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!


Paulig Origins Blend Tanzania—Seriously?

This is the third blend from the Origins Blend series by Paulig: Tanzania.

Like all the other blends in the series, Tanzania is 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.

It goes without saying that Tanzania is made of Tanzanian beans. That’s all the company tells us about the ingredients. In the bag description they call this coffee fresh, nuanced and berry-like. The Paulig website elaborates: there is plenty of flavor and aromas of red berries. OK, that sounds like something I would really like!

Uh oh.

The bag aroma was… well, it smelled like coffee. That all I could say about it, really.

If I was struggling to come up with a proper review of Paulig Colombia, writing this one was even harder. Even after several cups, I just couldn’t taste the things they promised. To me, this blend was not fresh or nuanced, but rather dull. Also, in my opinion, there was no berry flavor to it. Zero. It’s not like it tasted bad, really, but it wasn’t very good, either. Just… grocery store coffee—which this is, obviously.

Mind you, I don’t want to be hard on Paulig. I’d LOVE to support our local businesses. But I just don’t understand how even the biggest coffee company in a small country like Finland can afford to make blends like this, while the Swedish competition is cranking out far better products and selling them for similar prices. An historical blender like Paulig should know better. In my opinion.

Paulig Origins Blend Colombia—nothing to write home about

Here’s the second blend from the Origins Blend series by Paulig: Colombia.

Like all the other Origins Blend offerings, Colombia is 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 last review.

As you would expect, Colombia is made of Colombian Arabicas. That’s all the company tells us about the ingredients. As far as the flavor is concerned, they call it ”balanced and nutty.”

The bag aroma was quite pleasant. When I opened the bag, I immediately got the familiar sweet nuttiness of Colombian coffee.

When I first tasted Colombia, I thought it would be a tough blend to review. I really had to strain myself to tease out the flavors. After several cups, I had to conclude that there was not a lot of flavor to find. Yes, there was some nuttiness. You could tell that it was Colombian coffee. But that was about it. Yes, it was balanced, too, at least in the sense that nothing really stood out. Was it bad? No, no. It’s just that, in my opinion, there was nothing to write home about, either.

If you want to get good Colombian coffee, get yourself some Pascucci Colombia. Now that is a great, flavorful and medium bodied blend. In Finland, you can get it from your local Ciao! Caffé shop.

Paulig Origins Blend Indonesia—a decent blend from the supermarket

I went to the local supermarket and found these: The Origins Blend series from Paulig, sold in these little 75 g (2.64 oz) ”Trial size” bags.

All of the blends in the Origins series are 100% Arabicas. Each one is named after the country of origin of the primary ingredient: Indonesia, Colombia, Tanzania and Guatemala. Also, each blend is roasted medium dark (3/5), and pre-ground for coffee makers or French press.

That being the case, I decided to let my Moka pot rest for a while (sob), and use my French press instead. I also decided to brew all of these blends following the same method. It’s very simple:

  • boil some water
  • add 14 g (0.49 oz) of ground coffee in the preheated FP glass carafe
  • after the water has cooled down for one minute, pour 200 g (7.05 oz) of it on top of the grounds
  • place the plunger on top, but don’t press just yet
  • let stand for 3 min 45 sec
  • remove the plunger
  • take a spoon and remove excess coffee grounds from the surface
  • insert the plunger and press
  • pour the coffee in a cup and enjoy

I tried Indonesia first. Obviously, it’s made of Indonesian beans, but has some South American in it too. That’s all the company tells us about the ingredients. They call it ”intense & spicy,” with flavors of wild berries, rich fruityness and hints of spices.

In my opinion, the overall flavor was on the darker side. The berries were definitely there. I detected some spice as well. On the other hand—just as promised—there was also a fruity aspect to it. While all of these aspects were apparent in the flavor profile, none of them was particularly pronounced. Take the berriness, for instance: With some other coffees you can say something like ”This tastes like raspberries.” But with Indonesia it was actually quite hard to say what the ”berries” were like. Similarly, the fruitiness did remind me of fresh cut fruits, but whether they tasted like stonefruits or something else, it was hard to tell. It’s like all the flavors were there, but the whole thing tasted kind of muted. Only the spiciness was a bit easier to understand. It didn’t taste peppery per se, but closer to that than, say, cinnamon or other baking spices.

