Lehmus Roastery ”Kettu-kahvi” dark roast—Recommended!

This is the third offering from the Lehmus Roastery series of seasonal coffees. Just like the other Kettu-kahvi products (Finnish for ”fox coffee”), this one is made of naturally processed Yellow Bourbon Arabica from Fazenda I.P., Brazil. It is also the darkest of the Kettu batch, 4/5 on the Lehmus scale.

On the label, the coffee is described as full-bodied. Other than that, we are only told that whereas the dark roast lends the coffee ”softness”, the natural processing makes it slightly sweet.

As usual, I used both the AeroPress and my trusty old Bialetti Moka.

Either way, the mouthfeel was relatively creamy and very pleasant. The flavor profile was naturally sweet, but also somewhat bitter and spicy. The main notes were medium dark chocolate and roasted almonds. In the finish, there was also a wonderful hint of raisins or dried figs. All the flavors were in perfect balance, and none of them overpowered the others. While this coffee did not offer the most unique flavor profile I have ever experienced, I found it to be very pleasant nonetheless.

There is no question about it. Just like its lighter siblings, the dark roasted version of Kettu-kahvi is an excellent product. I think you might like it a lot! Be sure to get yourself some from Lehmus Roastery!

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!

Lehmus Roastery Kenya Kibugu Microlot—a fruity, moderately acidic Kenyan

This is Kenya Kibugu Microlot, a limited edition coffee from the award winning Lehmus Roastery (Lappeenranta, Finland). As the name would suggest, this coffee is produced by the Kibugu Farmers CO-OP Society in the Embu County, Kenya. It comprises washed SL-28, SL-34, Batian, Ruiru 11, and K7 beans.

On the label, the company states that the mouthfeel of this coffee is juicy and soft. We are also told that it provides ample sweetness, along with notes of citrus and toffee.

As usual, I used both the AeroPress and my good old Bialetti Moka pot for brewing.

Indeed, the mouthfeel was pretty juicy, and not quite as creamy as other Lehmus products. Of course, the moka version was somewhat fuller and creamier.

Having read the tasting notes, I would have expected the coffee to be sweeter. In my opinon, the flavor profile consisted of

  1. citrusy notes: lemon, and some pink grapefruit
  2. red berries
  3. caramel or nougat (it was hard to put my finger on it!)
  4. a tiny hint of dry, herbal flavors that reminded me of (darjeeling?) tea.

Lastly, notes of toffee were apparent in the finish.

In sum, this is clearly a high-quality product. That said, it did not exactly blow me away. But that’s just about personal preference. If you want to have fruity, moderately acidic and light roasted Kenyan coffee, I can highly recommend you order yourself some Kenya Kibugu Microlot from Lehmus Roastery!

Lehmus Roastery ”Pusupuisto”—Guatemala!

Here’s another coffee from my favorite source, Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

This one, Pusupuisto, is made by Lehmus Roastery, the award winning coffee company based in Lappeenranta, Finland. It is a blend of washed Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai Typica, Maragogype, and Pache. The roast level is 3,5/5.

According to the company, Pusupuisto is ”a medium roasted, rich coffee” that has ”a soft mouthfeel”, and aromas (sic) of toffee, cocoa, and a hint of chocolate.

Sounds like something I would like a lot.

For brewing, I used the usual suspect: my trusty Bialetti Moka pot.

The mouthfeel was quite rich, but maybe not as creamy as one would have expected from a Lehmus Roastery blend. It was very pleasant nonetheless.

I definitely got some of the flavors (”aromas”?) that the company mentions in the description. That said, instead of actually tasting like toffee, cocoa, or chocolate, this blend provided a mélange of flavors that were in that particular ballpark—if that makes sense. There was more to it, however. I also detected dried fruits (figs, perhaps) and a tinge of red berries. These brought some juiciness and a pleasant acidity to the blend. To me, the overall flavor profile was quite multifaceted, yet very well balanced.

