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Elcee's #12roasterschallenge

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Hi all,


As I've only joined the forum recently, this is my belated post. I love this idea since trying new coffee beans is one of the most enjoyable aspects of specialty coffee for me.


I also struggle to make a decision regarding my next bag so trying new ones out is a great way to narrow the field for me :)


I mainly brew filters using a kalita #185 or v60.




I started the year off with a washed Guatemalan from April Coffee roasters in Copenhagen. I thought this one was very elegant and an excellent roast. Easy to brew and the tasting notes were accurate.


Next up was a washed one from El Salvador roasted by Origin coffee. I liked this one. Lots of red berry fruit and a peachy flavours.



Following on was a washed Rwandan from a local coffee company here in Edinburgh, Machina Espresso. They're new to roasting and its been fascinating to hear about their developments. This one has a very lively acidity to it. For me the flavours were red wine, rhubarb and redcurrants.


I finished January with a natural Ethiopian from Pact Coffee. This was a very easy coffee to brew. It was creamy and loaded with apricot and peach flavours.


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Next up was February and this was a fantastic coffee month.


I started with my first Tanzanian coffee courtesy of Round Hill Roastery. I didn't quite get this one. It was nice but I didn't really get the tropical fruits described in the flavour notes.


Following that were two of my favourite coffees ever.


First was a Honduran from Pact Coffee. This was simply divine. Very balanced with flavours of dark chocolate and a cherry acidity. Easy drinking and would be a real crowd pleaser.



Then we had a naturally processed Ethiopian from Square Mile. This was loaded with mango and lychee flavours. A deliciously clean and sweet coffee.



I ended the month with my first specialty coffee from Ecuador roasted by Williams & Johnson here in Edinburgh. This was a delicate coffee. Sweet, bright and floral.


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I realise I am very much behind on this so it is about time I posted an update!


In March I decided to try out James Gourmet Coffee after reading the positive reviews here and so I ordered two bags.


The first one was a naturally processed Rwandan.



Origin: Rwanda BUF Nyarusiza & Remera washing stations

Varietal: Red Bourbon 100%

Process: natural or dry process.

Notes: Sickly sweet fig and currants leading to a subtle balanced acidity when cool.


I absolutely loved this one and it lived up to the hype. The aroma from the beans was stunning. I found it easy and forgiving to brew. It was great from the first cup to the last. For me it was super clean and fruity. I totally identified with the website's description of "coffee jelly beans". If I had to give more traditional notes I'd say there were flavours of berries, dried fruity and a hint of rum. The mouth feel was quite full almost creamy.


The second coffee was a washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.



Origin: Ethiopian Beloya

Varietal: Yirgacheffe

Process: Washed.

Notes: Complex fruit sugars, from tropical to jammy with layers of citrus.


Again, what an aroma these beans had. For me the flavour notes were on point. It was a fruity floral bomb with a syrupy/jammy mouth feel. Again like the Rwandan this was very easy to brew. I did filters on my CCD, kalita and v60 and honestly, they were all great even when I was laxer with technique.


As you can probably tell I was really impressed with these two from James Gourmet. Last week I ordered a naturally processed Ethiopian from James Gourmet which I am very excited to get my hands on and try. :p


March's the 3rd bag was from local Edinburgh Roaster Machina Espresso which I picked up from one of their shops.



Origin: Rwandan Musasa Ruli (auction lot)

Varietal: Red Bourbon

Process: Washed.

Notes: Blackcurrant, dates, mandarin, juicy.


I didn't get on so well with these beans. I found it hard to bring out the fruity acidity I was expecting from a washed Rwandan. Some of the fruity flavours were there but I found they were overshadowed by a smokey taste. Perhaps this was what they meant by dates? Whatever it was I didn't enjoy it as much. I went back and forth trying different filter methods and the smokiness persisted. When I don't get on so well with a bag of beans, I often worry whether its a failing in my brewing or the beans themselves. This was on the batch brew at one of Machina's shops so I took the opportunity to try it. I found that to taste very similar to what I was brewing. Whether that means it was the beans or my expectations I don't know.


As I generally enjoy Machina's stuff I will buy from them again but honestly, this one wasn't great for me.


So far I have tried 8 different roasters this year and I'm looking forward to sampling the offerings of many more. I will be much prompter with April's update :)

Edited by Elcee

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Time for April's update. In this month I went through four different coffees.


