Sunday, February 06, 2011

Coffee is God's way of apologizing for mornings

When it comes to coffee (and by coffee, I mean espresso) I like doing that whole-bean grind-it-yourself trip. Once you do it (and do it right, which takes some fussing around) there's simply no going back to preground coffee. The next step in the slippery slope -- he said merrily mixing his metaphors -- is seeking out varietals and estate coffees, etc.

So, where could one find all these exotic coffees? There are specialty coffee stores (from Starbuck's on down), but those tend to be Not Recession Friendly. Specialty websites have slightly better prices but shipping costs will eat you alive. Supermarket prices are high and the coffees not quite best or most exotic.
I just tried "Kirkland Sumatra French Roast Whole Bean Coffee" which is a surprisingly bold, full-bodied coffee. I love its rich aroma, extra dark roast -- it says "French Roast" but it really is more like an espresso roast -- and mellow, earthy taste. What makes it particularly worthy of your attention is that it's both bolder AND less bitter, and the bitterness it does exhibit strikes the palate more as an element of great balance than as an "off-flavor."

The beans are a dark mahogany, glossy but not overly oily, and extracted shot has a beautiful "crema" and gorgeous mouthfeel. The caramel and earthy notes are wonderful and rich.

If you like darker, bolder coffees like Sumatran, you will find this a congenial candidate for your espresso machine.

Did I mention this thing costs just under $14 lb. for a THREE pound bag at Costco? Not $14/lb. $4.67/lb. Mind you, not every Costco carries this (you can always beg, wheedle and/or cajole) and in Miami only one of the 3 stores in my radius carries it. Some people are making a damned fine profit loading up at their local Costco and then reselling this online, because even at twice the price, it's still a great bargain.

But don't do that. Buy it at your local Costco and save a huge bundle.

-J.

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