Revisited: Pascucci ”Golden Sack”—My All-time Favorite Coffee

This has always been my number one favorite coffee blend: Golden Sack by Caffè Pascucci Torrefazione S.p.A (Monte Cerignone, Italy). It is a classic Italian espresso blend of 90% Arabicas and 10% Robusta.

The other day, I wanted to see if I still loved it as much as I have in the past. So I took the 7 minute walk to my favorite coffee shop, the local Ciao! Caffé, and purchased a 1000 g bag.

While Golden Sack is an espresso blend, it obviously works equally well when made using a moka pot. Of course, I am a Bialetti moka pot man through and through.

So, what did I think of it? Briefly, I thought it was fantastic.

I detected

  • dark chocolate
  • almonds
  • a hint of marzipan
  • toasted bitterness
  • a drop of cream

All the flavors were in perfect balance; Golden Sack offered the ideal mélange of the classic flavors one would expect from a high quality Italian espresso. While it was big, strong, and bold, it was also ”medium” enough so as not to punch you in the face. The mouthfeel was quite smooth, but it also had just enough of an edge to make you feel you’re having a true espresso. Exactly the way I like it.

Is Golden Sack the best coffee blend on the planet? Probably not. That said, it is everything I love about coffee. It just hits the spot every time, every day, year after year. It is truly my desert island coffee.

So, here are my instructions for you:

  1. Hurry up to your local Ciao! Caffé or Pascucci coffee shop.
  2. Get a bag of Golden Sack.
  3. Enjoy the true Italian espresso experience!

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!

Pascucci Caffè Bio—chocolate and cigar leaf


One of my good colleagues hooked me up with this: Pascucci Caffè Bio 100% Organic Coffee.

As is customary, there’s no real description of the ingredients on the bag. However, the company website offers the following information: This is a blend of ”Colombia ’Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta’, Ethiopia ’Sidamo’, Guatemala ’Chiquimula’, India ’Wayanad’, Mexico ’Chiapas’, Papua Nuova Guinea, Peru.” They also say this: ”The aromatic acidity of good washed Arabica prevails on everything. It is a primitive coffee, sweet, delicately rough, with a very fresh aroma and a dark aftertaste. It’s composed of natural and washed coffee; the fruity notes of apricot, avocado and green almonds emerge above all.”

OK, if you say so. I, personally, would have described this quite differently. Like this:

The bag aroma seems very similar to many good Italian Arabicas, so there’s nothing particularly remarkable there. When you grind the beans, though, the familiar Pascucci aroma emerges: the sweetness of confectionery and dark chocolate. Very nice!

What about the bouquet? Dark chocolate confectionery, obviously, but also vanilla. Oh yeah, and some nuttiness in the background, too. So maybe that would be interpreted as green almonds? On top of it all, however, there’s definitely a bitter smokiness of cigar leaf.

The flavor profile is very similar to what you sense in the bouquet: It’s sweet and chocolatey. At the same time it’s quite bitter and cigar-like. The vanilla and nuts/almonds stay in the background, but are definitely there from start to finish. Just as the company states, the overall feeling is kind of primitive and ”delicately rough,” but in a good way. This is probably the most delicious ”organic” coffee I’ve had. But apricot or avocado? At least I couldn’t detect them.

In my opinion, Pascucci Caffè Bio is a very good all day every day kind of espresso blend. It probably won’t make your jaw drop, but is guaranteed to work every time you need an honest Italian espresso. You might want to check it out!

Pascucci Colombia—It just works!


img_20190116_080712My fourth Pascucci coffee for January is this: Colombia, Mono Origine Roasted Coffee Ground. Filter Coffee.

As the name indicates, this is a pre-ground product intended for filter use. However, the grind size is pretty fine for a filter, not very far from what some other Italian companies offer for Moka. So, while it may not be the orthodox way of brewing this, I decided to go with my trusty Bialetti. Why not? It’s my coffee, anyway. Ha!