The first was the LSOL from April Coffee (https://www.aprilcoffeeroasters.com/collections/frontpage/products/filter-colombia-la-alsacia?variant=37405301007)


Origin: Columbia.

Variety: Caturra.

Process: Washed.

Notes: Nougat, Brown sugar and pear.


I had a great time with the LSOL. It was such fun to try a coffee blindly. It was great to read other people's experiences with it and comparing notes. I found this very forgiving to brew and it was such an easy coffee to drink. For me I found it smooth, clean and sweet. I got flavours of smooth chocolate, pear and peach (perhaps this was the nougat). My favourite way to brew this was in the kalita #185.


Next up I tried a new roaster for me which was Pharmacie Coffee, which I got two coffees from, a Kenyan and Ugandan.





Origin: Kenya.

Variety: SL28 and SL34.

Process: Washed.

Notes: Ripe Plum, clementine and satsuma.


I brewed this mainly using the Kalita #185 and V60 02. I got sweet fruity flavours of plum and orange. At first I was surprised at the lower level of acidity compared to other Kenyans I've had but after a couple mugs I found this coffee's sweetness and acidity to be very balanced and pleasant.




Origin: Uganda

Variety: SL28, SL14 and Indigenous.

Process: Washed.

Notes: Peach, stone fruit and rich chocolatey body.


I think this is the first coffee I've had from Uganda so I was very excited to try it. I brewed this using both pouovers and CCD with the later being my favourite. I thought the flavour notes were spot on. My favourite brewing method for this was using the CCD with 21 grams to 350 ml with a 40 min steep. This resulted in a really smooth cup with flavours of peach, plum and chocolate. I think both this and the Kenyan would go down as crowd pleasers.


For my last bag of the month I returned to James Gourmet and once again they did not disappoint.




Origin: Ethiopia

Varietal: Yirgacheffe

Process: Natural.

Notes: Purple fruits, black tea and grapefruit citrus.


This was fab. I found it quite different to other natural yirgacheffes. I got those classic flavours of blueberries and strawberries but also found the black tea and grapefruit to really standout pleasantly. As with some natural African coffees I found it to drain slowly with pourover methods so I favoured grinding it on the coarser side. They were good but I enjoyed it best with long steeps in the CCD. All in all it was great.


I think I'm at 9 different roasters so far.


Onwards to May where I think I will have 3 new roasters to add :)

Edited by Elcee

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It is time to update this as May is coming to an end. I tried four different coffees from four new roasters this month.


First up was a washed Kenyan from Colonna Coffee,


Origin: Kenya.

Varietal: SL28 & SL34.

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: Ripe fruit, black currant, lime, blood orange and citrus.


I enjoyed this one a lot. I found it quite delicate and in flavour. For me it was sweet, crisp and windy with flavours of blackcurrant, citrus and tart apple. I mainly brewed this with pour overs. I found the flavours got a bit lost in longer immersion brews.


Next up was a Columbian from Dark Arts Coffee.


Origin: Columbia

Varietal: Caturra, Castillo.

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: Sweet, strutctured, balanced, tropical, passion fruit, vanilla.


Sometimes I struggle with the "tropical fruits" flavour notes as it is so broad I am not sure what to expect. I found this one sweet and clean, not that acidic but balanced. I described this one as a mushed up yellow fruit smoothy with vanilla extract thrown in. My favourite brews of this were long steeps in the CCD.


Next up was two from Crankhouse Coffee. I want to give a shout out to Dave from Crankhouse. We had a really interesting conversation via email about these two and it was fascinating to hear his perspective.


Origin: Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.

Varietal: Rasuna

Process: Natural.

Roaster's Notes: Pineapple, banana chip, sweet spices.


I got this coffee out of curiosity as I had never seen a naturally processed Indonesian before and wow it was a strange one. My first brew of this could have been mistaken for chamomile tea. Once I'd tamed it, I found it fruity but with distinctive chamomile flavour. In pourovers I got a sweet pineapple tang with a chamomile finish. I found longer immersion brews to really bring out a sweet and smooth banana taste. This is not a traditional coffee at all but well worth trying if you fancy something out there.



Origin: Peru

Varietal: Yellow and red caturra

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: Creme Brulee, chocolate orange.


