Paulig ”Christmas Coffee”—semi-sweet cinnamon rolls!

The other day, as I went Christmas shopping, I got this: Christmas Coffee from Paulig, the Finnish coffee giant. Nice! I had never had it before.

On the bag, Paulig does not give away a lot of information about the product. The description is pretty concise:

A delicious coffee blend, flavoured with real cinnamon and cardamom. This secret recipe, particularly for Christmas, has been perfected by our years of experience.

Other than that, the company only reveals that the roast level is 3/5. Oh yes, the symbols on the bag do indicate that the (pre-ground) product is intended for filter coffee machines or French press. Of course, I decided to make it in my AeroPress. It worked really well with my trusty plastic tube!

The bag note was very pleasant and natural. There was absolutely nothing artificial to it. The aroma was reminiscent of traditional Scandinavian cinnamon rolls and gingerbread cookies.

I could be wrong (?), but to me, Christmas Coffee appeared to be made of 100% Arabica beans (from Latin America?). That’s the way it felt, anyway. Whereas many flavored coffee products seem to be quite mild, Christmas Coffee was medium-full in body.

The flavor was naturally sweet and slightly bitter. While there might have been some midrange nuttiness to it, I found myself mostly thinking of fresh baked semi-sweet cinnamon rolls, spiced up with a hint of black pepper. The whole thing was bready, bakery-like, and somewhat spicy. I found myself enjoying it in the morning, and multiple times during the day. It was really good!

Get a bag of Paulig Christmas Coffee from your local supermarket, and see if you like it too! Merry Christmas!

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

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!

”The Friendly Cup” products—I was ripped off!

This is kind of embarrassing.

Recently, I was contacted by someone at The Friendly Cup, who claim to sell eco-friendly travel mugs and related products. Since their products looked nice, and they also offered me a discount, I decided to order two cups to try: Friendly Travel Mug (blue) and Friendly Thermos Cup (white).

I was naïve. It was a rip off.

This is what they say on their website:

The Friendly Cup is an eco-friendly wheat straw plastic that does not give off that nasty plastic sent or taste [sic!]. It is 100% biodegradable. Not only is this healthy for our environment, but it is also keeps the temperature hotter or colder for a longer period of time compared to regular plastic. The Friendly Cup allows you to drink your favorite coffee or tea in an eco-friendly cup while making the world a better place!

As someone who reads and writes for a living, I should have noticed that everything was not right. I didn’t. I was stupid.

I received the products separately from unknown Chinese addresses. There was no real packaging, just a funny, cheap plastic bag.

This is what the products were like:

  • the overall appearance was cheap
  • the drinking experience was unpleasant (Travel Mug: difficult to drink without getting air in the mouth; Thermos Cup: the threaded edge was not designed for drinking)
  • the biggest problem: neither one was watertight (I spilled coffee all over my desk)
  • in the dishwasher, the Travel Mug collected water between its two layers (ergo, no vacuum!)
  • the prices ($ 34.99 for each) were ridiculous for the quality

Ikea has better quality for 5 bucks.

The lesson:
Don’t do what I did. Instead,
1) be careful with whom you trust online, and
2) (if I may suggest) stay away from this company.

Margariti Coffee (ΚΑΦΕΣ ΜΑΡΓΑΡΙΤΗ)—Another Good Introduction to Greek Coffee

Here’s another Greek coffee blend I got from Gran Delicato, my favorite Greek coffee shop in Helsinki: καφές ΜΑΡΓΑΡΙΤΗ (Margariti Coffee).

On the bag, the manufacturer only states that this blend is made ”from the best varieties of BRAZILIAN coffees”, and that it delivers ”the best taste and the rich aroma.”

The bag note was very pleasant. Basically, it smelled like traditional Greek coffee: Arabicas, and some of that ”Greek” funk—I still can’t decide if it reminds me of mold or raw licorice. But there was more to it: a light aroma of unsweetened cocoa, nuts, and dried fruits. Nice!

Obviously, I made the coffee in my briki. It delivered an ample crema.

The flavor profile matched the bag note exactly. It was a very smooth combination of

  • medium mild ”Greek” Arabica flavor, with some of that ”licorice”
  • some cocoa-like undertones
  • a hint of dried fruits

Despite the fruity flavors, the overall vibe was semi-dry. There was no bitterness whatsoever.

OK, what’s the verdict? This blend will probably not surprise you in any way, but that’s not what it was created for. Instead, it is a pleasant, medium mild Greek coffee that you can enjoy all day. Along with Loumidis Papagalos, it could serve as a good introduction for anyone who wants to get into Greek blends. If you’re so inclined, get a bag of καφές ΜΑΡΓΑΡΙΤΗ and a briki. (In Finland, you can get both from Gran Delicato!) Then watch a couple of tutorial videos on how to make Greek coffee (how about this one?), and you’re good to go!

Mokkamestarit Vanilla coffee—Vanilla… and more!

Here’s yet another coffee from Mokkamestarit Coffee Roasting Co. (Tampere, Finland). The name, Wanhanajan vaniljakahvi, is difficult to translate exactly. Basically, it refers to vanilla coffee as it used to be in the olden days.

So, this is coffee with added flavoring. On the their website, Mokkamestarit elaborate that it tastes like vanilla cream. They also reveal that the roast level is 1/5. Obviously, the coffee is pre-ground. Other than that, there is little information on the blend.

First, let me confess: I have no idea what vanilla coffee might have tasted like in the past. Therefore, I can only compare this product with other flavored coffees that are available now.

