Bravo ο Κλασικος—The Greek Classic

Last week, as I happened to be in the neighborhood, I visited Gran Delicato, my favorite Greek coffee shop in Helsinki. In addition to their delicious sandwiches, they offer a variety of Greek groceries, including coffee. This time, I got two new (to me) blends. Here’s the first one: Bravo ο Κλασικός (”the Classic”).

Now, I’m not very good at modern Greek, but since I do study ancient Greek texts, I was able to get a grasp of the bag description. Basically, it only said this:

BRAVO Κλασικός is made from the finest varieties of coffee and roasted with taste, slowly and steadily, based on our knowledge from 1926 until today.

Other than that, they only mentioned the ”rich aroma and authentic taste” of the product.

As I opened the bag, I got the aroma of basic Arabica coffee, accompanied by some of that familiar Greek funk. Some people call it a moldy smell. Others think it is reminiscent of raw licorice. Whatever it is, I like it a lot. There was not a lot of it though. For instance, the Turkish classic, Sade Dibek Kahvesi from Artukbey is much more smelly in this sense.

Obviously, I used my briki for brewing this one.

Flavor-wise, the coffee was pretty much what I expected it to be: basic grocery store Arabica coffee, with some of that ”Greek thing”. While the coffee flavors were OK, they were somewhat sharper than the ones in Loumidis Papagalos, the other Greek classic. That said, in the Bravo, there was more of that raw licorice flavor.

Nice crema, don’t you think?

While I may not call Bravo ο Κλασικός anything spectacular—it is a grocery store blend, after all—, it surely is a nice middle-of-the-road Greek coffee that you can enjoy all day. I liked it! You should give it a try! In Finland, you can get it from the good folks at Gran Delicato, Helsinki.

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 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!

Finca las Ventanas—Colombian coffee for any occasion

For a couple of months now I have wanted to try this coffee.

Finca las Ventanas is a coffee farm run by a Finnish family in the village of Confines, Santander, Colombia. They specialize in Castillo and Colombia varietals. The coffee is hand picked, washed, and sun dried. The result is this single estate coffee which is named after the farm.

On the label, the company gives us the following information (my literal translation):

Taste: Nutty chocolate, red berries
Structure [body/mouthfeel?]: Creamy, full bodied, balanced, soft
Roast: A roast slightly darker than medium that brings out the chocolatey and nutty flavors, while retaining the fresh fruitiness.

Now that is exactly what Finca las Ventanas was all about. It was precisely what you would expect good Colombian coffee to be.

I tried it in both the AeroPress and the Bialetti moka pot.

The midrange flavors of nutty chocolate and cocoa were in the starring role. Their natural sweetness was balanced out by the soft acidity that made me think of red berries. There might have been a small hint of fresh fruits as well. These acidic flavors were more pronounced in the moka version. Either way, the mouthfeel was medium creamy, and the overall experience was well balanced.

In my opinion, Finca las Ventanas was both nuanced and middle-of-the-road enough to be enjoyed on any occasion. To me, it was a nice complement to the protein pancake I like to have for breakfast.

In Finland, Finca las Ventanas is easily available. I got mine from Muki, the great little gourmet coffee shop in Töölö, Helsinki. It is also available in several supermarkets in the Helsinki area, and on the Finca las Ventanas website. If you like Colombian coffee, check it out!

Muki ”Töölö-kahvi”—both exquisite and rustic

Töölö-kahvi is the other blend I recently received from Muki, the Helsinki based gourmet coffee store. Like Muki-kahvi, their great everyday blend, Töölö-kahvi is blended and roasted for the company by Holmen Coffee, Helsinki.

Both the label and the Muki web shop site offer little information on the blend. Basically, we are just told that it is medium roasted coffee. But as I wrote earlier, I think that’s kind of cool. Let the product speak for itself!

I was told that this coffee would work well with the French press. Now, while I do own a French press, I prefer to use my AeroPress instead. So, as I always do, I ground the beans medium coarse, and followed my favorite AeroPress recipe.

First things first: I really enjoyed this blend. That said, it took me a couple of days to figure out how to articulate what it tasted like.