In summary, Pusupuisto from Lehmus Roastery is a very good and flavorful blend of Guatemalan coffees. You deserve to check it out!

Lehmus Roastery ”Kimpinen”—a creamy all day blend

I noticed that there were some coffees left in the Lehmus Roastery (Lappeenranta, Finland) lineup that I still hadn’t tried. So I got this:

Kimpinen, a ”medium roast” (3,5/5) blend of several different beans from Minas Gerais, Brazil (natural), and Coatepec, Mexico (washed). It contains Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon, Catuai, Yellow Catuai, Catimor, Maracaturra, Maragogype and Typica Arabica / Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica.

On the bag, the company states that this is a nutty and creamy blend on the darker side. They promise that there is a moderate amount of acidity and ”fullness”. It is also suggested that the blend works with filter coffee machines as well as espresso machines.

As you can guess, I wanted to try it in both of my favorite gadgets, the Bialetti Moka, and the AeroPress (several different recipes).

To me, the most memorable thing about Kimpinen was the creaminess. In the mouth, it felt exactly like the other Lehmus Roastery blends. They must be some of the creamiest coffees I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. There’s something luxurious about them. With Kimpinen, however, the creaminess was not only about the mouthfeel. It had a creamy flavor as well. On the other hand, the flavor profile was dominated by a round nuttiness. Very pleasant indeed.

Other than that, I was hard pressed to find anything to say about it.

Oh yes, with some cups I thought I detected a hint of this sweet, coconut and anise type of flavor that that reminded me of English Liquorice allsorts. Mind you, the blend did not taste like Liquorice allsorts, but there was something to the overall vibe that made me think of those flavors I used to love as a kid.

All in all, Kimpinen was a very good middle of the road coffee that could be enjoyed any time of the day. While it did not exactly make me go wow, I found it to be a pleasant all-around blend. Get yourself some from Lehmus Roastery!

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!

Top 10 coffees of 2019!

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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:

Light

Medium

Dark

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!

Lehmus Roastery Lauritsala—an amazing mélange of flavors

During the past week, I’ve been having some really amazing coffee. After I finished my bag of Sammonlahti from Lehmus Roastery, I opened this: Lauritsala from the same company.

Lauritsala is a blend of Monsooned Malabar, S-795/Kent Arabica natural from India, and wet hulled Tim-Tim/Caturra Arabica from Sumatra, Indonesia. The roast level is 4/5, and is called ”French Roast.” Lehmus describes this as a pretty full-flavored blend at 4,5/5.

Let’s get this straight: I liked it very much.

At first, however, this blend really made me think. The bag aroma was pleasant, and yet it took me several days to put my finger on what it was reminding me of.

On the label it was suggested that Lauritsala would be especially suitable for filter and French press. So I tried it in my new drip coffee maker. The result was perfectly OK: a cup of high quality, dark roasted Arabica coffee. However, I still couldn’t quite figure out what this blend was about. After that I brewed it in my AeroPress (one of the inverted methods), with the same result. (Lately, I have not been a big fan of French press coffee, so I decided to leave that contraption on the shelf.)

After a little hesitation, I decided to put the blend into my trusty Bialetti moka pot, with a finer grind size. It was like a light bulb went on. Suddenly all the different aromas and flavors appeared.

Just. Amazing.

Picture yourself standing in the beginning of a beautiful forest path in mid-September. After the rain, you can smell wood, roots, turning leaves, some delicious mushrooms. Next, try to imagine mixing all that with a generous helping of molasses.

Quite a mélange of aromas and flavors.

In this sense, Lauritsala was not unlike Sammonlahti: there were several savory elements to it, and then also the sweeter, molasses-like aspect. In this blend, though, the rootiness was more prominent than the molasses. The mouthfeel was very similar in both blends: creamy and smooth, with no harshness at all.

What more can I say? Just like its darker sibling, Lauritsala is an extremely high quality blend, only more complex.

Get it from Lehmus Roastery. You owe it to yourself.