Tyyliniekka Sprezzatura Kahwe—This. Is. Amazing.

As many of you already know, one of my favorite coffee companies in Finland is the Tampere-based Kahwe Roastery.

Recently, the Kahwe CEO and master roaster, Joel Marttala collaborated with Tyyliniekka, the Finnish online lifestyle magazine, to create an exciting new gourmet coffee. In the process, they consulted Uuttaja, the well-known coffee and tea expert, who lent his expertise in the effort to fine-tune the product. As a result of their meticulous work, Tyyliniekka Sprezzatura Kahwe was born.

Mr. Marttala was generous enough to send me some of this new coffee to try. Thank you so much!

Now, as thousands of Finns know, Tyyliniekka creates a lot of exciting content about high-end watches, cars, apparel, interior design, lifestyle in general, and—yes!—coffee. It seems fitting that their new signature coffee should be made of only the very best ingredients.

Indeed, Tyyliniekka Sprezzatura Kahwe is a blend of washed Castillo and Geisha from Huila, Colombia. The roast level is 3/5. On the label, the company states that this coffee has a sweet and slightly toasted flavor, with nutty and fruity nuances.

First things first: I loved everything about this coffee. That said, I venture to offer a small gloss to the tasting notes provided by Kahwe. In what follows, I will offer my personal opinion about the aroma and flavor profile.

As I opened the bag, I immediately thought of herbs. Mediterranean herbs, to be exact, such as basil, or oregano. While I’m not sure that this serves as an accurate depiction of the aroma, this is the image that came to my mind every time I smelled this coffee. While I also detected some of the familiar nuttiness of Colombian beans, this was not a major component of the aroma.

Whether I brewed Sprezzatura in my AeroPress or used my trusty old Bialetti Moka, the flavor profile remained the same. Obviously, with the moka pot, the flavors were more pronounced.

Flavor-wise, Sprezzatura was extremely well-balanced. To me, the high-end of the spectrum was reminiscent of Italian tomato sauce, spiced up with a generous helping of basil or oregano. Mind you, the coffee did not taste like tomato sauce, but that’s the association I made. That’s quite a statement coming from someone who loves Italian cuisine more than anything. The acidity was soft—think of olive oil based tomato sauce that has been cooked for an hour or so. The midrange, on the other hand, was dominated by a semi-sweet caramelly aroma, and some nuttiness. Lastly, the finish revealed a very small hint of tobacco, and some vanilla. Even so, this coffee was definitely on the savory side of the flavor spectrum. I found it to be extremely pleasant.

In short, the new Tyyliniekka Sprezzatura Kahwe is just amazing. It is easily the best Colombian coffee I’ve ever had. It will be on my list of Top 10 Coffees of 2020, for sure. I highly recommend you check it out. You can start by reading the story of this coffee on the Tyyliniekka website (in Finnish). After that, do yourself a favor and order a bag or two from Kahwe Roastery while supplies last! You will be pleased you did.

Again, a big thank you to Kahwe Roastery for giving me the opportunity to experience this masterpiece. Keep up the great work!

Bellarom Colombia—mediocre at most

Here’s Bellarom Colombia, a 100% Arabica coffee from Lidl, the German supermarket chain.

On the bag, the company describes the product thus:

Cultivated exclusively at a high altitude in rich volcanic soils, these beans are harvested at their optimum ripeness. Medium roasted, with a rich, elegant aroma and a full-bodied finish.

They also tell us that the ”strength”—whatever that means—is 5 on the scale of 10.

Briefly, there is little positive I can say about this product.

Yes, the aroma of the beans—whole and ground—was quite OK. As you would expect from Colombian coffee, there were notes of nuts and chocolate.

In my humble opinion, however, Colombia did not taste good. Indeed, it was pretty full-bodied and flavorful. Curiously, though, I was unable to detect the actual flavors. Yes, the nuttiness and the chocolate might have been there in the background. Mostly, however, I got a harsh, mediocre Arabica flavor.

