Top 10 coffees of 2019!


This is my last post for this year: the Black Coffee Journal top 10 coffees of 2019!

During the past year, I finally managed to get better acquainted with some of our local Finnish artisan roasteries. I did get to enjoy at least 74 different coffee blends or single origin coffee products from 9 different countries and 28 companies, but our domestic roasteries swept the board. Their offerings were just so good! That said, two blends from abroad made the ”honorable mentions” section.

Just like last year, all of the products that made my top 10 list were high-end coffees with no detectable added flavoring. This time, however, they were so different from each other that it wouldn’t have been fair to try to compare them with each other. Therefore, instead of ranking the coffees, I decided to organize them into three categories according to the approximate roast level (light, medium and dark) and present them in alphabetical order according to the company name. The resulting list can be best thought of as a pool of fantastic coffees, from which you can pick any product you want and end up enjoying a truly memorable experience.

One last thing before we get to the actual list: I used two different methods to brew these coffees. The ones that were intended for espresso were brewed in my three cup Bialetti Moka. Those that were intended for other brewing methods I prepared in my AeroPress, with one of my favorite inverted methods and a steel filter. Also, I enjoyed all of them straight, with no additives.

So here’s my top 10:




Honorable mentions

  • Ogawa Coffee (小川珈琲) Blend 3 Original (the best grocery store coffee, Japan)
  • Pascucci Colombia (the all-around morning blend, Italy)

You could not go wrong with any of these coffees. Also, you would do well to check out any products that these great roasteries provide. They really know their stuff!

Extra special thanks to everyone at Cafetoria Roastery, Kaamos kahvipaahtimo, Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, Kahwe and Turun kahvipaahtimo! Also, many thanks to all of my friends who gave me all kinds of coffees to try!

I’ve already got some fantastic coffees in store for 2020. I can’t wait to tell you about them!

Polar Night Charm—very charming


This is going to be a short review. The roastery, Kaamos kahvipaahtimo has made it so easy for me.

Their namesake product, Kaamoksen lumo / Polar Night Charm is a dark roasted (4/5) blend of India Bababudangiri, and Kenya Josra.

As seems to be the case with many of the Kaamos blends, Polar Night Charm doesn’t surprise you in any way, but does exactly what it was created for. From the moment you open the bag until the last sip, this blend is all about semi-sweet dark chocolate and—excuse me for repeating myself—the sweet confectionery thing I’ve come to love in many good Italian espressos. Perhaps there’s a caramelly hint in the finish as well. But then there’s something else, too: the kind of rooty, vegetable-like quality that makes you think of, say, Courriere XO. Both of these flavor profiles—the sweet and the savory—are in perfect balance. The feel is not overly multifaceted, but not monochromatic, either. It’s kind of simple, but in a very good way.

Now, in the recent years, dark roasted coffee has gained enormous popularity here in Scandinavia. Many people say they prefer dark roasted blends because of their fuller body. In my opinion, however, darker roast doesn’t necessarily have much to do with a fuller body. (I’ve actually had some really dark blends that tasted kind of weak.) Polar Night Charm is the perfect example of this. It is dark, yes, but medium in body. It has the edge characteristic of many dark roast blends, but at the same time it’s quite soft and well-rounded, if that makes sense.

If I had to pick one of the four Kaamos kahvipaahtimo blends I’ve reviewed during the past week, I would definitely go with Tunturipuro / Mountain Stream. That was just fantastic. But that’s just my personal opinion. All of them are very good coffee blends. If you want a darker blend that’s flavorful but doesn’t punch you in the face, Polar Night Charm is your choice. Go check it out!

Mountain Stream—the Finnish replacement for BRCC


It’s no secret: I’m a huge fan of Black Rifle Coffee Company. I just absolutely love everything about their products: the blends (SO sophisticated, and yet full of rock’n roll), the amazing quality (the beans, the roast, the consistency—and by the way, mechanically the easiest coffees to deal with), the packaging, the vision, the whole thing. And the prices are very reasonable, too. I’ve only had one problem: the shipping from the US to Finland costs more than the coffee itself. So, while I’ve been saving money for my next order, I’ve been forced to live without their great products.

Enter Tunturipuro / Mountain Stream from Kaamos kahvipaahtimo. Oh boy, oh boy. I like it. Very much.

Mountain Stream is a medium dark roasted (3,5/5) blend of Burundi and Colombia. According to the roastery, the mouthfeel is soft and vivacious with a bit of acid, fruityness and earthiness along with hints of chocolate and spices.

