It’s back to Colorado with Huckleberry Roasters’ Phantom Limb Blend. The lighter, brighter, and fruitier of their two blends, Phantom Limb rotates seasonally with this current iteration consisting of two coffees from Sidama, Ethiopia; one washed and one natural process. I really enjoy Huckleberry’s descriptions of each coffee, and they describe this one as “showcasing the unexpected, unique flavors of its components, rather than adhering to anyone’s idea of “traditional” espresso.” They expand further to include that, “even though we intend to use Phantom Limb as espresso in the two Huckleberry cafes, it’ll still taste great as brewed coffee at home. Expect jammy, fruity sweetness, tangy brightness, and a syrupy body.”
The current blend consists of Sidama Hantate Natural and Sidama Guji Grade 1 washed from the Guji area of Sidama, Ethiopia. Huckleberry closes out their tasting notes with: “raspberry, blackberry, lemon brightness, floral aromatics, and subtle cocoa.”
As espresso, this coffee is definitely sweet and bright. With a sweet berry aroma upon opening the bag, the smell throughout grinding is also full of fruit. I can see where they’re getting the subtle cocoa from and the lemon brightness comes through strong, with accompanying acidity, maybe a little too much so at that. I found shots pulled through the 18 gram VST to be a bit too bright, even for my tastes. The best shots I pulled through the VST basket were:
- 18 grams in : 35 grams out
- 27-29 seconds
- @ 198F
I found even at 33-35 grams out, the coffee wasn’t flimsy, but was not a substantial or syrupy body. So, pulling longer shots with even higher yields didn’t seem to suit this basket.
In the IMS precision 16/20 gram double, the coffee calmed down a bit with more of that berry sweetness I was chasing and more balanced acidity. This basket requires a slightly higher dose and ever so slightly coarser grind than the VST. Using the IMS basket, I pulled more preferable shots at:
- 19 grams in : 33 grams out
- 32 seconds
- 198* F
Through the V60 the coffee was smooth, sweet, very approachable, but surprisingly not as fruity or juicy as I was expecting at traditional V60 parameters. Maybe that’s not quite fair, because I have also been dipping my toes into Huckleberry’s Ethiopia Ardi, which had much more and acidity to it, though it is a natural processed coffee. Phantom Limb required a significantly coarser grind than the Colombia Resguardo through the V60, nearly a full macro adjustment coarser on the Vario. These first cups were brewed using a pretty standard 1:16.5 in 2:30 @200F. I then really tried to coax out as much of the fruit as possible, by going to a faster and faster brew time at lower temps. At 195F on the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle and a 2:15 brew time, the coffee became a bit more alive with increased juiciness, sweetness, and acidity. I would anticipate this coffee would be good through the aeropress as well.
At a reasonable $16/12 ounce bag, scoop it up with some others to take advantage of free shipping over $45. As eluded to, I’ll be working through their Ethiopia Ardi next week, so be sure to check back then.