But wait, what about the bag note? Oh yes, it’s light, sweet and nutty. At first you think it smells like any Colombian Arabica, but then you notice that confectionery-like extra something, the thing that makes Pascucci products so irresisible. Whatever it is, I love it.

All of this is there in the final product, too, even if the bouquet is a little more robust than expected. Now you can also get a hint of medium dark chocolate.

How does it taste, then? Simply put, not quite as sweet as expected. While the mouthfeel is pretty smooth, the taste is dominated by a bitter nuttiness. You could also describe it as strong and masculine, but in a different way than an Italian espresso. It’s complex, but not overly so. Put it like this: If Colombia were a jazz guitar sound, it would remind me of Wes Montgomery. You know the legendary sound of the big man thumbpicking the heavy gauge strings of his Gibson L-5. The whole tonal spectrum is there, but with an emphasis on the midrange. It’s smooth, yet not refined to perfection like, say, the classic Pat Metheny sound. Instead, there’s an organic rawness to it. And that’s exactly where its beauty lies.

Pascucci Colombia is one of those blends that just works. It may not be the most sophisticated dessert blend, but it would be perfect with your bacon and eggs or whatever you like to have in the morning. Very nice!

In Finland, this and other Pascucci products are available at—you guessed it!—Ciao! Caffé coffee shops. Lately I’ve been frequenting their Trio shop in Lahti more than any other coffee shop. You should do the same!

Pascucci Brasile—simply enjoyable


My third coffee from the Pascucci Mono Origine series is this: Brasile Flor Chocolate. Just like its lighter siblings, Guatemala and Perú, Brasile is straight Arabica, only not washed like the others. At roast level 5/10, it’s also the darkest of the three.

The beans look like any other product from Pascucci, only a bit oilier. The bag note, too, is familiar, maybe a bit sharper and smokier. All of this makes sense: it’s a darker roast.

What about the bouquet? I would say: milk chocolate, vanilla, maybe even some molasses. But then there’s also a tiny hint of something floral, vegetable-like, even. All of these aromas are melded together in a way that makes none of them easily discernible. It’s a curious mélange of aromas, yet very pleasant.

The taste, then: Brasile certainly doesn’t lack flavor, but is not the most full-bodied coffee I’ve had, either. For Finnish coffee drinkers, many of whom are crazy about ”dark roasted coffee” for its supposed full body, Brasile would be a prime example: On the one hand, the darker roast gives it a sharpness and, well, darkness that its sister products Guatemala and Perú didn’t have. On the other hand, though, the body is not quite as full as in the lighter roasted Guatemala. To put it into musical terms, the lower middle and bass notes are pretty vague, and the emphasis is on the higher end of the ”tonal” spectrum. The milk chocolate and the vegetable-like quality are still there, but overall it’s  about your basic Arabica coffee flavor.

For some, this might sound like a negative statement. For me, it is not. Judging by their other products, the coffee artisans at Pascucci know exactly what they are doing. They are perfectly capable of providing multidimensional, full flavored coffees. Brasile is not like that, but who says it has to be? Yes, it’s pretty simple, but very enjoyable nonetheless. If that’s what you’re looking for, get Brasile.

In Finland, Pascucci products are available at Ciao! Caffé coffee shops. Their Trio shop is by far my favorite coffee shop in our city, Lahti. They also make the best ice cream I’ve had outside of Italy. Go check them out!

Pascucci Perú—an excellent choice for the thinker


My Pascucci month continues with this: Perú F. la Rossa, Mono Origine Roasted Coffee Beans. As the company briefly states on the bag, this is washed Arabica, roast level 4/10.

Now, after enjoying Guatemala La Alpa 1 from the same series, this particular product was a little bit tougher for me to review. It felt good from the very start, but it took me several cups to really get my head around it.

The presentation as well as the bag aroma are classic Pascucci: dryish beans with a pungent, toasted Arabica vibe and a marzipan-like edge. Very much like Guatemala, then, only slightly darker and a tiny bit spicier and smokier.