The bag aroma instantly made me think of my beloved Italians: it had that sweet, dark chocolatey, confectionery-like vibe characteristic of many of my favorite Pascucci blends.

As I ground the beans, the aroma turned into that bold, hard, no-nonsense thing I love so much, yet with some very sophisticated nuances: dark chocolate, cinnamon and other baking spices. Exactly the thing I’ve come to adore in BRCC products.

Everything I smelled in my coffee grinder was there in the bouquet as well. This seems to be one characteristic of Kaamos kahvipaahtimo products: None of them have provided any surprises. From the moment you grind the beans you pretty much know what you’re going to get. That is very good.

This blend was no different. The taste was all about dark, bold and hard—for the lack of a better word—masculinity. It made me think of one of my all time favorites, AK Espresso from BRCC. It was not dark or bold in the way a french roast is dark and bold. It was not hard in the sense of being harsh or acrid. It was full-bodied, big and strong, but well rounded and ”medium” enough to enjoy all day. It was kind of simple but not monochromatic by any means: all of the different flavors worked together extremely well to form a unified whole.

That settles it. I’ve finally found the Finnish replacement for my favorite American coffee. I’m sure I’ll still be craving for Black Rifle Coffee Company blends, but with this fantastic product from Kaamos kahvipaahtimo, I’ll be OK until I get enough cash for international shipping.

Don’t miss out! Check out Tunturipuro / Mountain Stream from Kaamos kahvipaahtimo!

Midnight sun—first thing in the morning


For the past three days I’ve been enjoying this: Yötön Yö / Midnight sun from Kaamos kahvipaahtimo. It contains Ethiopia Yirgacheffe and Nicaragua (Organic), and is roasted 3/5. The company tells us it’s a ”flavorable blend of fancy citric aromas with soft and fruity flavors and hints of chocolate.”

The ground beans had a nutty and somewhat chocolatey aroma that made me think of some Colombians I’ve had. I also got a hint of fresh fruits which, in my opinion, was not particularly citrusy, but slightly sweet. The bouquet was very similar: nuts and chocolate, some fruits.

It took me several cups to get my head around this blend. Initially, the flavor was all about a (”tonal”) midrange nuttiness, with some chocolate. Moderately acidic. But then, the fruits appeared in the finish, even if only for a passing moment. If I had to describe that flavor with one word, I would say ”yellow.”

In my opinion, Midnight sun probably isn’t the most nuanced blend out there, but it definitely is an honest, middle of the road Coffee with a capital C. Very basic, but in a positive sense. It’s exactly the kind of blend I would reach for in the morning with my big breakfast. Later in the day, when my palate has woken up, there is plenty of time for those fancy, multidimensional espressos.

And by the way, this blend worked really with my AeroPress, too!

Do check it out! You can do so here.

Aurora borealis? Oh yes, please!


Last week I got a package from Kaamos kahvipaahtimo, the roastery in Rovaniemi, the ”capital” of Finnish Lapland: a selection of their blends, four of them, to be exact.

I decided to start with the lightest one: Revontuli / Aurora borealis, a blend of Kenia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia Sidamo, roasted 2/5. In the bag description they say: ”fruity, citric and berry-like flavors and aromas […] along with nice acidity.”

As I ground the beans, I certainly got a nice, light aroma of citrus and milk chocolate.

At first the bouquet didn’t seem anything out of the ordinary, just a sweet, citrusy aroma of lighter roasted Ethiopian, and some chocolate. But then I picked up a tiny hint of something else, too, something I couldn’t put my finger on at first. Memories from my childhood? Oh yes, the sweet and caramelly room note of Clan pipe tobacco my best friend’s dad used to smoke. Very nice, indeed.

The taste, then: It was slightly chocolatey and had this ”high,” lemony note to it, not unlike the one in Ethiopian Sidamo from Löfbergs. It was slightly acidic, too, but not sharp in any way. I actually found it to be rather ”soft” and sweet. Honestly speaking, I didn’t detect the berries, but there was a hint of licorice in the finish. Delicious! I found myself doing something I never do: every time I finished my cup, I just sat there smelling the empty cup. Fresh fruits—lemon, most of all—and some milk chocolate. I always ended up wondering whether I should make another cup.

If you are looking for a lighter roast coffee that is medium-light in body but flavorful at the same time, I would highly recommend Revontuli. Check it out here!