Both Ken and co-taster Ted Lingle remarked on the "lush but elegant" (Ken) aroma and fat, buttery body of this single-origin espresso. In the small cup, dry berry notes and semi-sweet chocolate. Blooms sweetly and richly in milk. Ken found the flavor in cup and milk a bit too simple, limiting his score to a 90, but for Ted the profile throughout was complete, classic, and worth a resounding 95. Nominating reader Teri Bolla clearly agrees with Ted: "incredibly balanced, round, extremely smooth, shows total finesse, abundant chocolate...thick and rich on the palate."
By Kenneth Davids
September 7th, 2005
An impressively sweet, smooth, deeply dimensioned, softly complex espresso. Co-cupper Ted Lingle (92) used the term "resonant" twice to describe flavor and finish in the small cup. Ken (90) was most impressed by the details: a fresh-cut cedar character that was pungent but sweet and round, and wine-toned fruit notes. Bloomed in milk with discreet balance and a rich chocolate. Reader Chris Horn nominated another of Supreme Bean's espresso blends, but we ended up reviewing this one instead (don't ask).
A crisply classic espresso. Fresh leather and spice notes in the aroma. In the small cup the mouthfeel is a bit lean but the flavor complex: dry berry, wine, semi-sweet chocolate, cedar. The wine and berry notes persist in the long, clean finish. In milk perhaps a bit lean in mouthfeel, but the cedar and berry notes bloom sweetly. Ken's rating: 90. Co-taster Ted Lingle's: 93. Turns out this espresso was nominated by the roaster, Peggy Sue herself, but roasters are readers too.
Exceptionally complex espresso that maintains aromatic intrigue from aroma through a rather majestic finish in milk. Elegant aroma with deep-toned fruit and herb notes. In the small cup smooth in mouthfeel and medium-full in body, slightly sharp and acidy in structure but with a continued fruity complexity that reads persuasively as chocolate. Both co-cupper Ted Lingle (92) and Ken (90) were particularly impressed by this blend's performance in milk: lavishly fruity and chocolaty with a rich, clean finish. Blue Bottle's espressos were nominated by reader Christopher Losa.
A smoky, cedary espresso with a deep-toned fruit that in the small cup suggests semi-sweet chocolate or perhaps a rich port wine. Ken (90) and co-taster Ted Lingle (93) differed a bit on this blend's impact in milk: Ted found this blend mastered milk with an impressive sweetness and richness; for Ken the chocolate carried nicely into milk but the mouthfeel was a bit lean. Nominating reader Christopher Losa testified to his admiration for this blend in almost lurid terms: "rich, thick, and chocolaty...the way it syrups out of the portafilter is absolutely sexy...comparative to a California Zin or a Petit Syrah fruit bomb wine.'
A full-bodied espresso with exotic aromatics. Floral and fruit tones throughout the profile, with pungent notes that read as herbal for co-taster Ted Lingle (90) and licorice-like and smoky for Ken (89). For Ken the full body and heavy mouthfeel seemed partly to stifle flavor in the small cup, but for both Ken and Ted this blend came into its own in milk, where it rounded and sweetened richly without losing power or nuance. Nominated by Kemp LaMunyon of Las Vegas.
Ken (90) liked this espresso with its earthy-musty influenced aromatics considerably more than co-taster Ted Lingle (87). In the aroma, vanilla, floral, earth, leather and fruit notes. In the small cup medium body, leanish but smooth mouthfeel, with a rather sharp, musty/fruity flavor that persisted in the mildly astringent but resonant finish. Probably at its best in milk, which rounded and softened the coffee, turning the musty fruit toward a pleasingly complex chocolate. Reader Adam Harvey testifies that "Simply put, [this] is the best espresso I have ever tasted. And I have tasted plenty."
Delicate floral and vanilla-toned aroma, clean and precious. In the small cup medium-bodied, with a sweet, softly fruity character that suggests banana, perhaps, or papaya. Long, sweetly resonant finish with a slight astringent bite. Co-taster Ted Lingle (88) felt this soft, delicate blend faded a bit in milk; Ken (88) found it limited perhaps in nuance but sweet and substantial in presence. Nominating reader Martin Freeman exclaims that this "best espresso blend ever ... rich, creamy ... deep, fragrant ..." is "WORLD CLASS."
An attractive if underpowered espresso. Muted notes of flowers, fruit and chocolate in the aroma. In the small cup medium-bodied, supple in mouthfeel, but limited in flavor: some floral hints persist but the main impression is a thinnish pungency that Ken (87) called smoky and co-taster Ted Lingle (86) spicy. Nevertheless, rounds and richens in the finish, and reveals a round, semi-sweet chocolate character in milk. Nominating reader Andrey Akselrod says simply "It is one of my favorite espressos."
Ken and co-taster Ted Lingle ended with comparable overall ratings (Ken 85, Ted 86) but differed in how they got there. Ted found the aroma a bit flat; Ken found it delicate, with toast, apple and floral notes. Ted found the body fuller and the mouthfeel more substantial than Ken did. Both found the flavor in the small cup toasty/smoky and a bit sharp in the finish. Both admired the way the blend rounded and sweetened in milk. Nominating reader Robert Bobbs praised this blend as "perfectly balanced ... big body, slightly sweet, not too much acidity but enough to enliven the cup; holds up well in big milky drinks but is fantastic as a straight shot."
Once past the aroma, co-taster Ted Lingle (79) had little positive to say about this blend, finding it lean in body, rather burned/bitter in flavor, and weak in presence in milk. Ken (84) also found the mouthfeel too lean and the finish too astringent, but enjoyed the berry-like, chocolate-leaning fruit that carried through the profile from aroma to milk. The reader who nominated this blend said he wanted "to see if this espresso is everything it is claimed it is."
For both Ken (81) and co-taster Ted Lingle (79) the aroma was muted and burned. Ted found the body in the small cup light; Ken (81) found it fuller but rough in mouthfeel. Nor did Ken or Ted have much positive to say about flavor: pungent and rough for Ted, burned and sharp for Ken. In milk pleasantly sweet but thin-bodied for Ted; Ken was more positive here, finding that the milk smoothed out the sharply roasty character of the coffee, turning it toward a pleasing fresh leather and a clove-toned spice. The reader who nominated this blend found it "exceptional, that's all."