The blend was pretty low in acidity, which was nice. The body was medium at most.

My final verdict? Paulig Indonesia may not be a gourmet coffee blend, but it is better than many other Finnish grocery store coffees. However, if I had to get a solid medium dark Arabica from the supermarket, I would certainly opt for a Swedish blend, say Reko from Arvid Nordquist, or Jubileum or Kharisma from Löfbergs.

Paulig Espresso Originale—an ”Italian” espresso made in Finland

Here’s another one from the supermarket: Espresso Originale by Paulig, the Finnish coffee giant.

The bag description reads as follows: ”Paulig Espresso Originale is our most traditional espresso blend, inspired by Rome. Carefully crafted from top Brazilian and Central American Arabica beans and spiced up with a pinch of Asian Robusta. This classic espresso offers a rich but rounded flavor and a long-lasting finish.”

There is also the following information on the bag:

”Body: 5/5

Acidity: 3/5

Flavor: 4/5

Roast level: 4/5″

The coffee was pre-ground for moka or espresso use.

First off, the bouquet: I definitely got a lot of dark and bitter chocolate—very dark, actually. But then there was that same peculiar, piercing smell that Paulig’s Parisien had. Sometimes this smell seemed less pleasant to me, but at other times it felt almost floral. I think I even got a tiny hint of vanilla here and there. OK, that’s what Robusta seems to smell like in Paulig blends.

The flavor was quite monochromatic or ”one-note”. From the first sip I pretty much knew what I was going to get. Mind you, this is not a bad thing by any means. Sometimes simplicity is exactly what you want. First and foremost, Espresso Originale tasted very dark and strong. There was some of that dark and bitter chocolate in the taste as well. In the finish I could detect a faint hint of vanilla, too.

So tastewise, Espresso Originale was not unlike some Arabica-forward Italian espressos. There was one difference, though: Considering the sheer strength—or the oomph, if you will—the blend was surprisingly ”medium” in body. I couldn’t quite agree with the bag description that promised a 5/5 body and 4/5 flavor. In my opinion, the body was not more than 3/5, while the flavor was closer to 5/5. If you ask me, I’d rather have an espresso with less strength or ”edge,” and a fuller body, something like Guatemala Mono Origine from Pascucci. But I guess this is just a matter of personal preference. Someone else might enjoy the flavor/body profile that Paulig offers in this blend. If you’re that person, Espresso Originale might be worth checking out.

Paulig Café Parisien—maybe with milk..?

img_20190119_131622Several friends have requested reviews of readily available blends from Finnish coffee companies. The biggest of them all is Paulig, the traditional company known to every Finn. Last year I reviewed some blends that belong to their series of coffees named after a city. After doing Café Sydney, New York and Barcelona (see the reviews under the category ”Paulig”), I was finally able to find Café Parisien in beans. So, here we go.

Café Parisien is the darkest roast (level 5/5) in the Paulig city series. They don’t say much about the contents in the bag description, and on their website they only state that this is a blend of the best Southern and Middle American coffees, some African beans for berry-like flavors, and a small amount of Indian Robusta.

The bag note is very pleasant. Like many other Paulig blends, it’s sweet and marzipan-like, maybe even sweeter than the lighter offerigs in the same series. While you can easily tell that Parisien is roasted darker than the others, it isn’t particularly smoky. Quite nice so far.

How does it smell in the cup? Well, this is where it gets hard to explain, at least in a polite manner. Let’s just say that it does smell. Yes, I can detect some sweetness and dark chocolate, but the bouquet is dominated by a peculiar sharpness. I assume it’s the Robusta. Now, in the very best Arabica/Robusta blends, such as Fit Fuel from Black Rifle Coffee Company (my #1 coffee in 2018, see the review), Robusta can have this ”high-pitched,” spicy floral quality. Here, however, the sharp smell was reminiscent of the well-known liquid that—according to Wikipedia—is a ”by-product of metabolism in humans and in many animals.” Oh boy.

