This coffee’s sweetspot has been brewed at a strong yield, but still on the quicker side. I started brewing this coffee in the 02 size ceramic V60 around 2:30 – 2:45 total brew time and my first cup was at a 1:16.5 ratio that was just lacking any body, and tasted watery. I ended up increasing the dose to hit a 1:15 ratio and body and depth was immediately improved. I continued to tweak the coffee by grinding more coarse to speed up the total brew time, and started getting some really excellent cups.
The coffee is still on the lighter side of body and finish overall, but the complexity and nuances became immediately apparent, most notably a macadamia nut like sweetness in the finish. The smell of the dried and wet grounds draws you in with a very rich and sweet nose, and the coffee has a pleasant, balanced acidity. I can see where the roaster is coming from listing a gentle note of grapefruit and blood orange like sweetness, but these citrus notes seem to translate to sweetness in this coffee rather than acidity. PT’s also lists notes of sugar cane with red plums in the finish.
The light body can be attributed to the unique double soak processing method where the coffee is largely processed like a washed coffee, removing the mucilage, but it then goes through two 24 hour soaks, with the tank emptied and refilled in between the two soaking periods before being moved to drying patios. I suspect the cleanliness, transparency, and light body characteristics of this coffee are all attributed to this unique processing method.
For being one of the cleanest/lightest coffees I’ve ever tasted, it was very pleasing, and I’m going to be sad to finish the bag. A reasonable $15.50 for a 12 ounce bag, with free shipping over $25.
I’ve had shots of Hair Bender here and there over the years, but this is actually the first bag of Hair Bender I’ve had at home to play around with. I was lucky enough to have a friend bring it back from his recent trip to Portland, and being that I’ve been on a long straight espresso kick, this coffee has been a great reminder of how satisfying a really good cappuccino is. Described as Creamy and Composed, with notes of cherry, toffee, and fudge, this venerable blend is making for some killer 5 ounce cappuccinos. Smooth, sweet, and rich, their tasting notes with milk are spot on. As straight espresso, it’s a bit roasty, classic, old-school espresso for my current tastes, but still very good, and will be sure to please the old school espresso fans. The cherry note becomes more prominent as it cools, with the chocolate and a bit of nuttiness prevailing while still hot. To keep the coffee from being too roasty tasting, I’ve been trying to keep shots on the faster end of the spectrum. The coffee has been really easy to work with and the recipe I’m really liking is:
- 18.2 grams in : 38 grams out in the 18 gram VST basket
- 26-28 seconds at 197-198*F
There’s a reason Hair Bender has been a staple in the espresso scene for quite a while; it’s just good. The body, crema, coloring, smell, etc., are all what one would expect when they think of “espresso”. The coffee does hold up in an 8 ounce latte, but I think it really shines with less milk as a cappuccino or macchiato. $15 for a 12 ounce bag.