That said, as soon as I opened the bag, I was greeted by an aroma I remember smelling as a kid. It’s a faint memory. I’m entering a confectionery store with my mom. The mouthwatering mélange of aromas: chocolate, fresh licorice, cakes, coffee, baking spices… Lovely!

I used my AeroPress for brewing this coffee. Perhaps the grind size could have been a little coarser, but it worked reasonably well with my trusty plastic tube.

Due to the added flavoring, it was somewhat difficult to tease out the flavors of the actual coffee that went into this product. I think the basic flavor profile consisted of midrange notes of chocolate, (hazel?) nuts, and a small hint of tobacco.

But what about the added flavoring? I detected some vanilla, for sure, but there was more to it. Licorice and anise? Chocolate and cream? Obviously, it could also be that the vanilla flavor accentuated the chocolatey flavors of the coffee. I’m not sure! In addition to these flavors, however, I couldn’t help but think that there was something artificial to the topping: both the flavor and the mouthfeel reminded me of glycerol. No, I’m saying it was unpleasant. It just did not feel very natural, either.

All in all, Wanhanajan vaniljakahvi was not unlike the Hawaiian blend I had a year ago, Hazelnut Coffee by Lion Coffee. Obviously, both the flavoring and the coffee itself were different. However, the overall vibe was very similar: medium mild Arabica coffee with a generous helping of added (not only natural?) flavoring. If that’s what you like, you might want to try it out! You can get it from the Mokkamestarit online store.

Mokkamestarit ”Costa Rica La Pastora Anaerobic”—Scandinavian lingonberry pie!

As I was buying this single estate coffee, the roastery had just ran out of labels for it. But no worries, I can tell you what it is: Costa Rica La Pastora Anaerobic by Mokkamestarit Coffee Roasting Co., Tampere, Finland.

Now this one was unique! As I opened the bag, I immediately knew that I was going to get something different. On the one hand, the bag aroma made me think of semi-sweet crackers—Digestives, perhaps, or maybe even gingerbread cookies. On the other hand, however, there was this high, piercing note that reminded me of lingonberries. The whole thing smelled like a traditional Scandinavian lingonberry pie.

As always, I used both the Moka pot and the AeroPress.

The mouthfeel was silky smooth. The body was somewhere between medium or medium-full.

The flavors matched the bag aroma. In the middle of the flavor spectrum, Costa Rica had a ”brown” flavor of sweet and savory Digestive pie crust that had a hint of gingerbread to it as well. In the upper register, there was this ”red” acidity of lingonberries. In the spicing department, I detected some vanilla and light baking cocoa.

Now I think I know the reason why Mokkamestarit ran out of labels for Costa Rica La Pastora Anaerobic. It is very, very good. While it was unlike any other coffee I remember tasting, I found it to be extremely enjoyable!

Mokkamestarit ”Guatemala Huehetenango”—flavorful & solid

Here’s another offering from Mokkamestarit Coffee Roasting Co., Tampere, Finland: Guatemala Huehuetenango. It is made of washed and sundried Catuai, Caturra and Paches. The roast level is 3/5.

The company describes this product as fruity. Supposedly, there are notes of melon in the aroma. They also state that the coffee is moderately acidic, and that it provides a fresh finish.

As always, I used both the Moka pot and the AeroPress for brewing. Either way, the mouthfeel was semi-creamy, and the body was medium full.

The flavor profile was not exactly monochromatic, but not super nuanced either. While I was unable to detect the melon-like aromas, I did get some fruity and fresh flavors. On the other hand, there was also quite a bit of nuttiness that had a nice, bitter edge to it. I found myself thinking of bitter almonds. These two aspects—the high, fruity flavors, and the midrange nuttiness—worked so well together that most of the time I didn’t even think about them as distinct from each other. Instead, I just enjoyed the ”one” solid, medium-full flavor.

In sum, Guatemala Huehuetenango was a nice experience. To be honest, it did not blow me away like Etiopia Yirgacheffe Reko did, but I liked it quite a bit nonetheless. It is very good! I think you should give it a try. Check out Mokkamestarit, and get yourself some!

Mokkamestarit ”Etiopia Yirgacheffe Reko”—’S Wonderful

The other day, I got the opportunity to visit the famous Mokkamestarit Coffee Roasting Co., Tampere, Finland.

This is one of the coffees I purchased: Etiopia Yirgacheffe Reko. It is made of washed Heirloom from Kochere district, Ethiopia. The roast is light (1/5). On the label, the aroma is described as being reminiscent of nutmeg and apricot. They also mention it has a tea-like quality. The acidity is said to be grape-like.

The aroma of the ground beans was amazing. It reminded me of fresh fruits and berries. It also had a caramelly nuttiness to it.

I decided to start with my AeroPress. Before I noticed, my coffee grinder was almost empty. It was that good. Luckily, I had just enough coffee left to make one last cup in the moka pot. That way, it tasted even better!

The mouthfeel was creamy, perhaps even oily. It felt as if the coffee ”melted” and spread all over my mouth. For a brief moment, it also left a nice coating on my palate. Fantastic!

The flavor profile consisted of two main parts: The high end of the spectrum was dominated by the acidity of fresh fruits, and perhaps some berries. On the other hand, the midrange was all about the naturally sweet, caramelly nuttiness. While these two aspects were easily distinguishable, they matched each other so well. It was like the perfect marriage between the two. In addition to this, there might have been a hint of vanilla as well.

Oh yes! I liked this. A lot.

You owe it to yourself to check out Etiopia Yirgacheffe Reko from Mokkamestarit. It is truly wonderful.

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!