"Whether it is a blend or or a Single Origin Espresso, our goal is accentuate beautiful coffees. We avoid forcing our coffees into a preconceived box when creating a blend. Quite the opposite, we think it is fun to combine coffees and see what exciting new profiles we get. We hope you agree and enjoy this volume of Ontology."
The principles behind the creation and approach of Commonwealth Coffee's espresso blend are ones I can get behind and respect. The type of approach that should really be applied to roasting any coffee. Being that they build some room for natural variance in their espresso blend, Commonwealth does differentiate them by Volume number. Volume IX I'm working with this week consists of a naturally processed Ethiopia Chelelektu and Finca Sierra Nevada from El Salvador. The coffee is lightly roasted yet developed with tasting notes of jasmine, plum, caramel, and baker's chocolate.
I personally found those tasting notes to be a bit modest of how lightly the coffee is roasted, as there were plenty of bright tropical fruits and acidity present as well. The coffee tended to favor the more light and bright third wave style espresso, than a usual house blend, but it was still developed enough to retain balance and drinkability. I preferred the increased acidity and fruit flavors the VST basket provided, over the IMS precision double, pulling shots at:
18 grams in to 33 grams out in 27 seconds at 203*F
I kept shots on the shorter side to retain body and intensity, as the coffee was on the thinner end of the spectrum in crema and mouthfeel. Certainly not in a negative way, but as would be expected for a lighter roasted coffee. You can see that compared to an African blend offered by next week's roaster, Case Coffee, the coffee is definitely roasted a bit lighter, with a dark tan color. I personally love espressos like this, and this one had some fleshy, juicy fruit sweetness, that I'm not quite sure I could put a descriptor on, but was enjoyable nonetheless.
The coffee worked well in milk too, and can just barely itself up in an 8 ounce latte, though I much preferred this as a cappuccino. Available for $16.50 for a 12 ounce bag, with free shipping over $50 here.