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!

Mokafina ”Presto”—a big all-around blend

In the past week, I’ve been enjoying Presto, a big Arabica / Robusta blend from Mokafina, Belgium.

On the label, the product is described thus (translated from the Dutch):

Presto is an all-around coffee with a rich aroma, and a very full flavor with a nice balance between soft and very spicy. Ideal to start the day.

While the company does not give away the exact proportions of the ingredients, it seems that Presto has a pretty large amount of Robusta. According to the strength (?) graph on the label, this is the most potent one of the Mokafina blends that I’ve had the pleasure of trying.

As usual, I used my Bialetti Moka pot for brewing.

The bouquet was all about a harmonious mélange of nougat, vanilla, and flowers (hyacinth, perhaps, but not as strong as in, say, Lavazza Crema e Gusto). Now, such aromas are not rare in robusta-forward espressos. In this case, however, the interplay between the aromas was exceptional. Briefly, the coffee smelled fantastic.

Considering the bouquet, the flavor profile was slightly unexpected, but no less amazing. The main notes were (in this order)

  • dark chocolate
  • a pleasantly sour, cigar-like quality
  • a small tinge of vanilla
  • a hint of figs and raisins in the finish

In sum, Presto was exactly what the company promised. It was rich, flavorful, well-balanced, soft, and spicy—just like the other Mokafina blends I’ve tested. It was big, bold, and sophisticated, and yet on the other hand it was simple and easygoing enough to be called an all-around coffee. I liked it a lot!

I know I’m repeating myself, but this is important: Mokafina coffees are very, very good. In my opinion, all coffee enthusiasts deserve to have them on hand at all times. I urge every coffee shop in Finland—and elsewhere—to consider distributing Mokafina products!

Mokafina ”Da Vinci”—an espresso masterpiece

If this was a blindfold test, I would guess I was having a genuine Italian espresso made of Arabicas and Robustas (blended to the ratio of A/R 85/15 %?). However, I would be quick to add that this was no ordinary espresso blend.

Well, that’s almost exactly what this coffee is about. Only the country of origin is different.

Let’s hear it from the Belgian maker, Mokafina. On the label they state the following (translated from the Dutch):

Da Vinci is a superior coffee for the true coffee expert. Without doubt it is one of the best and darkest roasted mixes from Mokafina.

I couldn’t agree more.

The beans were slightly darker and oilier than the other Mokafina blends I’ve tried so far. Even so, the roast was nowhere near the darkness of Scandinavian ”dark roast” blends. It was only a tad darker than most Italian espresso beans.

As I ground the beans I knew the blend was going to taste fantastic. The Arabicas smelled rich and chocolatey. The familiar, pungent aroma of Robusta was there as well: floral, on the one hand, yet slightly earthy, on the other. I could tell that while the Robusta was not going to be overpowering, it was going to make itself known in the flavor profile.

Oh yes, the flavor profile. It made me dream of slow morning coffees in Rome. Just like a true Italian espresso, Da Vinci was pretty full flavored. I detected

  • chocolate
  • nuts
  • a pleasant bitterness
  • spices
  • earth
  • some florality
  • a hint of vanilla
  • maybe even a tiny hint of licorice in the background?

Even with this much flavor, the mouthfeel was not too heavy. Instead, it felt medium light, somewhat creamy and silky smooth.

In short, Mokafina Da Vinci is everything I love about espresso. It is a true masterpiece. The combination of strength and smoothness was so well made that apart from, say, Arcaffè Gorgona, I can’t think of a better ”Italian” espresso blend. In my opinion, every fan of Italian coffee needs to try it out.

Mokafina ”BGS”—Dark roast fans: This is for you!

Here’s my third blend from my new favorite coffee company, Mokafina (Belgium): BGS, or ”Black Gold Special”.

The company’s Dutch description of this 100 % Arabica blend can be translated as follows:

Black Gold Special is a strong, powerful and heart-warming coffee with a taste of chocolate.

Now that is exactly what this blend is like.

