Kahiwa Capricornio—a big espresso from Brazil

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Capricornio is a big, full-bodied espresso from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, Lahti, Finland.

The description on the label is quite brief. The company only states that this is a smooth Brazilian coffee with low acidity. The beans are grown in an altitude of 600 m. They are honey processed, and roasted dark (4+/5). As for tasting notes, they say this: nuts, caramel, and mocha brownies.

It was obvious that I would brew this in my Bialetti Moka, exclusively.

Right off the bat, it was clear that this was not supposed to be a super multifaceted coffee. While the flavor profile was not exactly monochromatic, it was simple, bold, and masculine. Sometimes that’s exactly what is called for! In my opinion, the midrange nuttiness was the main player. In the baritone section, I detected the pleasant sourness of cigar leaf. There might have been some brownie-like flavors, and a hint of caramelly sweetness as well, but overall, Capricornio was more on the dry side.

If that’s what you like, you should check it out! You can get Capricornio from the Kahiwa website!

Kahiwa Galeh Washed—like mom’s rhubarb pie

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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

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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

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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!

Cafetoria Mitad del Corazon—like a quality red wine

davHere’s another fantastic product from Cafetoria Roastery: Mitad del Corazon, an organic coffee whose origin is in La Coipa, Peru. The roast is dark (3/5).

As I always do with ”espresso” coffees, I brewed this in my Bialetti Moka pot. Here’s what I thought about it.

This coffee is exactly what the company promises on the label. You get ”[o]ak, Porto wine, figs”. It is ”creamy”, and has ”profound acidity”.

Now, in many coffees, acidity seems like a separate feature along with the flavors. In Mitad del Corazon, however, the acidity is an intergral part of what you’re tasting. It is very much like semi dry red wine with a full body. I was reminded of some pinot noirs I’ve enjoyed in the past. I definitely got the dried figs, and some leather as well. Lastly, there was the tiniest hint of caramel in the (very creamy) finish.

Mitad del Corazon is one of those coffees that leave you speechless—hence, the short review. Briefly, I just absolutely loved it.

Do yourself a favor, visit Cafetoria, and get yourself some!

Cafetoria Espresso 7 (new version)—probably the best ”Italian” espresso I’ve had

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Recently, as I happened to be in Helsinki, I went to get some beans from the Cafetoria Roastery coffee shop. I was really happy to meet their founder and master roaster, Ivan Ore, who is not only a great coffee professional, but a true gentleman, as well. Ivan was kind enough to show me some of their new products. One of them was this new version of Espresso 7, Cafetoria’s take on the classic Italian Arabica/Robusta espresso blend. Now, I had had—and loved—Espresso 7 before, but Ivan suggested I try the new incarnation. He told me that he is constantly experimenting with their blends, trying to make them even better. Since I love everything about Italian coffee, I was happy to grab a bag!

On the label it says that Espresso 7 is made of seven different beans from Brazil, Nicaragua, Rwanda, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, India, and Cameroon. 70% of the blend is Arabica, the remaining 30% is Robusta. Sounds pretty Italian to me!

They also say that the blend is roasted the Italian way. On the Cafetoria scale, the roast level is dark at 4/5. Of course, every manufacturer has its own scale of darkness. To me, the roast looks pretty ”medium”, or 3/5 on the scale that many Italian manufacturers seem to use. My point is, many non-Italian ”espresso” blends are a lot darker than this. But I don’t think a true espresso has to be super dark. I’d rather have my espresso roasted like this!

As for the flavor, the company states that there is ”a great roundness” to this coffee, and ”notes of cocoa, hazelnuts, dried berries and toast: Like in Italy!”

Of course, I just had to brew this coffee in my trusty Bialetti moka pot. As I did so, I found out that the bouquet was absolutely mouthwatering. I detected

  • hazelnuts
  • molasses
  • dried fruits
  • some of that floral, hyacinth-like quality of Robusta
  • baking cocoa

From the very first sip, it was clear: The body was full, and the mouthfeel was extremely creamy. At the same time, it didn’t feel (as we would say in Finnish) ”thick”. Exactly the way I like it!

The flavor was no less than amazing. Espresso 7 was very much like genuine Italian Arabica/Robusta espresso blends, only better than most of them. All the familiar elements were there, but it was more well-balanced, well-behaved and sophisticated than most Italian offerings. There was absolutely no harshness to speak of.

The flavor profile was super complex. All of the qualities I detected in the bouquet were there in the flavor as well. It was nutty, sweet (molasses, brown sugar, dried fruits), and floral. It also had this cocoa-like texture, and there was a hint of something toasted as well. Despite its complexity, however, Espresso 7 never felt too ”busy” or all over the place. Instead, it offered me a beautiful mélange of flavors, all of which worked together in perfect harmony.

To sum up, it is safe to say that Espresso 7 from Cafetoria is one of the best ”Italian” espressos I’ve ever had. Period. It could even be the very best. I know, that is quite a statement, coming from someone who loves Italian cuisine more than anything. But I really mean it. It’s that good.

Ladies and gentlemen, please, show some love to Cafetoria! Get yourself some Espresso 7, or any of their fantastic coffees. They really deserve it.

Frukt Coffee Roasters Espresso El Naranjo—berries and spices from Guatemala

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This was the first time I got to try a Frukt Coffee Roasters product. Frukt are a company based in Turku, Finland, where I was born. Also—just a fun fact for me—, they are located right next to the Arts Academy where I used to study, and where I also met my Wife many years ago. I will have to pay them a visit!

Anyway, Espresso El Naranjo belongs to the Fun line of Frukt coffees. On the company website, the coffee is introduced thus:

This fun coffee comes from Julio Cano, a second -generation coffee producer based in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This coffee is Caturra variety grown at Julios farm El Naranjo at 1750 meters above sea level.

After the picking is done the coffee cherries are manually de-pulped and then fermented in special buckets for 48 – 50 hours. After the fermentation the coffee is fully washed and sun dried on patio for 12 days.

On the label, Frukt offer the following tasting notes: ”Prune, hazelnut, creamy”.

To my eye, the beans were ”organic” in appearance. That is to say, they were beautifully nonuniform in shape. The roast level appeared to be medium, approximately 3/5.

The ground coffee smelled fantastic. It had this sharp and sweet aroma of bitter almods and chocolate, maybe even some berries. Just the way I like it!

Since Espresso El Naranjo is (obviously) an espresso blend, I decided to brew it in my Bialetti Moka pot.

I was apparent from the first sip: The mouthfeel was definitely creamy.

Flavor-wise, Espresso El Naranjo was not quite as almondy as I expected. Yes, there was a certain nuttiness to it, but more than that, it was acidic, almost berry-like. At the same time, there was a spiciness that was reminiscent of cinnamon and pine needles. By the time I got to the finish, the nutty flavors came to the forefront as well. The long and sweet finish made me think of hazelnuts and burley pipe tobacco.

All in all, I really liked Espresso El Naranjo. I think it’s a very good espresso that offers you some of the best aspects of Guatemalan coffee, plus some very pleasant spiciness. You can get it straight from Frukt Coffee Roasters, or from Coffea, the great coffee shop in Jyväskylä. I will certainly try to get some more!

 

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

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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

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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.