I found this coffee to be a real crowd pleaser. The friendly sort that you could serve to most coffee drinkers and they would enjoy it. In both pourover and immersion brews I found it smooth, sweet and well-balanced with a touch of orange zest acidity. I thought the Creme Brulee descriptor was on point.


June is looking to be about May's LSOL and some from Rave, Avenue and one unknown.

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Bit late with this one. I tried two roasters for the first time in May.


The first new one was Rave Coffee. They seem widely known and used on the forums so I was keen to give them a go.


Origin: Burundi Kibingo

Varietal: 100% Red Bourbon.

Process: Honey Process.

Roaster's Notes: Apricot, Mango and Bubblegum.



I found this was such an easy coffee to drink. I prefered this in the CCD with a 20 to 40 min steep. Very sweet and smooth, low to medium acidity and quite syrupy. I didn't realise understand the "bubblegum" note. To me it was fruity with the mango and apricot with honey sweetness and slight toasted nutty finish.


The second coffee was from Avenue in Glasgow.


Origin: Muhara Rwandan

Varietal: Red Bourbon.

Process: Natural.

Roaster's Notes: Skittles, Blueberry, Juniper



This coffee was everything I loved in a natural. I found this one really forgiving to brew. I tried it using the kalita, CCD, FP but enjoyed this most in the v60. To me it was a fruity boozy blueberry bomb. Big funky fruity flavours, creamy body and a nice juniper/gin finish to it. I'd get this again and again.


Other highlights in May were a washed Kenyan "Slopes of Eight" from Colonna which was crisp and winey with blackcurrant, apple and caramel and the May LSOL from James Gourmet which to turned out to be a washed Ugandan "Sipi Falls". To me was it bright and fruity with flavours of grapefruit, red grapes and cinder toffee.

Edited by Elcee

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The new roaster I tried in June was Clifton Coffee Roasters who are based in Bristol. I first tried their stuff at a local coffee shop called Filament here in Edinburgh during UK coffee week and I loved what they had.


I got two bags from them. The first was an Ethiopian.



Origin: Adado, Ethiopia.

Varietal: Heirloom.

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: A vibrant and floral washed Ethiopian with flavours of Creamy Peach , Bergamot & Jasmine, with a lime zest finish and sparkling complex acidity.



This coffee was absolutely lovely and very much suited to the summer. I found it forgiving to brew and I don't think I had a single bad cup. To me it was clean, sweet and fruity with flavours of peach, white tea and zesty lime. I thought it was like drinking fruity ice tea.


The second was a Rwandan.




Origin: Buf Rwanda.

Varietal: Red bourbon peaberry.

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: A bright and beautiful coffee from Rwanda. With an intense honeysuckle aroma and flavours of black cherry, pomegranate and a honey sweetness. It has a medium, smooth body with complex acidity and delicate florals on the finish.



I found this one a bit more tricky to brew well but once I got it dialed in it was delicious. I agree with the roaster's flavour notes but I don't know what honeysuckle is like. I found it sweet and clean with dark fruity flavours of cherry and plum, honey and cranberry/pomegranate acidity. Very nice.


Overall I was super impressed with these coffees from Clifton. Based on them and my other experiences with their coffees, I would recommend giving them a go! I will gladly buy their stuff again.


I also wanna mention this coffee I had from April Coffee Roasters.



I picked it up through Facebook on an impulse and wow, it was incredible. I absolutely loved every single cup. Very much on the lighter side but so delicate, clean and fruity. At the moment it might be my favourite this year.


In July I am looking forward to trying one from Jolly Bean Roastery, a decaff from Casa Espresso and of course July's LSOL with North Star.

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July was a great month for coffee :) I ended up trying three new roasters.


The first new roaster I tried was Jolly Bean Roastery:


Origin: San Fernando, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua.

Varietal: Caturra.

Process: Natural.

Roaster's Notes: Strawberry, kiwi, winegums and cashew at the end.



I found this pretty tricky to brew with a pourover as it drained very quickly and required a very fine grind. I ended up sticking to CCD brews with this. It was an enjoyable coffee but not in the amazing category. To me I got sweet winey strawberries, biscuit and nuts.


The second new roaster I tried was Hermetic Coffee in Hamburg which was a surprise gift from my parents.