Before we get into the flavor-profile, however, I should mention that the BGS beans looked very much like the other Mokafina medium roasted Arabica blends I’ve had. Since the other blends worked extremely well with my Bialetti moka pot, it seemed only natural to brew BGS using the same device.

Right off the bat, BGS tasted somewhat darker than it looked in the bag. It was bold, strong and powerful. Yet there was a familiar, cozy feel to it. It was ”ordinary” enough to be enjoyed multiple times a day. It was simple enough not to require too much attention, which made it a very good companion for work.

The flavor profile was mainly about dark, unsweetened chocolate. There might have been tiny hints of lighter cocoa and vanilla as well, but they stayed in the background. On the other hand, there was a smoky, almost leathery quality to it that balanced out the sweeter notes. In my opinion, these two aspects complemented each other very well.

While BGS was pretty big, it was not one of those blends that are in your face, shouting at you. Even with its full flavored potency, it never felt heavy or overpowering. Instead—a lot like the other Mokafina offerings that I’ve had the pleasure of trying—, BGS was a very agreeable, well-behaved coffee blend that felt smooth, somewhat creamy, and medium-light in the mouth.

To sum up, BGS is an excellent straight Arabica blend that would appeal to fans of dark roasted coffee. I’m sure many of my Finnish friends would love it. Flavor-wise, it’s in the same ballpark with many popular Scandinavian ”dark roast” blends. Only the quality is better. When Mokafina blends finally become available in Northern Europe, I can see people rushing to stock up on BGS!

Mokafina ”Resto”—big, refined, and excellent

This is Resto, a 100% Arabica blend I recently received from Mokafina, Belgium. Thank you, I really appreciate it!

On the label, the company describes the coffee thus:

Resto is a carefully composed and subtle mixture of the noblest and most rigorously selected Arabicas. A very refined coffee enjoyment with a delicious, mild and slightly acidulated taste.

As I opened the bag, everything told me that this would be an ”Italian” experience. Accordingly, I decided to brew the coffee in my beloved Bialetti three cup moka pot. But before doing so, I obviously had to put it into my lovely Wilfa Svart Aroma grinder.

The aroma of the ground beans was very rich and chocolatey. It reminded me of naturally sweet dark chocolate, and a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder.

As I expected, both the bouquet and the actual flavor profile were dominated by semi-sweet dark chocolate notes, and a hint of dark cocoa. In this sense, Resto was not unlike its sister blend, Mokafina Santos. In comparison to Santos, however, it was more chocolatey and less cocoa-like. The chocolatey side was also balanced out by a dark bitterness, similar to that found in many good Italian espressos. As was the case with Santos, the bitterness was very pleasant, and it seemed to come ”from within” the blend. As a result, the flavor profile was pretty robust and muscular, but on the other hand, it didn’t feel harsh at all. Actually, the blend felt surprisingly light in the mouth. It was at the same time both strong and potent, and  clear and transparent.

Try to imagine an experienced, well-trained natural bodybuilder, who is confident enough not to have to display his strength to anyone. Instead, he can act like a gentleman, always being courteous to everyone around him. To me, this is what Resto was like.

In Resto, Mokafina has created another excellent, medium 100 % Arabica espresso in the true Italian style. It is big and bold enough to satisfy any espresso purist. Yet it is refined and delicate enough to be enjoyed at all times. I liked it a lot!

Oh yes, and by the way: it would work extremely well as a base for café au lait, cappuccino, or caffè latte.

I really wish Resto was made widely available here in Finland, and everywhere else! There’s no doubt it would have myriads of regular buyers. Who would be the first to distribute it?

Mokafina ”Santos”—a very smooth ”Italian” espresso

A couple of days ago, I received a generous package from Mokafina, the Belgian coffee company: five of their coffees, and three cool Mokafina branded Ecoffee Cups. Thank you so much!

All of these blends seemed to be suitable for espresso/moka pot use. Fantastic! On the label of each coffee bag, there was a simple graph describing the strength (?) of the product. I decided to start my series of Mokafina reviews from what appeared to be the ”lightest” coffee of the batch.

