First up from a roaster out of Nashville, Tennessee (Crema Coffee Roasters) that I've been looking to try is Tres Banderas, their espresso blend comprised of three coffees. Coffees from Honduras and Guatemala provide the back bone, body, and rich chocolatey notes, while an Ethiopia Shakiso provides a bit of fruit and acidity to the mix.
Crema recommends a traditional 1 : 2 ratio in 24-27 seconds, so that's where I dialed the coffee in to, and I can't say their wrong. Using an 18 gram VST basket, I pulled most shots to around 33 grams out in 25-27 seconds at 198*F. I found keeping it slightly cooler and at a slightly faster extraction allowed the fruit note to come out and the result was a big, rich chocolate covered cherry. Maybe a dark chocolate or a dark cherry to be more exact, as it did have some of those deep, stewed sugar bitter flavors, like a chocolate with a high cacao content.
Because of this traditional profile, this coffee was perfect to serve around the holidays, offering a more traditional Norther Italian style espresso for those that want it straight, and that big chocolatey taste for big milk drinks.