I will not buy this coffee again.

I’m not sure I can finish the bag.

If you want to enjoy good Colombian coffee, do not waste your money into this product. Get some Pascucci Colombia instead!

Bellarom Ethiopian Sidamo—Better than the others, but still…

QUESTION: What are the most read coffee reviews on this website?
ANSWER: The reviews on Bellarom and Italiamo coffees from Lidl, the German supermarket chain.

OK, I’ll give you some more! This review is on Bellarom Ethiopian Sidamo. On the bag it says:

This coffee comes mainly from the southern province of Sidamo in Ethiopia – from the origin of coffee. This coffee from high-altitudes convinces with its intensive flavour, low acidity and spicy, fruity and floral aroma.

They also describe the aroma and flavor thus: ”Fruity, Spicy Aroma with a Flowery Flavour”. Furthermore, the ”strength”—whatever that means (flavor? caffeine? darkness of roast?)—is said to be 6 on the scale of 10.

For an inexpensive coffee like this (9,98 € / kg), the bag note was surprisingly good. It was exactly what the company promised: fruity, spicy, and floral.

As I brewed the coffee in my Bialetti Moka pot, I noticed that in addition to the features mentioned above, the bouquet was dominated by a sweet, caramelly aroma. (Can an aroma be sweet? Well, you probably see what I mean.)

The flavor profile, however, was a little disappointing. The main notes were caramel, baking spices, and baking cocoa. There might have been a tiny hint of fruitiness as well, but it was really hard to detect. The floral notes were absent altogether. That said, the finish was nice. It reminded me of the rich nuttiness of American burley pipe tobacco. The mouthfeel was semi-creamy and pleasant as well.

Like other Bellarom blends, Ethiopian Sidamo left me with mixed feelings. Yes, it was relatively flavorful. At the same time, the flavors were kind of nondescript, resulting in a flavor profile that was a little… meh. I’m not saying it was bad, but in my opinion, it wasn’t particularly interesting, either. It really didn’t highlight the fruity and floral qualities of Sidamo beans. Maybe that’s the price you’ll have to pay for inexpensive coffee.

I will say one thing, though: Ethiopian Sidamo was better than the other Bellarom blends I’ve had in the past. But if your local Lidl happens to be carrying their Italiamo coffees (made in Italy!), I would opt for those instead. Their quality is considerably higher.

Revisited: Kahiwa Galeh Natural

One year ago, I reviewed Galeh from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, Lahti, Finland.

If you read my review, you can tell that I liked it a lot.

I wanted to see if I still liked it as much as I did last year. So, as I happened to visit the Kahiwa coffee shop recently, I decided to pick up a new bag of Galeh.

The product seems to be pretty much as I remember it. It is all about naturally processed Heirloom from Ethiopia.

The company appears to have changed a couple of things, however. Not only has the packaging changed, but also the name has been revised, with the addition of the adjective ”Natural”. Tasting notes are slightly different as well. Last year, they said that the coffee tasted like rowanberry, rosehip, and nougat—which it did. This time, however, the notes read as follows (my translation): ”Raspberry, nougat, jamlike”. Lastly, whereas the roast level used to be 2/5, it is now 1/5. In any case, the roast is very light.

What was it like, then? Oh, it was very, very good! My comments from last year still hold true:

Galeh has two different aspects to it. On the one hand, there is this ”soft,” slightly nutty and sweet nougat flavor (yes, it’s definitely nougat, not milk chocolate). On the other hand, there is the acidic flavor of some kind of red berries. These two aspects work together perfectly. The finish is medium long and nougaty. Absolutely delicious.

As far as the strength and body are concerned, Galeh is on the lighter side. At the same time, though, there is nothing weak about it. It is light enough to be a good breakfast coffee (macchinetta or even AeroPress), but full-bodied enough to satisfy the hard core espresso man after a big meal (macchinetta/espresso).