So, here’s my review of Mokafina Santos.

The description on the label was concise. If I could translate the Dutch text correctly, it said this:

Santos coffee is a smooth coffee with a full, smooth taste. The beans are of Brazilian origin, the largest coffee producer in the world, boasting a wide variety of flavors.

Other than that, it only said that Santos is ”100% Arabica bonen”. To me, the roast seemed to be medium—very similar to many Italian espresso blends.

Having ground the beans, I immediately knew that I was in for a treat. I was greeted by the mouthwatering aroma of semi-sweet natural cocoa, chocolate, and a hint of marzipan confectionery. So, aroma-wise, too, the coffee was very much reminiscent of some of the best Italian espresso blends.

It was clear right off the bat that I was going to brew Santos in my Bialetti Moka. Here’s what I found.

The bouquet was very engaging: cocoa, chocolate, and a slight tinge of smokiness. The mouthfeel was semi-creamy and silky smooth, just as promised. I almost thought I was having a cup of great European hot chocolate.

Flavorwise, Santos was medium-full bodied. It tasted like medium dark, naturally sweet cocoa mixed with some chocolate. In the background, I might have detected some cinnamon as well. Accompanying this, there was also a hint of a pleasant smoky bitterness to it—again, similar to that found in great Italian espressos. This bitterness was by no means a dominant feature, however. Rather, it seemed to ”come from within” the coffee, to add some robustness to the flavor profile. Even so, the overall experience was extremely well-rounded and smooth.

While I usually never add milk to my coffee, I should add that Santos worked really well as a base for café au lait. I imagine it would be the perfect base for cappuccino and caffè latte as well.

In summary, I found Santos to be a very enjoyable and smooth Italian style straight Arabica espresso. It was mainstream enough to be enjoyed by anyone, at any time. But the quality was so good that it did make me wish I had it on hand at all times. From this, we come to my last point.

At present, Mokafina coffees are not available in Finland. If you ask me, however, every coffee lover should get the opportunity to try and enjoy this blend. Therefore, in my opinion, every serious coffee importer should be in the race to be the company that distributes this fine product.

A big thank you to Mokafina for this opportunity! I can’t wait to try the next blend!

Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo ”Aino”—”Rustic” is the word

Here’s another filter coffee I recently got from Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo (Mikkeli, Finland). The bag description reads as follows (my rough translation):

AINO—light roasted coffee

The AINO coffee grows in the Southern parts of Rwanda. Among the coffees of Eastern Africa, Rwandan coffees are often the softest [roundest?], sweetest, and the most florally nuanced.

Additionally, the company tells us that the roast level is 2/6.

Since Aino is sold as a filter coffee, I brewed it in my AeroPress. (You knew it! I used my favorite inverted recipe!) The bouquet was interesting. I detected

  • red berries
  • some fresh fruits
  • nuts
  • a little something that made think of a farm house, even a stable

I kind of liked the rustic, organic aroma.

But what did it taste like? Briefly, it was quite good. Like Louhi, the other Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo product I reviewed a few days ago, Aino was pretty full-flavored, without being overpowering. At the same time, though, it felt juicier and more acidic in the mouth than the creamy Louhi.

I’ll have to admit that I was hard-pressed to find the essence of this coffee—the ”thing”, if you will. Granted, I detected several different flavors like berries, fresh fruits, nuts and… I wanted to say ”earth”, but I’m not sure that’s the right word. Let’s just say Aino was earthier and less sweet than Louhi. While all of these flavors were there, I couldn’t quite figure out whether they wanted worked together or not. Mind you, the coffee did NOT taste bad. Not at all! Actually, Aino was a relatively enjoyable middle-of-the-road filter coffee on the rustic end of the flavor spectrum. That said, it was probably not created to knock your socks off, or make you go ”wow”. To me, it was ”just coffee”—but in the positive sense.

Take that for what you will. As for me, I am looking forward to trying the other Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo blends!