In my opinion, there were three levels to the flavor profile:

  1. The high end of the flavor spectrum was dominated by the pleasant acidity and natural sweetness of fresh, exotic fruits. If I try to describe the flavor in terms of color, it felt yellow and light green. This was the easy part.
  2. In the midrange, I detected a tiny hint of semi-sweet chocolate.
  3. Lastly, in the baritone department, there was this savory quality, which I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first. Ultimately, I decided that it was a bready, bakery-like flavor. More specifically, it made me think of sourdough, perhaps even Finnish rye bread.

Now, I’ll admit that this may sound like a funny combination. But let me tell you: I found it to be very, very pleasant. While the flavor profile was mostly fruity, on the one hand, and savory, on the other, there was just enough sweetness as well. Furthermore, it was both exquisite and rustic at the same time. Whether I tried to tease out the subtle flavors, or if I just enjoyed a cup while thinking about other things, Töölö-kahvi was enjoyable either way.

If that sounds like your cup of tea (coffee?), visit the Muki B&M store in Helsinki, or go to their web shop, and get some. I can highly recommend it!

Lastly, a big thank you to Muki and Holmen Coffee for some great coffees! I had a lot of fun reviewing them!

Muki ”Muki-kahvi”—”Scandinavian” coffee made better!

Last week, I made my first visit to Muki (Finnish for ”mug”), Helsinki, the cool brick and mortar store that specializes in high quality coffee, tea, chocolate, and other related delicacies. They offer a nice selection of interesting coffees, ranging from classic Italian espressos to the exquisite products of several Finnish micro roasteries.

As for me, I wanted to try the coffees blended and roasted for Muki by Holmen Coffee, the Helsinki based artisan roastery. The man in charge, Ari-Matti, was kind enough to offer me both of these blends to try. Thank you so much!

The first one is this: Muki-kahvi. Now, on the label, there is little information on the ingredients. The Muki website, too, only reveals that this is a dark roasted (level 4/5) ”city coffee”. That’s kind of cool. I mean, let the product speak for itself!

Since I was told that this coffee was made with the regular coffee machine user in mind, I decided to try it in my AeroPress. I generally don’t use a coffee machine anyway. Oh, as you can probably guess, I used my favorite AeroPress recipe for brewing.

First off, the mouthfeel of Muki-kahvi was quite light and juicy. Even so, the body was not weak by any means. Perhaps ”medium” would be the word to describe it.

The flavor profile was quite interesting. Admittedly, after the first sip I went: ”OK, this is like… regular coffee.” But after a couple of cups, I started to get it. The juiciness of the mouthfeel made me think of (red?) berries. Surprisingly, though, there were no berry flavors to be detected. Instead, I got

  • nutty bitterness
  • caramel
  • dried fruits

These midrange flavors, mixed with some ”soft” acidity made for a very pleasant combination. On the one hand, Muki-kahvi was pleasantly bitter, which made it a good choice for my morning cup. On the other hand, the blend had enough natural sweetness to balance out the bitterness. This resulted in a flavor profile that was robust enough, yet quite soft and pleasant.

Apparently, Muki-kahvi was not created to knock your socks off with exotic flavors. Instead, its purpose appears to be to satisfy the regular coffee lover on any occasion. This is exactly what it does, and it does it really well. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes the classic Finnish or Swedish grocery store blends but wishes to have something better.

Pay a visit to Muki and get yourself some Muki-kahvi! In addition to the cool brick and mortar store, the good folks at Muki have recently opened their new web store, too. Check them out!

E’s World Coffee ”Two Group”—the epitome of DARK roasted coffee

If you read my last review, you could tell that I loved the dark roasted One Grouphead blend sent to me by Mr. Earnest Rawlins, the award winning roast master of E’s World Coffee (Anchorage, AK). My second blend from E’s World is this: Two Group. On the company website, the blend is described as follows:

A blend of South and Central American coffee focusing on the nuttiness and cacao characteristics of the beans. Making a bold, full bodied blend of hazelnut, caramel, vanilla and dark sweet chocolate. Best enjoyed as an espresso, but never limited.