If you like light roasted Ethiopian, you owe it to yourself to check out Galeh Natural. You can get it from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters!

Arcaffè Meloria—a classic Italian A/R espresso

This time, I’m reviewing Meloria, an honest espresso made in the Italian way by Arcaffè (Livorno, Italy). It is a classic blend, comprising 75% Arabicas, and 25% Robusta.

Again, there’s a description on the bag:

Meloria is named after the shallows of Meloria, made of rocks arising 2 miles in front of Livorno. It’s made of estate coffees only (75% Arabica) and created for those who prefer a strong taste. It produces thick and long-lasting cream. The high percentage of unwashed coffee makes it a full-bodied blend.

The company also states that the blend is ”Strong, Complete”. The familiar graph describes the flavor profile thus:

In my opinion, these statements hold true—for the most part, at least.

As I brewed Meloria in my Bialetti Moka, I immediately detected the familiar Robusta notes: the bouquet was vanilla-y, and slightly floral.

The mouthfeel reminded me of the other Arcaffè blends I’ve had: It was smooth and creamy, but pretty light, almost juicy. Very nice!

What about the flavor profile? Despite the smoothness of the blend, there was a classic ”Italian” bitterness that seemed to ”come from within the blend”. Try to imagine a big, soft (rubber?) ball with a silky smooth surface, and a hard core, and you may get a picture of ”where” the bitterness was ”located” in the blend. (Please bear with me, these things are quite difficult to describe, even in Finnish, my native language!) Anyway, the vanilla flavor was pretty noticeable, but then there was also a deep chocolate note, accompanied with some of that florality. None of these flavors was super dominant. Rather, they were very nicely balanced.

To sum up, out of the four Arcaffè espressos I’ve had, Meloria was probably the most traditional. While it didn’t offer any big suprises, it was very enjoyable, to the point where it made me dream of my next trip to Italy.

In Finland, you can get Arcaffè blends from Crema, Helsinki. I highly recommend you do so!

Arcaffè Gorgona—An amazingly good Italian espresso

In these past days, I’ve returned to what I really like: espresso blends from Arcaffè, Livorno, Italy. This time, I’ll give you my thoughts on Gorgona, their Arabica/Robusta espresso blend.

On the back of the bag, the company states:

Gorgona, named after one of the Tuscan Archipelago’s islands located in front of Livorno, is blended with single estate coffees: two kinds of Arabica (85%) coming from Brazil and two washed Indian coffees: an Arabica and a Robusta (selected for and by CSC). it’s perfect for who prefers definite taste [sic!].

From this description one gets the impression that in addition to the 85% of Arabica, the remaining 15% consists of both Arabica and Robusta. However, on the label it says that there is 85% Arabican and 15% Robusta. Be that as it may, I’m interested in the flavor profile! And there is some information on that too:

Of course, I had to brew Gorgona in my Italian coffee maker numero uno, the Bialetti Moka.

Right off the bat, I could tell that the quality of the coffee was very high. (What else would you expect from a traditional company like Arcaffè?). The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, and yet pretty light at the same time.

The flavor was moderately complex. I detected the following notes:

  • very nice bitterness—this is not to say that the blend was harsh in any way; rather, the bitterness seemed to come ”from within” the flavor profile
  • a tiny hint of pine needles
  • cinnamon
  • dried figs
  • liquorice

As was the case with Arcaffè Roma, here too the overall experience was quite unique: Gorgona was kind of fullbodied and masculine (well, it’s Italian espresso!) on the one hand, and light, sophisticated and almost juicy on the other. In this way, it offered the best of both worlds, and yet the whole thing felt very much ”together”. This seems to be an Arcaffè trademark; I’ve never experienced anything like it in other Italian coffees. I really, really like it! Lastly, I should also mention that the liquorice flavor was only barely detectable in the finish. So, even if you don’t like liquorice, I don’t think you would be offended by this blend.