My favorite AeroPress recipe?

I know. I owe you an explanation.

I have often referred to my favorite AeroPress recipe, but I’ve never given you a thorough explanation of how exactly I use the great plastic coffee maker. ”Inverted, paper filter” is hardly a proper description of my chosen recipe. It is high time I shed some light on the matter.

Before we get into it, however, I’ll admit that I didn’t invent the recipe myself. What follows is the Up Coffee Roasters (Minneapolis, MN) method I originally learned from the handground.com website. You can find it (and many other great recipes) here.

Recipe
  • Coffee: 17.5 grams
  • Grind Size: Setting 2 on Handground
  • Water: 230 grams at 195F
  • Water-to-Coffee Ratio: 13:1
  • Brew Time: 2:30
Method
  1. Pre Infuse with 50 gram of water for 40 seconds 
  2. Slowly pour water until brew reaches up to 150 grams of water 
  3. Stir at 1:15. Begin to pour again at 1:45 slowly until water reaches up to 230 grams 
  4. Stir at 2:15 Screw cap and invert Aeropress on to a heated carafe and press coffee out until you begin to hear the coffee fizzing. 
  5. Ideal end finish time 2:30.

I should add that I really like the AeroPress steel filter, for it retains all the natural oils of the coffee, thus giving me the Moka-like experience that I love so much. Recently, however, I’ve gravitated to using a paper filter, since it takes the edge off some of the harsher blends.

Furthermore, while it might be interesting to experiment with different recipes (and I probably will at some point), this is the one that works for me. Instead of trying to find the ”perfect” brewing method for each coffee, I’m interested in the coffee itself. Using the same AeroPress recipe for each filter coffee makes it easier for me to compare the coffees and figure out their characteristics. Therefore, if you see me writing something to the effect of ”I brewed this coffee in my AeroPress”, you can be sure that this is the method I used.

So, there you have it! Try it for yourself!

Kirjalan kahvipaahtimo ”Louhi”—a lot of flavor!

Last week, on my way to Northern Finland, I drove through the historic city of Mikkeli. I’d been hearing good things about Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo, the local artisan roastery, so I wanted to see what the hype was all about.

I found the Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo coffee shop in a beautiful, peaceful area close to the city center. There was a relaxing, retroish vibe to the place. The interior was beautifully designed, and yet kind of homely. The owner was kind enough to answer my questions about their products. She even offered me a cup of their new coffee to try before buying. I wish I’d had more time to sit down and try out a couple of blends!

Anyway, I purchased two of their products. This is the first one: Louhi, a medium roasted organic filter coffee. As many of you might notice, the product is named after the ”wicked queen of the land known as Pohjola in Finnish and Karelian mythology” (Wikipedia). Even the package reminded me of classic Finnish design.

Even so, the product itself is made of organic coffee from Sidamo, Ethiopia. The roast is medium, 3/6 on the Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo scale. On the label, they describe the flavor profile as multidimensional—fruity and citrusy on the one hand, nutty and herbal on the other.

This is a very apt description. Having ground the beans, I got an aroma that was fruity (think of fresh and dried fruits), nutty, and somewhat herbal.

As I always do with filter coffees, I prepared Louhi in my AeroPress.

Let me try to describe the taste in terms of color: In my opinion, the high end of the flavor spectrum was yellow and light green; it was dominated by fresh fruits and herbs. The midrange, however, was orange and light brown; it was reminiscent of dried fruits, nuts (hazelnuts?) and Digestive crackers. In my opinion, these were the main notes. Even the mouthfeel was creamy and solid (cf. the good fats found in nuts and Digestive crackers!). In other words, the nice, fruity piquancy was accompanied by the somewhat bitter herbality, and the moderately sweet taste of dried fruits, nuts, and crackers. Despite this multidimensionality, the overall flavor was very much ”together”.

To sum up, Louhi from Kirjalan Kahvipaahtimo is a very nice, medium-bodied and flavorful filter coffee that you can enjoy on any occasion. Try it! You might like it. I certainly did!