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!

Qore Kelloo #6—fresh fruits and herbs!


OK, ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a while! For this past week I’ve been super busy with my writing, but I never stopped having great coffee. Actually, that’s exactly what I’m going to write about here: Qore Kelloo #6 Heirloom I received from the coffee masters at Turun Kahvipaahtimo. This is honey processed Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia. The roast is really light.

I’ll admit right off the bat that since this coffee was not intended for espresso, it took me a while to adjust my palate to it. It was clear right from the start, however, that this is an excellent product.

I made several cups of this every day with my AeroPress. You know, the standard method: 255g/9oz of freshly boiled water (100C/212F), 15g/0.5oz of coffee, semi-coarse. Brew time 1:45.

Brewed in this way, Qore Kelloo #6 was everything the company promises. My translation of their description reads as follows: ”The taste: Peach, apricot, hops. The mouthfeel: Syrupy, sweet, herbal.” They couldn’t have said it better. That is exactly what you get. There was a slight acidity to it, but it was like the natural, soft acidity of fresly cut fruits, just as if I had those peaches and apricots in my cup. No harshness whatsoever. The taste was really light, though, maybe even a bit too light for my personal taste. While it was not the most flavorful coffee I’ve had, it was quite tasty and pleasant nonetheless. I actually had some Finnish guests come over—people who do not quite understand the thing I have for Italian moka—and they complimented on how the coffee was so delicious this time.

Even though I understand that this product was not created for the macchinetta man in mind, I just had to try how it would taste if I brewed it in my trusty 3 cup Bialetti Moka. As expected, the acidity was a bit more pronounced, but still very soft and fruity. The peaches and apricots were definitely there, with the occasional hint of milk chocolate. This time I could also detect something herbal, something that reminded me of the famous vermouth, Martini Extra Dry. Very, very nice. Sweetish, but not too much. The mouthfeel, too, was slighty syrupy, but not overly so. The finish was long, sweet and syrupy, but did not leave any mouth coating. Two words came to mind: natural and fresh.

If you like lighter roasted coffee that is fruity and sweet, but still doesn’t feel goopy, get some Qore Kelloo #6. You won’t be disappointed! Thank you, Turun Kahvipaahtimo, for yet another great coffee!

Espresso Kenya Mlima—fresh fruits & milk chocolate

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Here’s my review of the third blend the kind people at Turun kahvipaahtimo sent me: Espresso Kenya Mlima.

As the label tells us, this is a fully washed blend of Ruinu 11, Batian, SL-28, SL-34 from Swahili, Mlima, Mount Kenya. The tasting notes are as follows (my translation): ”Peach, light grapes, kiwi and apricot.” The mouthfeel they promise is ”bright and high in acidity.”

When I opened the bag, I got a nice, fruity and slightly chocolatey aroma. The bouquet feels very similar: fresh fruits, but then also some milk chocolate.

This is precisely what the blend tastes like, too. Honestly, I’m not sure if my palate is refined enough to detect all the different flavors mentioned by the company, but I will say this: There are several flavors of bright, freshly cut fruits. I’m definitely getting the peach. And yes, there is a hint of kiwi in the background, too. But then, in my opinion, all of it is wrapped up in delicious milk chocolate. It’s sweet, but not overly so. Even if the roast is medium dark, the overall feeling is pretty bright and clear, just as the company promises. For me, the acidity is medium at most. I normally don’t care for acidic coffee, but if this is ”high acidity,” I’m all about it!

There’s no question about it. Kenya Mlima is a delicious espresso, and a very high quality product. While I usually tend to reach for blends with a little more body, a little more oomph, there are times when I want something brighter. In one of those moments, this would definitely fit the bill. Get yourself some!

Fazenda Passeio—you do NOT want to miss these!


Last month I got my first taste of espressos from Turun kahvipaahtimo, the coffee roastery near the historic city of Turku, Finland.  I was totally blown away.

Last week, the good folks at Turun kahvipaahtimo surprised me with a very generous gift: four of their new products! Thank you so much!

I decided to start with these two blends: Espresso Fazenda Passeio and Fazenda Passeio Mixed Varieties. The ingredients are the same in both: pulped natural Yellow Catuai, Mundo Novo and Acaia from the Fazenda Passeio farm in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The tasting notes from the roastery are identical, too (my direct translation): ”Chocolate, raisins, nutty. A full bodied mouthfeel with a mild acidity.” The two products are intended for different uses—one for espresso, obviously, and the other for drip coffee—, but otherwise they seem to be similar. I’m not sure, but maybe the espresso version is roasted slightly darker? Other than that, I couldn’t find any difference between them.

The second you open the bag you know you are about to experience something really good.