At first, the bouquet seems to be quite ordinary for an Italian Arabica espresso. But then you sense a hint of dried fruits, and also something that makes you think of a cream liqueur. Baileys? Very pleasant.

The actual taste is not as sweet as you would expect. The dried fruits take a back seat, and the Baileys thing is replaced with a certain nuttiness. The mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, which makes you think of Guatemala, but the taste is more robust. Harder, if you will. At this point you go: ”OK, your typical Italian espresso.” But the best is yet to come: the finish. It is long and caramelly. This is high quality stuff, no doubt about it.

Admittedly, Perú is not as multifaceted as some other Pascucci products, but then that’s not what you want all the time. Sometimes you need to concentrate on other things. That’s when you want a delicious Italian style Arabica that you can simply enjoy without having to think too much about it. Perú is just that. For me, personally, it would be the perfect complement to a good book.

So, where do you find it? In Finland, the answer is Ciao! Caffé coffee shops. I got mine from their Trio shop in Lahti. Do yourself a favor and get it!

A Happy New Year with Pascucci!


Happy New Year, everyone!

I am really happy to be able to begin 2019 with a coffee product from one of my favorite companies, Pascucci: Guatemala La Alpa 1, Mono Origine Roasted Coffee Beans. As the bag description tells us, this is all washed Arabica, with a strength of 3 on the scale of 10.

The presentation in very much what you would expect from a typical Italian espresso: the beans are medium roasted and dryish, although maybe a little less uniform in shape than some other blends from, say, Segafredo Zanetti. The bag aroma is reminiscent of another Pascucci product, Golden Sack: a pretty pungent, toasted Arabica smell with a marzipan-like edge. Absolutely mouth watering.

This deserves to be brewed in a macchinetta, in my case the Bialetti Moka. After pouring the fresh coffee in the cup, you notice the bouquet seems a little more well-behaved than the bag aroma.  You also get a very pleasant scent of vanilla.

But how does it taste? Now, this is where you finally realize the sheer quality of this product. Firstly, this is one of the smoothest coffees I’ve ever had, with a very creamy body or mouth feel. At the same time, though, it retains the toasted feel of a high quality Italian espresso. The vanilla also comes through nicely in the taste. But then, the second you think you already know what this coffee is about, you are surprised by the long finish: raisins and dried fruits. Oh wow. I can’t even begin to describe how good this is.

In Guatemala La Alpa 1, Pascucci brings you a single origin coffee that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It’s smooth enough to enjoy first thing in the morning, but espresso-like enough to satisfy you after a big meal. It’s truly a winner. It will definitely be in my rotation, and deserves to be in yours, too. In Finland, you can get it from Ciao! Caffé coffee shops, in my case from the good folks at their Trio shop in Lahti. Please do yourself a favor and pay them a visit. You won’t regret it!

What’s in store for 2019?


I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2019 than checking out some new (to me) products from one of my favorite Italian coffee companies, Caffè Pascucci Torrefazione. I’ve had an eye on these babies for a long time, and finally got around to purchasing them. They will be opened one after another in January and reviewed separatery.

Another favorite coffee company of mine is Cafetoria Roastery from Lohja, Finland. They produce some of the highest quality coffees I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. In my opinion, everyone should get to know them. Their products will be covered extensively.

I’m also planning on visiting two local artisan roasteries, whose products have received rave reviews not only here in Finland, but also internationally. It will be exciting to see what the hype is all about.

Also, and on a slightly different note, I’ve gotten several requests to give my opinion on some widely available grocery store coffees. So, in addition to reviewing higher quality products, I will be comparing a couple of inexpensive blends from the German supermarket chain Lidl, some of which are actually surprisingly OK for the price.

That’s just the beginning! If I can figure out a way to cover the high international shipping costs, I’ll also be looking at products from a couple of very interesting American roasteries.

Let’s go! Happy New Year!