffee… and more!

Oh, this is great: Another generous package from E’s World Coffee (Anchorage, Alaska)! This time, the award winning master roaster Earnest Rawlings and his wife sent me two of their lighter roasted coffees. As some of you may remember, I absolutely loved the previous two blends I got from them. One Grouphead and Two Group easily made my list of Top 10 Coffees of 2020. Naturally, I was pretty excited to receive some of their other products. Thank you so much!

So, here’s the first one: Three Head. On their website, E’s World describe this coffee as follows:

A blend of Central American coffee crafted to delight the taste buds. The flavors of cocoa and roasted almonds, hazelnut and brown sugar with medium body, rich flavor and smooth follow through. This #3, was blended for manual brewing, auto drip, French press, pour overs and Cold brew. It absolutely shines using the auto drip method. Enjoyed to be brewed as a good rounded, cup of coffee. (No milk or sugar necessary) 😉

Briefly, this is exactly what you get.

I should also mention that the blend is categorized ”Black”. As I’ve mentioned earlier, E’s World Coffee products come in four degrees of roast: ”Blackish”, ”Black”, ”Blacker”, and ”Blackest”. So, Three Head is the second lightest roast offered by the company. Even so, it is quite dark indeed.

Since I don’t really use the auto-drip machine, I tried brewing the coffee in my AeroPress. Here’s what I found out:

Yes, the body was medium. The mouthfeel was very smooth and milky.

What about the flavor? Initially, I thought that Three Head is just solid black coffee in the American style. While it was very enjoyable, it felt a lot like a straightforward all day blend—not unlike some products by Seattle’s Best Coffee or Starbucks (without the ”Starbucks note”, of course). After a couple of cups, however, I started to realize how complex it actually was. Three Head offered a wonderful mélange of flavors: roasted almonds, nuts, some cocoa, and perhaps a hint of bitter chocolate—talk about ”Central American” flavors! There might have been a tiny hint on vanilla and baking spices as well.

In this way, Three Head was a lot like some medium to dark roasted filter coffees made by my favorite Japanese coffee companies. It actually reminded me of Blend 3 Original by Ogawa Coffee (小川珈琲). (Both blends are numbered ”three”!) If you ask me, Three Head might be a big hit among Japanese lovers of solid black coffee.

I loved every single cup!

Now, hurry up to the E’s World Coffee website and order some Three Head! You will be sure to feel their love for excellent coffee!

My top 10 coffees of 2020

In 2020, I got to enjoy at least 73 different coffee blends or single origin coffees from 12 different countries and 33 companies. Now it’s time to wrap up the year by listing the very best products!

While I had the opportunity to try all kinds of coffees, all of the products that made my top 10 list were unflavored high-end coffees. That said, I included one flavored coffee and one grocery store blend into the ”Honorable Mentions” category.

Like last year, the products were so different from each other that it wouldn’t have been fair to compare them with each other. Therefore, instead of ranking the coffees, I organized them into three categories according to the approximate roast level (dark, medium, and light). Of course, the darkness of a roast is a subjective matter. It is also probably not the best way to categorize coffee products. Obviously, there are so many other factors that affect the flavors. However, I wasn’t able to come up with a better way to list the coffees. So, in each of the three categories, I presented the coffees in alphabetical order according to the company name. The resulting list can be thought of as a pool of excellent coffees. You can pick any product you want and end up enjoying a truly memorable experience.

I used two different brewing methods. Espresso coffees were brewed in my three cup Bialetti Moka pot. On the other hand, the coffees that were intended for other brewing methods I prepared in my AeroPress, with my favorite inverted method and a paper filter. I used no additives.

So, here we go. My top 10 coffees of 2020:

Dark roast:

Medium roast:

Light roast:

You could not go wrong with any of these coffees. Unfortunately, some of these products might already be out of stock. If that is the case, you could check out any product from these great roasteries. They really know what they do.

Lastly, there were three blends that did not make the top 10 list but still deserve to be mentioned.

Honorable mentions:

  • Hamwi Café Classic—the best flavored coffee (cardamom) (United Arab Emirates)
  • Loumidis Papagalos (ΛΟΥΜΙΔΗΣ ΠΑΠΑΓΑΛΟΣ)—the best Greek grocery store coffee (Greece)
  • Paulig Presidentti Gold Label—the best Finnish grocery store coffee (Finland)

Special thanks to everyone at Cafetoria Roastery, E’s World Coffee, Kahwe, Mokafina, Muki, and Rob Beans Coffee for making this possible!

Now it’s time for me to take a small break and enjoy some great blends I recently received from the USA. I’ll be back in early January to tell you about them!