Origin: Aroresa, Ethiopia

Varietal: Heirloom

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: Erm.... lots of fruit (see the bag).


This coffee was great from the first brew. The flavour notes are pretty... comprehensive. To me this was such a classic example of washed Ethiopian. So elegantly clean, sweet with bright acidity. I got complex fruity flavours of green apple, blackberries, apricot and floral honey. I'd love to get more from this roaster.


The third roaster I tried was North Star as part of LSOL.


Origin: Chalatatenango, El Salvador

Varietal: Bourbon, Pacas

Process: Washed.

Roaster's Notes: Plum, tangerine, caramel and marzipan.



I thought this coffee was easy to brew and consistent across different pour over recipes and CCD brews. I thought this was a real crowd pleaser. I went really back and forth trying to pick out the dark fruity flavours I got. It was really interesting to see how the coffee evolved over time. All the brews were very good, a consistent 8/10 coffee for my own taste. In the end my notes for this would be Sweet dark forest fruits, smooth caramel and a hint of almond.

Edited by Elcee

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Woah I am behind on this! Time to catch up.


In September and October I can across Bailies Coffee roasters thanks to the beans not machines Facebook group. They get great reviews so I thought I'd try them out.


The first I tried was the washed Honduran. It was very clean with flavours of smooth and sweet maple syrup, fruity pear juice and nectarine. I didn't really get the lavender coming through but it was delicious anyway. The sort of coffee that I could drink at anytime of the day.


The second was a washed Kenyan. It was everything I love about Kenyan coffee. So refined and elegant. I think the flavour notes were on point. Fruity sweet with flavours of apricot, zesty mandarin and a pomegranate acidity.


All in all I was super impressed with how easy these coffees were to brew and how clean and sweet they were. I look forward to future coffee from Bailies.

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In October and November the new roaster I tried was La Cabra who are base in Copenhagen thanks to a local coffee shop Cairngorm Coffee where I bought the beans.



The first I tried was a washed Kenyan and was a perfect example of the fruity winey coffee that comes from the region. The tasting notes absolutely nailed this one for me. It was clean, elegant and refined with flavours of blackcurrants, lemon juice and white sugar.



The second was a Colombian that had been processed using lactic acid. I found it taste similar to a naturally or black honey processed coffees I've had before. I didn't quite agree with the tasting notes but apparently there was a mistranslation issue. To me I got flavours of ripe blueberry, red apple and a creamy vanilla yogurt tang.


All in all they were both excellent and I would gladly purchase from La Cabra again.

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In November I was fortunate to be able to try two coffees from Gardelli coffee thanks to @jeebsy.



This first was washed and from El Salvador. It was forgiving and easy to brew in both immersion and pour overs. I had to look up what verbena was but I thought the notes were pretty accurate. I got flavours of dark berries, pomegranate acidity and a sweet caramelly and floral finish. Really lovely.




The second was a washed Ethiopian. This was everything I love about this type of coffee. Supremely elegant and clean with sweet fruity and floral flavours. Again I thought the notes were on point. What stood out to me were the flavours of orange, peach, melon and florals. Really great from the first to last brew.


Overall I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to try them and I would love to do so again!

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In December I was very fortunate to be contacted by Ben the guy behind https://www.beanpress.co.uk who offered to send me some coffee to try for free. He very kindly sent me two bags of two different coffees. Ben noted that he onmi roasts but since I brew only filter I can't comment on espresso.




The first was a honey processed Honduran. Ben wasn't sure but he suspected this was a black honey process. I agreed because if I'd tasted this blind I'd have guessed it was a natural. To it was bold, funky and fruity. I got flavours of tangy pineapple juice, treacle sweetness and a gin and juniper finish.



The second was a naturally processed Ethiopian. I was a touch sceptical of this as the notes are this something I usually go for but I'm very glad I got to try it. To me it was rich and creamy. Very much a comforting coffee with flavours of gingerbread, tinned strawberries and raisins. I think this would be fabulous in milk. Unusual to me but great for the winter!


Overall I'm very grateful to Ben for reaching out and for the kind gesture. I would gladly get beans from Beanpress again and look forward to seeing their future offerings.


The 12 roaster challenge has been a great experience. I loved trying out new roasters and new coffees. It's expanded my horizons and I've learned a lot. I look forward to doing it again in 2018.

Edited by Elcee

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