Taking a break from single origins this week and trying out a reputable blend from a reputable roaster. Southpaw is the lighter, zippier espresso blend offering from Topeka, Kansas based roaster and shop PT’s Coffee. PT’s is one of the original players in specialty coffee and has been on the quest for better coffee since the early 1990’s.
This offering of Southpaw is a blend of Colombian and Ethiopian coffees and is described as having “Jabs of fruit, sugar, and spice with a floral aroma and clean finish. Featuring notes of caramel, peach and sugar cane, Southpaw delivers a delightful punch.” As straight espresso, it has been just a really good espresso. It’s sweet and interesting, but balanced and very approachable. PT’s recommends pulling this coffee at:
- Dose: 20 grams
- Yield: 32 – 34 grams
- Time: 26 – 28 seconds
- Drop: 6 – 8 seconds (bottomless filter)
- Rest: 8 – 12 days off roast
- This espresso is best dialed in as a straight, slightly ristretto shot.
They use 20 gram VST baskets standard, so I have been dosing 18 grams in the 18 gram VST basket, pulling shots as low as 30 grams and as high as 42 with great results. I have also varied time from 28 seconds to 35, and have found 28-30 seconds to strike the right balance, as the longer pulls started to become astringent and unbalanced.
Shots pulled longer, out to 41-42 grams were very sweet, smooth, and extremely approachable. This would be a great first espresso to someone that thinks of espresso as being burnt, bitter, and harsh. The coffee retained good body and crema even at these long parameters, but running them more on the ristretto side really shows how this coffee got its name. Ristretto shots pack a dense syrupy sweetness that still keeps it’s clean finish, but keeps you wanting more.
This has been a really pleasing espresso to work with because it’s also equally as good in small milk drink. As a cappuccino (5 oz), the coffee drops some of the fruit and floral notes in favor of rich sugary caramels and some creamy nuttiness.
Coffees like these are so fun to work with because they’re just interesting enough to keep you excited, but balanced enough to be approachable. If you’re a #whatsCTpulling veteran, you’ll also know how much I appreciate that PT’s still sells their espresso in proper 1 and 5 pound quantities. $20 / 1lb bag and free shipping on orders over $25 here.
In the coming weeks, I have some more exciting coffees from PT’s already in the works, but be sure to check them out in the meantime. They’re particularly known for sourcing some of the best coffees and working with the best farmers in the world to bring the highest quality they can.