On the bag, the roast level was categorized as ”Blackest”—the darkest roast made by E’s World Coffee. Indeed, the beans were very dark and oily.

As usual, I brewed the coffee in my Bialetti Moka pot.

In the bouquet I detected dark chocolate, molasses, some cinnamon, and perhaps a tinge of hyacinth-like florality. The aroma was absolutely mouthwatering. Somehow, it made me think of Christmas. It also made me anticipate a flavor profile that’s both bold and well-behaved.

So, how did it taste? Two Group was more dark chocolate forward than the slightly lighter One Grouphead. That said, it was no chocolate bomb. The chocolatey aspect was balanced out by a very pleasant spicy piquancy that made me think of pine needles. Add to that the midrange sweetness of molasses, and a higher vanilla note in the finish, and you get the picture.

Again, the mouthfeel was extremely smooth and creamy. The big, bold flavors were always there, but instead of being in your face, they were polite enough to come in after the pleasant introduction made by the mouthfeel.

In Two Group, Mr. Rawlins has created a true masterpiece. It is both dark, bold, and potent AND very well-behaved, and sophisticated. While I usually seem to gravitate towards lighter roasted coffee, Two Group certainly made me reconsider my position about dark roasted coffee. It must be one of the most pleasant black blends I’ve had to date. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

If you like very dark roasted espresso, you have to try Two Group. Do yourself a favor and order some from E’s World Coffee!

E’s World Coffee ”One Grouphead”—the most enjoyable dark roasted coffee I’ve had

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Instagram posts by Mr. Earnest Rawlins, the award-winning roast master, barista trainer, and coffee equipment expert at E’s World Coffee, Anchorage, AK. His colorful packaging designs and the general positive vibe have really caught my attention.

One day in August, I received a message on Instagram. It was from Mr. Rawlins himself! He was asking whether I would like to try some of his coffees. Oh wow, absolutely! Thank you so much, sir!

Before we get into the first review, however, let us look at some of the general information E’s World Coffee provides on their blends. On the company website, they tell us:

E crafted the blends so that One (#1 GH) and Two (#2 GH) would be excellent for Espresso and Milk based drinks, while Three (#3 GH) and Four (#4 GH) were for auto drip and manual brew methods. Needless to say you can use them either way […].

My first review is on One Grouphead blend. Now, the label indicates that E’s World Coffee products come in four degrees of roast: ”Blackish”, ”Black”, ”Blacker”, and ”Blackest”. One Grouphead belongs to the ”Blacker” category, that is to say, the second darkest roast.

Indeed, the beans were really dark and oily. The appearance and the smoky bag note reminded me of those Black Rifle Coffee Company products I love so much, and some of the darker blends by Starbucks (without the ”Starbucks note”, of course!).

According to the E’s World Coffee website, One Grouphead is

[a] mix of medium and dark roast South American coffees with highlights of caramel, mild citrus, roasted almond and chocolate. A rich full body, blended specifically for espresso and milk based drinks. It can also be enjoyed as a brewed bold cup of coffee.

Since the blend is ”blended specifically for espresso”, I decided to make it using my go-to machine for brewing espresso blends: the Bialetti moka pot.

The bouquet was exactly what I expected: chocolatey and smoky. Flavor-wise I detected…

  • unsweetened dark chocolate (think of those 75 % dark chocolate bars)
  • a pleasant bitterness: roasted almonds and some smokiness
  • caramel
  • citrusy notes
  • a faint hint of salty liquorice and cinnamon in the finish

The one thing that really surprised me was this: Despite the boldness of the flavor profile, the mouthfeel was extremely smooth and creamy. There was absolutely no raggedness around the edges. The big, bold, and bitter flavors seemed to come in slowly ”from the inside” of the flavor profile. Just amazing.

In summary, One Grouphead is an extremely well made blend. It is easily the most enjoyable (very) dark roasted coffee I’ve had in ages. If you prefer your coffee black, roasted in the true American style, you should hurry to the E’s World Coffee website and get some of their products. You won’t be disappointed!

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!