Honey Badger has almost notoriously become a tricky or more difficult to dial in espresso blend. Season, intended to be in your face sweet and bright, and typically favoring high yields and high extractions. This seemed like it was a great candidate for testing the limits of the Versalab M4, and it did quite well, within its window. That window seemed to be on the smaller side, pulling gassy when the coffee was less than 7 days post roast and falling off a bit beyond the 15 days post roast window. Within that window, I found finely ground 18.0 gram doses in an 18 gram VST basket to work well when pulled to 50 grams out with 15 seconds of preinfusion, 30 seconds pump on, and 5 seconds back at line pressure, using uncharacteristically cool 197*F water. Intelligentsia suggests pushing yields even further, targeting 58 grams out in 40 seconds, looking for notes of raspberry, tangerine, and brown sugar.
I would say it had a lot of complex, bright, juicy, thick sweetness and the tricky nature of it kind of adds to the fun of this crazy hobby. This blend is $18.00 for a 12 ounce bag, and considering the caliber of Ethiopian coffees mixed in, that’s a pretty decent deal in my book.
Unfortunately, this one mainly saw batch brew duties, which it fortunately did very well with. Using the Bonavita TS1901 brewer and the Baratza Vario with steel brew burrs, this coffee provided rounded, juicy, but balanced cups, pot after pot. The coffee was pretty responsive and versatile, responding well to differences in brew ratios and grind fineness depending on what notes you were hoping to highlight. $19.00 for a 12 ounce bag and free shipping over $40.
This one was particularly appealing to me as I was trying to decide between the Burundi and Kenyan coffees Intelligentsia was also offering, packing both! I really enjoyed this bright and juicy coffee that had some spiced complexity, floral nuance, and plenty of juicy acidity. It worked well as espresso too, though I didn’t get to pull too many shots with it. Using the same grind setting as Honey Badger, it pulled slightly faster to similar yields, though this also seemed to really suit it well, so I never messed with it. This is one that I am tempted to buy more of it, as it represents the good side of acidity and was very tasty. It too was just $18.00 for a 12 ounce bag.
I promise I don’t get any compensation or support from Mountain Air, since if you’ve been reading meticulist since the beginning, it’s a common go-to recommendation, but when I recently realized I was running low on coffee on a Thursday morning, I was trying to think where I could order coffee from and get it early the following week at the latest, that would also be good without me having to try and research and debate which offerings would be best, and Mountain Air is the first roaster that comes to mind. And not only that, the coffee was in my mailbox that Saturday! Here’s what I got:
This coffee might be one of the biggest, fullest bodied Kenyan’s I’ve ever had. It was much fuller in body and less fruited than most African coffees with big sweet caramelized sugars and low acidity. Brewed cups seem to be better suited to 1:16.5 – 1:17 ratios to provide a bit more nuance and clarity, targeting around 2:30 brew times.
The tasting notes on this one are cherry, raspberry, and blackberry, and I find these really start to come out as the coffee cools, and in the form of fruit juice more than pure flavors. As espresso, I’m pulling this one with 5 seconds of preinfusion at 202*F and 35 - 40s of pump on to around 40 grams out in getting really nice, not too in your face African single origin shots, but more something along the lines of someone that’s looking to try something different but doesn’t want an extreme.
I don’t know what it is but there’s something about a really good Colombian coffee that’s just hard to beat. Luckily, Aide Moncayo falls into this category brewing up some cups that are perfect for sipping all weekend long; sweet with a proper hint of acidity and rounded body that kind of perfectly embodies what you think of when you think of a “good cup of coffee”. This coffee was really just a special coffee in that it was just so “good” not because of any quality in particular. Brewed cups were my favorite, but it proved very versatile and pulled nice shots at 18.0 grams in an 18g VST basket to 37-40g out with 5 seconds preinfusion and 30s pump on at 201*F. This coffee also made for a reach and creamy cappuccino that really made me appreciate the versatility that much more. This coffee is only $13.15 for 250 grams, shipping included, and if you order 4 or more bags (which you should), it’s an additional 30% off.
I don’t have anything in the pipeline yet, but I think I’m going to finally place an order from Chromatic Coffee. I had a chance to stop by their cafe in downtown San Jose last week and had a great 1&1 of their rich Gamut Espresso and a nice Kalita Wave pourover of Papua New Guinea Kunjin. Of course right after I left I saw Chromatic posting on social media about how great their new seasonal Holy Mountain blend is. Upon visiting their site I discovered they’re offering free shipping on orders over $16 all summer, which puts this pretty high up on the short list. If you’re tasting along or have any suggestions of theirs, please comment below!
As always, thanks for reading, if you have a new coffee or roaster to try, please comment below, be sure to support the site by shopping through any of the Amazon links on this page, let me know if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or good vibes.