Happy New Year!

Paulig ”Christmas Coffee”—semi-sweet cinnamon rolls!

The other day, as I went Christmas shopping, I got this: Christmas Coffee from Paulig, the Finnish coffee giant. Nice! I had never had it before.

On the bag, Paulig does not give away a lot of information about the product. The description is pretty concise:

A delicious coffee blend, flavoured with real cinnamon and cardamom. This secret recipe, particularly for Christmas, has been perfected by our years of experience.

Other than that, the company only reveals that the roast level is 3/5. Oh yes, the symbols on the bag do indicate that the (pre-ground) product is intended for filter coffee machines or French press. Of course, I decided to make it in my AeroPress. It worked really well with my trusty plastic tube!

The bag note was very pleasant and natural. There was absolutely nothing artificial to it. The aroma was reminiscent of traditional Scandinavian cinnamon rolls and gingerbread cookies.

I could be wrong (?), but to me, Christmas Coffee appeared to be made of 100% Arabica beans (from Latin America?). That’s the way it felt, anyway. Whereas many flavored coffee products seem to be quite mild, Christmas Coffee was medium-full in body.

The flavor was naturally sweet and slightly bitter. While there might have been some midrange nuttiness to it, I found myself mostly thinking of fresh baked semi-sweet cinnamon rolls, spiced up with a hint of black pepper. The whole thing was bready, bakery-like, and somewhat spicy. I found myself enjoying it in the morning, and multiple times during the day. It was really good!

Get a bag of Paulig Christmas Coffee from your local supermarket, and see if you like it too! Merry Christmas!

Mokkamestarit Vanilla coffee—Vanilla… and more!

Here’s yet another coffee from Mokkamestarit Coffee Roasting Co. (Tampere, Finland). The name, Wanhanajan vaniljakahvi, is difficult to translate exactly. Basically, it refers to vanilla coffee as it used to be in the olden days.

So, this is coffee with added flavoring. On the their website, Mokkamestarit elaborate that it tastes like vanilla cream. They also reveal that the roast level is 1/5. Obviously, the coffee is pre-ground. Other than that, there is little information on the blend.

First, let me confess: I have no idea what vanilla coffee might have tasted like in the past. Therefore, I can only compare this product with other flavored coffees that are available now.

That said, as soon as I opened the bag, I was greeted by an aroma I remember smelling as a kid. It’s a faint memory. I’m entering a confectionery store with my mom. The mouthwatering mélange of aromas: chocolate, fresh licorice, cakes, coffee, baking spices… Lovely!

I used my AeroPress for brewing this coffee. Perhaps the grind size could have been a little coarser, but it worked reasonably well with my trusty plastic tube.

Due to the added flavoring, it was somewhat difficult to tease out the flavors of the actual coffee that went into this product. I think the basic flavor profile consisted of midrange notes of chocolate, (hazel?) nuts, and a small hint of tobacco.

But what about the added flavoring? I detected some vanilla, for sure, but there was more to it. Licorice and anise? Chocolate and cream? Obviously, it could also be that the vanilla flavor accentuated the chocolatey flavors of the coffee. I’m not sure! In addition to these flavors, however, I couldn’t help but think that there was something artificial to the topping: both the flavor and the mouthfeel reminded me of glycerol. No, I’m saying it was unpleasant. It just did not feel very natural, either.

All in all, Wanhanajan vaniljakahvi was not unlike the Hawaiian blend I had a year ago, Hazelnut Coffee by Lion Coffee. Obviously, both the flavoring and the coffee itself were different. However, the overall vibe was very similar: medium mild Arabica coffee with a generous helping of added (not only natural?) flavoring. If that’s what you like, you might want to try it out! You can get it from the Mokkamestarit online store.

Lehmus Roastery ”Kettu-kahvi” w/cardamom & cinnamon!

Here’s the second offering from the Lehmus Roastery line of seasonal coffees: Kettu-kahvi, flavored with cardamom and cinnamon.

As far as I understand, this product is based on the same exact coffee as the unflavored Kettu-kahvi medium roast I reviewed a few days ago: Yellow Bourbon Arabica from Fazenda I.P., Brazil. Also, both the unflavored and the flavored versions are roasted medium (3/5 on the Lehmus scale). The only difference between these two products seems to be that this present coffee comes pre-ground, and is blended with some extra spices.

The bag note was just mouthwatering. It made me think of sweet cinnamon rolls and Christmas cookies. There was nothing artificial about it. I am almost certain that Lehmus used only natural baking spices for flavoring.

