I'm not sure how I came across Tala Coffee Roasters, but I'm sure their tagline "Sweet, Beautiful Coffees" had something to do with encouraging me to give them a try. Based out of Libertyville, Illinois, their packaging is nice and clean, their offerings are varied and reasonably priced, and their coffee is pretty tasty. This washed Bourbon varietal from Burundi is said to have heavy flavors of syrupy cola, juicy plum, and dark chocolate.
Brewed on the slower side, say longer than 3:30 for a 20 gram dose, the colas and dark chocolate come forward with a rich, but clean cup. When brewed closer to 2:30, the coffee is more transparent, delicate, and smooth. So, it's easy to say that brew times around 3:00 for a 20 gram or so dose really strike a nice balance, though this coffee proves its versatility on both ends of the spectrum.
As espresso, that longer and richer end of the spectrum is where you want to be. Shots that were brewed in the mid 20 second range were often unbalanced and with a bit of a whacky after taste. Pulled closer to 35 seconds in a 1:2 ratio, a plum like syrup makes up the aroma and sweetness, while that dark chocolate flavor provides some backbone that lingers.
This coffee holds up in milk, though I wouldn't push it too far past a cappuccino, where it will start to get lost. Overall, I'm really pleased with such a tasty coffee for only $14 for a 12 ounce bag, with free shipping on orders over $40.