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.

Rost & Co. Krafti Espresso—a good, standard espresso with lots of R!

It has been an amazingly hectic two months for me. I haven’t been able to take the time to post all the coffee reviews I have in store. But today I can finally share my impressions of the blend I’ve been enjoying lately.

”Krafti Espresso” from Rost & Co. is a blend of 60% India Robusta Kaapi Royale and 40% Guatemala Acatenango. Right off the bat, this particular recipe sounds very appealing to me. On the bag, it says that the blend is (in my translation) ”strong” and ”rich” with ”notes of cocoa.” In my estimation, the roast is medium dark.

Now, a year ago, I might have been extremely enthusiastic about this blend. ”Krafti” is a very good, solid Robusta forward espresso that reminds me of many good Italian blends. As you could expect from a blend that contains as much as 60% of Robusta, the familiar earthiness from the big R is the main player. However, this earthiness is accompanied by some delicious notes of pine needles (”Flores,” the excellent straight Robusta by Cafetoria keeps coming to mind—check it out, I love it!) and vanilla. The blend is quite full flavored, but it doesn’t fatigue the palate. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth.

At the same time, though, I cannot help thinking that the flavor profile is a little on the nondescript side—and I don’t mean quality-wise. I am getting a lot of those quintessential espresso qualities, but nothing that would just jump out to me like, ”Hey, this is this thing!” if you see what I mean. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this blend—as I say, I’ve enjoyed it—, but nothing particularly memorable about it either.

In this sense, ”Krafti Espresso” is a bit like ”Peru Espresso,” the other Rost & Co. blend I tried a while ago: it’s a solid blend that does what it was made to do. It’s just that maybe making you go ”WOW” isn’t one of those things.

But hey, try it if you can! It is good! You can get it from Kaffecentralen.

Rost & Co. Peru Espresso—a basic espresso with lots of flavor

For quite some time now, I’ve been thinking of checking out some coffees by Rost & Co., the artisan roastery located in Helsinki, Finland. Recently, on one of my trips to the Helsinki university library (one of my favorite places!), I briefly visited Kaffecentralen, the great coffee shop in the very center of the city, and got four of their products. So, here we go!

The first one I tried was this: Peru Espresso. There was not a lot of information about the coffee on the bag, but they say this much:

  • origin: Peru, Cajamarca Co-Op Sol & Cafe
  • altitude: 1500–2050 m
  • processing: washed

I would add that the roast seemed to be medium-dark or dark, maybe around 3,5 on the scale of 5 (?).

As for tasting notes, the company states the following (my translation): balanced, notes of licorice and almond.

Very well, that’s precisely what this coffee tasted like when I brewed it in my Bialetti moka pot. On top of that, I got a delicious flavor of dark, bitter chocolate. It wasn’t very prominent, but did create a nice interplay with the licorice. At times, I also detected a slightly toasted, tobaccoey flavor. Having said that, in my opinion, Peru Espresso didn’t have the most complex flavor profile. On the one hand, it was quite flavorful and intense indeed. On the other hand, however, it was pretty straightforward. The mouthfeel was on the creamy side and quite smooth.

For me, Peru Espresso by Rost & Co. was a pretty basic espresso that offered some interesting flavors. While it didn’t knock my socks off, I did enjoy it. I especially found it pleasant after a big meal. So yeah, if you want a solid, dark and smooth espresso with lots of flavor, but one that you don’t need to think about so much, check it out! Like I say, 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!

Paulig Origins Blend Guatemala—very nice!

OK, here’s the last blend from the Origins Blend series by Paulig: Guatemala.

As all of my readers must know by now, all the blends in this series are made of 100% Arabicas, roasted medium dark (3/5), and pre-ground for coffee makers or French press.

I brewed it in my French press, following the method I explained in my recent review.

Obviously, Guatemala is made of Guatemalan coffee, but also—as the Paulig website tells us—”aromatic Colombian beans.” That’s all we get to know about the ingredients. The company calls the blend ”delicately fruity” and ”softly milk chocolatey.” Again, that sounds like something I would really enjoy!

And lo, that is exactly what you get. The body is kind of ”medium,” but also kind of juicy. The flavor profile is all about fresh cut ”yellow” fruits, mixed with semi sweet milk chocolate. Very pleasant, actually.

To me, Guatemala is a lot better than some of the other blends in the Origins Blend series. My only caveat is that the flavors are a little muted. Now, all of the flavors promised in the bag description are there, but the overall feel could be bolder, in my opinion. And I don’t mean ”bolder” in the way that ”dark roasted coffee” can be bold. I mean that I really like the flavors, and that’s why I would like to get more of them out of this. Having said that, with Guatemala this is not as big of a problem as in some of the other Origins Blends.

So, if you like a medium roasted, fruity and chocolatey coffee that is readily available (at least in Finland, that is), you might want to check this out!