The grind size appeared to be suitable for regular coffee machines. With that being said, it worked very well with the Bialetti Moka pot. Granted, my AeroPress would have benefited from a coarser grind. Nevertheless, I was able to make some nice coffee with that particular gadget as well.

But how did it taste? Simply put, it was just delicious! I will not repeat what I said earlier about the basic flavor profile. You can read about it from my previous review. The coffee-to-flavoring ratio was excellent: There was just enough cardamom and cinnamon to give this coffee a special seasonal character. Even so, the added spices never overpowered the unique characteristics of the Brazilian coffee. The flavors of the coffee and spices worked extremely well together, and formed a unified whole.

For some strange reason, this flavored version of the Yellow Bourbon Arabica did not feel quite as strong as the unflavored version. Honestly, I’m not sure why that is. Usually, I would opt for something with a little more oomph to it—something like, say, Hamwi Café Classic, the great Turkish/Arabic coffee with cardamom flavoring. But that’s just me. For most people who want high quality Arabica coffee with some seasonal flavoring, Kettu-kahvi with cardamom and cinnamon would probably be the perfect option.

Go to the Lehmus Roastery website and get yourself some! You will not be disappointed!

Lehmus Roastery ”Kettu-kahvi” medium roast—Just fantastic!

As winter is upon us, it is good to stock up on some seasonally appropriate coffees. This time, I wanted to try out the Kettu-kahvi (Finnish for ”Fox Coffee”) line of seasonal coffees produced by the award winning Lehmus Roastery (Lappeenranta, Finland). The line consists of three coffees, all of which are made of naturally processed Yellow Bourbon Arabica beans from Fazenda I.P., Brazil.

The first one is the medium roasted version, 3/5 on the Lehmus scale. On the label, the coffee is described as soft and full-bodied. The aromas are said to be nutty and chocolatey.

Since there were no specific instructions on how to brew the coffee, I used the usual suspects, my good old Bialetti Moka and the AeroPress.

Either way, I loved it to bits!

In the bouquet, I got caramel or toffee, some sweet licorice, and nuttiness. The mouthfeel was very soft and round. There was some of that signature Lehmus creaminess as well. The body was somewhere between medium and medium full.

Now, the flavor profile was just amazing: On the one hand, Kettu-kahvi medium roast was not the most full-flavored coffee you’ll ever try. Instead, it was well-behaved and ”medium” enough to be enjoyed on any occasion. At the same time, however, it was quite flavorful. It was the perfect mix of three things: semi-bitter nuttiness, milk chocolate, and licorice. The way the chocolatey flavors were mixed with the licorice notes reminded me of the classic English Liquorice allsorts I used to love as a kid—only less sweet, and, obviously, without the coconut essence. There was also just enough acidity to balance out the naturally sweet flavors.

Even the empty cup smelled amazing: caramel and sweet American burley pipe tobacco.

Oh wow, I just loved it!

Hurry up! Get yourself some Kettu-kahvi keskipaahto (medium roast) from Lehmus Roastery. You will be happy you did!

Muki ”Töölö-kahvi”—both exquisite and rustic

Töölö-kahvi is the other blend I recently received from Muki, the Helsinki based gourmet coffee store. Like Muki-kahvi, their great everyday blend, Töölö-kahvi is blended and roasted for the company by Holmen Coffee, Helsinki.

Both the label and the Muki web shop site offer little information on the blend. Basically, we are just told that it is medium roasted coffee. But as I wrote earlier, I think that’s kind of cool. Let the product speak for itself!

I was told that this coffee would work well with the French press. Now, while I do own a French press, I prefer to use my AeroPress instead. So, as I always do, I ground the beans medium coarse, and followed my favorite AeroPress recipe.

First things first: I really enjoyed this blend. That said, it took me a couple of days to figure out how to articulate what it tasted like.

In my opinion, there were three levels to the flavor profile:

  1. The high end of the flavor spectrum was dominated by the pleasant acidity and natural sweetness of fresh, exotic fruits. If I try to describe the flavor in terms of color, it felt yellow and light green. This was the easy part.
  2. In the midrange, I detected a tiny hint of semi-sweet chocolate.
  3. Lastly, in the baritone department, there was this savory quality, which I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first. Ultimately, I decided that it was a bready, bakery-like flavor. More specifically, it made me think of sourdough, perhaps even Finnish rye bread.

Now, I’ll admit that this may sound like a funny combination. But let me tell you: I found it to be very, very pleasant. While the flavor profile was mostly fruity, on the one hand, and savory, on the other, there was just enough sweetness as well. Furthermore, it was both exquisite and rustic at the same time. Whether I tried to tease out the subtle flavors, or if I just enjoyed a cup while thinking about other things, Töölö-kahvi was enjoyable either way.