As you can guess, I can highly recommend Arcaffè Gorgona. Like its sister blends, it is an amazingly good Italian espresso! In Finland, you can get it—and other Arcaffè products—from the good folks at Crema, Helsinki.

Greek espresso—Uh oh.

This is a bag of Greek espresso that I found in my local Oriental grocery store. I love Greek coffee, so I just had to buy it.

I wish I didn’t.

From the moment I cut the bag open, I knew I was in trouble. I could tell it was a basic straight Arabica, but it mainly smelled like an old warehouse.

Since it was a Greek product, I tried to brew it in my briki. No, no. Too coarse. It also didn’t taste good. I decided to give it another try in my moka pot.

Uh oh. Try to imagine having liquid cardboard boxes and shipping packaging tape. Add to that a tiny bit of bitter Arabica flavor, and you’ll get the picture.

This is probably the first time in my life that I’ll have to discard almost 500 g of coffee. It is totally undrinkable.

Arcaffè Mokacrema—smooth & full-bodied straight Arabica

Here’s Mokacrema, my second blend from Arcaffè, Livorno, Italy.

On the bag, the company describes the coffee as follows:

Mokacrema is a prized coffee blend produced by our company since 1949, made of 100% C. arabica with a high percentage of coffees coming from high ground estates of Central America and Ethiopia.

This time, the Arcaffè graph showed us this:

I think this is a pretty accurate description.

As was the case with Arcaffè Roma, here too the mouthfeel was pretty smooth and rich. Mokacrema was slightly more acidic, though—and that in a very pleasant way. The acidity was mostly apparent in the high end of the flavor spectrum, which was floral and citrusy, just as promised. But then, to balance out the flavor profile, the midrange was malty and honey-like. Even then, the overall experience was not too sweet, in my opinion. Lastly, in the lower midrange I detected a very pleasant, almost earthy and slightly bitter layer of baking spices.

At first sip, Arcaffè Mokacrema might not have been as mind-blowing as its sibling blend, Roma. However, after several cups, I started to appreciate it for what it is: a very good, smooth, yet full-bodied straight Arabica espresso, made in the traditional Italian way.

If you love true Italian coffee, you should try Arcaffè Mokacrema! In Finland, you can get Arcaffè blends from Crema, Helsinki.

Arcaffè Roma—Italy at her best

If you’re like me and love Italian coffee, you should try the espressos blended by Arcaffè, the traditional coffee company in Livorno, Italy. I recently got four of them, and here’s the first one: Arcaffè Roma.

On the bag, the coffee is described thus:

Complex
Sweet

Roma is a fusion of multiple Arabica coffees, originating from Brazil and high ground estates in Central America, Ethiopia and India. This blend has been produced without alteration (apart from wartime) since 1926.

Talk about a long tradition! I like that.

There’s also a cool graph:

The aroma of the ground beans was definitely caramelly, and cocoa-like.

The body was smooth and rich, and yet the mouthfeel seemed to be on the lighter side, ”medium” at most. Actually, Roma felt almost juicy in the mouth—an unexpected experience indeed, considering that this is a no-nonsense Italian espresso blend. And yes, the acidity was ”medium”, at least no more than that.

The flavor was medium full. The overall experience was caramelly and cocoa-like, and there was some of that natural, nutty sweetness of American burley tobacco leaf as well. All of these flavors were in perfect balance.

Even the aroma of the emptly cup was great. It evoked a memory from my childhood:

– – A cool summer evening in the Finnish archipelago. I’m standing in the garden of my friend’s house, watching his dad tend his lovely rose bushes. The sweet and caramelly aroma of his aromatic pipe tobacco. – –

Back to Arcaffè Roma: I loved everything about it! Roma is Italian straight arabica espresso at its best. It is flavorful, but very well balanced. It will satisfy the hard core espresso lover, but it will do so very gently. I can’t say how much I loved it.

If you haven’t tried Arcaffè Roma, you are missing out! In Finland, you can get Arcaffè blends from the coffee experts at Crema, Helsinki.

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

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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.