I'm going to go out on a limb here, but simply based on one bag, this might be the coffee I would choose for espresso, if I could only use one. Counter Culture Coffee's Hologram might just be my new favorite espresso for a go-to, versatile, just plain good coffee. Described on the bag as, "fruity, milk chocolate, syrupy," this might be one instance where a coffee roaster actually sells the description short. Even their more complete description of, "Hologram is our update of the classic Mocha Java flavor profile. Fruit-forward and chocolatey coffees combine to create something distinctly complex," just begins to hit on how complex but approachable, fruity but balanced, sweet but distinct this coffee really is.
The current makeup of Hologram is 30% Ethiopia Dumerso Natural, 60% Colombia Nuevo Amanecer, and 10% Kenya Kiamutugu, and roasted to a "70" on Counter Culture's 100-point scale, with 100 being the lightest roasts. The makeup of 70% washed coffee most likely gets the milk chocolate flavors and syrupy body from the Colombia component, a balanced acidity and a bit of intricacy from the Kenyan, and the big fruit bomb out of the remaining 30% of natural Ethiopian. However it comes about, the coffee was very balanced, extremely approachable, but still dynamic and complex enough that I could drink it for a long time.
Hologram pulled syrupy and classically picturesque shots with great color, crema, consistency, and body. The juicy, big red fruit syrup flavors hit you up front before turning to the milk chocolate dessert. The finish is so pleasantly lingering smooth; clean enough you don't want a drink, but sweet enough that you keep thinking about the next shot. My very first shot had too tight of a grind pulling 18 grams in to 36 grams out in 38 seconds with first drops hitting around 10-12 seconds. This was the one that grabbed my attention from a "blend" that I thought might favor milk drinks.
Over adjusting the grind for shots to run to higher, 40 gram yields, or faster flowing 25 second shots were all drinkable and good, but were respectively a little lighter in body, and a little less sweet. The sweet spot really seemed to be:
- 18 grams in an 18 gram VST basket to 33 - 36 grams out
- in 30 - 32 seconds using 200*F water.
These shots were so balanced, sweet, and sure to change the mind of anyone's preconceived notions that espresso is "bitter", yet complex enough that I think I could happily drink this one straight day after day.
As expected, the Mocha-Java profile worked well in milk too. Cappuccinos were rich and creamy with lots of milk chocolate, sure to be real crowd pleaser. This coffee is bold enough to stand up to lattes, but I did prefer it with lesser amounts of milk or without milk all together to maximize the fruit flavors.
I also used this coffee as pourover in the 02 size Hario V60 Ceramic due to Counter Culture's "#AnyCoffeeAnyBrew" approach, and had favorable results there as well. Brewed cups echoed results from espresso, with a lot of body, depth, and sweetness. The coffee was surprisingly very bass heavy in the V60, but did retain the fruit like and milk chocolate sweetness. Brewing at:
- 22 grams in to 350 grams out using 198*F water
- with a 60 gram bloom for 30 seconds, stirred
- slow spiraling from center pour to 230 grams, stir
- and final brew time of 2:20
provided great balanced cups that could really be manipulated to draw out the flavors you prefer most. A longer brew time would be sure to highlight the bass chocolate notes and syrupy sweetness, where slightly shorter times like mine made sure to keep the acidity and fruit notes incorporated.
Unexpectedly this is one of my favorite coffees of the year so far. I've had good shots of Hologram here and there in the past, but really getting a chance to work through a bag has shown just how good this coffee is. Now, I just wish a local cafe was on their wholesale program. Available for a reasonable $15.25 for a 12 ounce bag, Hologram might be my favorite coffee of 2017 so far.