First, the bag aroma: Deep, dark chocolate! There’s also a nutty, toasted aroma reminiscent of dark fired burley tobacco.

Second, the aroma after grinding: The dark chocolate remains the main player, but the burley is replaced by sweet and dark dried fruits. Oh wow, this is starting to get really interesting.

Then the bouquet: chocolate, dried fruits and nuts.

Finally, the taste: Yes, yes! When I brewed the espresso version in my macchinetta, I got a fantastic mélange of dark chocolate, some nuts, and a figgy, raisinlike sweetness. Still the whole thing had this ”toasted” vibe to it. The mouthfeel was slightly buttery, even syrupy, and oh so smooth. The drip coffee version was a little more acidic, but very pleasant, nonetheless.

Even if I couldn’t have any other coffee for the rest of my life, I would be a very happy man.

The Fazenda Passeio blends from Turun kahvipaahtimo offer a true cornu copiae of aromas and flavors, and yet they never feel like there are too many things going on. From the very start to the very long and delicious finish you feel like you’re dealing with an amazingly well balanced product, whose many parts fit together perfectly to form a unified whole.

Need I say more? You do NOT want to miss these blends.

This. Is. Fantastic.

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I’m at a loss for words.

It’s quite rare to find a coffee blend this good.

Irmas Pereira from Turun kahvipaahtimo is made of pulped natural Acaia, Bourbon, Catuai, Catucai and Mundo Novo from Brazil. On the label, the company offers the following description: Syrupy, fruits and chocolate. Mild, pleasantly acidic.

This is exactly what you get.

The bag aroma is sweet, chocolatey and marzipan-like, so not unlike some other blends I’ve recently had. But that’s where the similarities end.

The bouquet is really hard to describe. Think of coffee mixed with fresh fruits and marzipan—maybe even some flowers? You just can’t wait to taste it.

The taste itself is amazingly well balanced and smooth. On the one hand, you can detect light (maple?) syrup, but on the other hand, it doesn’t feel goopy at all. Similarly, there’s the piquancy of fresly cut fruits, but at the same time, the acidity is very ”soft” and—just like they say—pleasant. There’s some milk chocolate, too, but not too much. 

Overall, Irmas Pereira is on the lighter side of the spectrum, but there’s enough taste and body to satisfy the hard core espresso man. Having said that, you might want to have a second cup the minute you finish the first one.

Just fantastic.

EDIT: I just received a message from Turun kahvipaahtimo saying that as of today, this product is sold out. No wonder! They also shared some exciting information about their new espresso blends. I’m really looking forward to trying them. Do yourself a favor and check them out here!

– H

Feb. 25, 2019

This is what ”Finnish” coffee should taste like


I know.

I’m probably the last Finnish coffee nerd who still hadn’t tried out the well-reputed coffees from Turun kahvipaahtimo, an artisan roastery in (or actually near) Turku, Finland. So as I recently drove through this old home town of mine, I just had to visit CaféArt by the river, and pick up some of their products.

I decided to start with this: Espresso Finca Santa Teresa.

As you might expect from coffee experts, the company has included a pretty detailed description of the product on the package. They tell us that this is Catuai, Catimor and Java from Nicaragua, La Union, processed naturally. Tasting notes: rich and intensive, with raisins, rum and marzipan.

When I opened the package and the bag inside it, I instantly got a high, berry-like aroma and the marzipan. Now, I seem to sense marzipan in many lighter roasted Finnish coffee blends, but here the smell of sweet, bitter almonds is very pronounced.

I brewed this in my macchinetta, and inserted my nostrils in the cup. Wow. As if from nowhere, the rum appeared. Yes, berries, marzipan and rum. No raisins just yet, though. I started to get the feeling that the taste was probably going to be pretty sharp and acidic.

Oh boy was I wrong.

The taste was amazingly well balanced and smooth, ”soft,” if you like. And yet there were so many things going on. When I first sipped it, it was all about the ”high-pitched” berries. But then, after a couple of seconds, the mid-range finish appeared: raisins and rum. Every now and then I also got a citrusy note. There’s no question about it. Turun kahvipaahtimo has created a true masterpiece.

In my opinion, Finca Santa Teresa is exactly what the famous medium-light roasted, lighter bodied, ”Finnish” style coffee should taste like. I personally prefer not to eat berries, but I’m assuming this would be the perfect complement for a Scandinavian berry pie.

Get yourself some Finca Santa Teresa from Turun kahvipaahtimo! It’s really good!

EDIT: I just received a message from Turun kahvipaahtimo saying that as of today, this product is sold out. No wonder! They also shared some exciting information about their new espresso blends. I’m really looking forward to trying them. Do yourself a favor and check them out here!

– H

Feb. 25, 2019