Thankfully, the taste is a little more agreeable: Again, the dark chocolate is there, but I also get a hint of almonds. It’s pretty low in acidity, yet quite bitter. The overall experience is relatively multidimensional, but for some reason the different flavors don’t seem to fit together well enough to form an enjoyable mélange. Instead, they stay separate from each other in a way, if that makes sense. You are also left with a long, bitter aftertaste.

The company states that Café Parisien would work well as a base for café au lait. I can see why. The added milk would probably make the actual taste less apparent.

Do I hate it? Not really, but I can’t say I like it very much, either. Of course, I acknowledge the fact that Café Parisien is not meant to be a top quality gourmet coffee blend, but rather something you can easily get from any supermarket. However, I do not quite understand why Finnish coffee companies like Paulig—who have over 140 years of experience—still keep making products like this, while their Swedish and Italian competitors provide so much better quality for the same price. It must be because we Finns keep buying.

Paulig Café Barcelona

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Finnish grocery store coffees, episode 3: Café Barcelona from Paulig. The bag description only states that this is a "strong coffee blend full of taste." According to the company website there are coffees from Latin American countries, such as Colombia, plus Indian Robusta. This is the third blend in Paulig's series of coffees named after a city. Sydney was roasted medium light, at level 2 (out of 5), New York was medium at 3, and this is dark at 4. Other than the difference in the roast, the bag note promises the same exact flavor profile. Piquant, and slightly sweet. In the cup, however, a hint of wood and pine needles is added to the aroma. That must be the Robusta. The taste is pretty well balanced, with the big R coming thru enough to satisfy the coffee man. Also, the abrasive acidity characteristic of so many Paulig (and other Finnish) blends stays in the background, almost unnoticeable. Wow, I might even like this! Further along the way, you get a dark chocolatey side note, too. This is not gourmet coffee, nor is it attempting to be, but a perfectly pleasant every day blend—the first Paulig blend I could think of buying again. Well done! #paulig #cafebarcelona #bialettimoka #coffeereviews

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Paulig Café New York

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Finnish grocery store coffees, episode 2: Café New York from Paulig. The only thing they actually say about the contents of this cool bag, is that it is a coffee blend, roasted medium dark, #3 (out of 5 on the Finnish scale). Oh well. Opening the bag, you go "Isn't this Café Sydney I just had recently?" The bag note and the overall impression are almost identical. Only the roast is probably a tad darker, but not much. The actual flavor is… Well, the good news is that there is some flavor. It is coffee all right, but it really doesn't do anything for me. It's probably slightly nuttier than Sydney, and a little less acidic. Just like it's lighter sibling, it's not bad, per se, but there just isn't much of anything that would make me want to have another cup. If you're on a tight budget, but still want some real coffee, you will find it on the same shelf in the supermarket. It says "Lavazza" or "Segafredo Zanetti". These might even be cheaper, too! #cafenewyork #paulig #bialettimoka #coffeereviews

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Paulig Café Sydney

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Out of curiosity, and also due to financial reasons, I decided to try to cope the rest of the year with coffees you can find in any supermarket. So here goes, Finnish grocery store coffees, part 1: Café Sydney from Paulig, the biggest coffee company in Finland. As the name would suggest, this is an "Aussie Style Roast," a "light roast 2" (out of 5) on the Scandinavian scale, maybe medium on the Italian one. They don't say what's in it, but they call it "fruity and honey-sweet," with a "pleasant acidity." Opening the bag, you are indeed greeted with a light and sweet, marzipan-like aroma, which is nice, but also tells you this is going to be pretty acidic. It actually tastes OK, too, at least for a regular Finnish coffee blend. It is very light and acidic all right, but there really is that nice hint of honey-like sweetness, albeit only in the background. Now, I don't have any experience with Australian coffee, but for me this seems to be created with the Finnish consumer in mind. There's nothing wrong with the blend, but nothing particularly memorable in it, either. I'll be happy to finish the bag and move on. #paulig #cafesydney #bialettimoka #coffeereviews

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