I've always loved Ritual's seasonal espresso blend and their single origin espresso offering, under the Sweet Tooth line, but admittedly, I have not had much in the way of their non-espresso specific coffees, so here we are to correct that. This washed Bourbon varietal comes from the Manyana washing station in the central part of Rwanda and features tasting notes of, "Rock Road Fudge, Navel Orange, and Licorice."
When brewed through the Hario V60 the coffee was very sweet, balanced, and easy to drink, but not overly transparent. I tried brew ratios up to 1 : 17 to try an coax a bit more clarity and flavor separation from the coffee, but ultimately found it ended up loosing some of its punch at the weaker brew ratios. With that said the coffee has a nice dried fudge and toffee sweetness and backbone with a touch of citrus acidity and great lingering finish. I wasn't able to pick out what that lingering flavor was until I brewed the coffee as espresso and found gobs of licorice. Pushing brew times long or short didn't seem to influence the balance a lot, but I did find a slightly cooler water temperature seemed to create a slightly sweeter cup. The brew recipe I settled on was:
- 1: 15.5 in the 02 size Hario V60 Ceramic using 197*F water from the Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle.
- 3x dried coffee weight in water added for 30 second stirred bloom
- Pour to 200 grams for a 20 gram dose (a little more a little less for larger or smaller doses, respectively), stir
- Additional pours to final yield with a brew time of 2:30 - 2:45 for a 15 gram dose up to 3:00 - 3:15 for a 23 gram dose.
I managed to eek out a couple of shots using this coffee as espresso as well. The coffee was definitely more demanding, and didn't provide as pretty looking extractions as their espresso specific offerings, but tasted good otherwise. Shots pulled at 18 grams in an 18 gram VST basket to 29-32 grams out in 32 seconds or so, cutting the pump out for the last 5-6 seconds and letting the shot run out, resulted in more of the dried fudge or bakers chocolate with a hint of nutty toffee. As the coffee cooled though, a very sweet licorice flavor lingered on the tongue for a long time. I don't typically like a traditional licorice flavor but this was really good, sweet with some tingling spice and a pleasant herbal staying power.
Overall, I think it's pretty fair to say that Ritual is holding down the brewed coffee game just as well as they are their espresso offerings. I'm not sure why, but this one is not available on their website, but was $17.50 for a beautifully packaged 12 ounce bag.