If that sounds like your cup of tea (coffee?), visit the Muki B&M store in Helsinki, or go to their web shop, and get some. I can highly recommend it!

Lastly, a big thank you to Muki and Holmen Coffee for some great coffees! I had a lot of fun reviewing them!

Muki ”Muki-kahvi”—”Scandinavian” coffee made better!

Last week, I made my first visit to Muki (Finnish for ”mug”), Helsinki, the cool brick and mortar store that specializes in high quality coffee, tea, chocolate, and other related delicacies. They offer a nice selection of interesting coffees, ranging from classic Italian espressos to the exquisite products of several Finnish micro roasteries.

As for me, I wanted to try the coffees blended and roasted for Muki by Holmen Coffee, the Helsinki based artisan roastery. The man in charge, Ari-Matti, was kind enough to offer me both of these blends to try. Thank you so much!

The first one is this: Muki-kahvi. Now, on the label, there is little information on the ingredients. The Muki website, too, only reveals that this is a dark roasted (level 4/5) ”city coffee”. That’s kind of cool. I mean, let the product speak for itself!

Since I was told that this coffee was made with the regular coffee machine user in mind, I decided to try it in my AeroPress. I generally don’t use a coffee machine anyway. Oh, as you can probably guess, I used my favorite AeroPress recipe for brewing.

First off, the mouthfeel of Muki-kahvi was quite light and juicy. Even so, the body was not weak by any means. Perhaps ”medium” would be the word to describe it.

The flavor profile was quite interesting. Admittedly, after the first sip I went: ”OK, this is like… regular coffee.” But after a couple of cups, I started to get it. The juiciness of the mouthfeel made me think of (red?) berries. Surprisingly, though, there were no berry flavors to be detected. Instead, I got

  • nutty bitterness
  • caramel
  • dried fruits

These midrange flavors, mixed with some ”soft” acidity made for a very pleasant combination. On the one hand, Muki-kahvi was pleasantly bitter, which made it a good choice for my morning cup. On the other hand, the blend had enough natural sweetness to balance out the bitterness. This resulted in a flavor profile that was robust enough, yet quite soft and pleasant.

Apparently, Muki-kahvi was not created to knock your socks off with exotic flavors. Instead, its purpose appears to be to satisfy the regular coffee lover on any occasion. This is exactly what it does, and it does it really well. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes the classic Finnish or Swedish grocery store blends but wishes to have something better.

Pay a visit to Muki and get yourself some Muki-kahvi! In addition to the cool brick and mortar store, the good folks at Muki have recently opened their new web store, too. Check them out!

E’s World Coffee ”Two Group”—the epitome of DARK roasted coffee

If you read my last review, you could tell that I loved the dark roasted One Grouphead blend sent to me by Mr. Earnest Rawlins, the award winning roast master of E’s World Coffee (Anchorage, AK). My second blend from E’s World is this: Two Group. On the company website, the blend is described as follows:

A blend of South and Central American coffee focusing on the nuttiness and cacao characteristics of the beans. Making a bold, full bodied blend of hazelnut, caramel, vanilla and dark sweet chocolate. Best enjoyed as an espresso, but never limited.

On the bag, the roast level was categorized as ”Blackest”—the darkest roast made by E’s World Coffee. Indeed, the beans were very dark and oily.

As usual, I brewed the coffee in my Bialetti Moka pot.

In the bouquet I detected dark chocolate, molasses, some cinnamon, and perhaps a tinge of hyacinth-like florality. The aroma was absolutely mouthwatering. Somehow, it made me think of Christmas. It also made me anticipate a flavor profile that’s both bold and well-behaved.

So, how did it taste? Two Group was more dark chocolate forward than the slightly lighter One Grouphead. That said, it was no chocolate bomb. The chocolatey aspect was balanced out by a very pleasant spicy piquancy that made me think of pine needles. Add to that the midrange sweetness of molasses, and a higher vanilla note in the finish, and you get the picture.

Again, the mouthfeel was extremely smooth and creamy. The big, bold flavors were always there, but instead of being in your face, they were polite enough to come in after the pleasant introduction made by the mouthfeel.

In Two Group, Mr. Rawlins has created a true masterpiece. It is both dark, bold, and potent AND very well-behaved, and sophisticated. While I usually seem to gravitate towards lighter roasted coffee, Two Group certainly made me reconsider my position about dark roasted coffee. It must be one of the most pleasant black blends I’ve had to date. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

If you like very dark roasted espresso, you have to try Two Group. Do yourself a favor and order some from E’s World Coffee!