blk & bold coffee bag

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: BLK & Bold’s Coffee-Ish

I’ve been wanting to buy from this brand for a hot minute.

Black-owned businesses have seen a significant boost in sales these past few months, with the coffee and tea industry no different. BLK & Bold was a name that came up frequently: I knew I’d have to exercise some patience when it was among the first names to crop up in the search bar. Cue me checking back several times over the past month and a half to see their if decaf coffee was available. Good things come to those who wait, right?

(I also bought one of their decaf teas, which I’ll be reviewing in an adjacent series to this one.)

After a rather rough week, I was delighted when I finally got my package in the mail (doubly so for how large the bag is in comparison to others I’ve bought). Does BLK & Bold live up to its hype? We’re going to find out with another specialty decaf coffee review below. If you’ve missed my previous posts, check out my review of another black-owned coffee business for Boon Boona Coffee’s decaf.

Let’s take a look:

Origin

This is a…curious case for the origin section.

The bag states 100% Arabica, though I can’t find much else on either the packaging or the site. While BLK & Bold‘s other specialty coffees come from Ethiopia and Honduras, their decaf is simply left at ‘blend’. A mix of both countries, perhaps?

Roaster

BLK & Bold is an American coffee roaster and wholesaler. Not only can you order freshly roasted coffee from them directly, you can likely find their products at a number of grocery store outlets.

Bearing the title of the very first black-owned and nationally distributed coffee brand, BLK & Bold has made a name for themselves with both their beans and behind-the-scenes. They’re a popular name that’s cropped up in Yahoo! Finance, Fortune and Afrotech, just to name a few. Alongside offering coffee subscriptions, they’ve expanded to become B-CORP certified. 5% of all profits go to domestic at-risk youth: more specifically, funding workforce development programs and targeting youth homelessness.

Good coffee for a good cause. I like it.

Packaging

Let it be known, here and now, that I love black and gold.

It’s a striking color scheme that catches my eye every time (technically, since black is a shade and not a color). It’s dynamic, it’s powerful, it’s…well, bold! The front of the bag looks like a strawberry dipped in chocolate. Much like the treat, you’re greeted with a medley of delicious details. This packaging design dances with a casual approach and a regal air all over: a chalky crown hovers above the brand name, with the sides coated in a clutter of more crowns, cups and stylish squiggles.

This is a series of design choices carefully arranged to dazzle the eye and reward curiosity. Chalk this up to another favorite coffee bag of mine.

Aroma

You can immediately catch the chocolate and fruit from the first whiff. It’s a touch sweet, far from sugary, and lingers in the air. The fruit becomes much more stark after grinding, pinching the nose with a raisin or even lemon-like note.

Brew Methods/Mouthfeel

Going to start trimming this section a little. I’ve definitely been repeating myself in past reviews…

This is one smooth coffee. It gets just a touch oily when you use the French Press, leaning toward creamy with the Moka pot.

Roast Profile

This is a medium-roast specialty decaf coffee.

Flavor Notes

The bag boasts chocolate, fruity and graham notes. Not a bad selection!

I’ve gotten to the point where if I see more than three flavor notes, I get a little cautious. Not saying I won’t still buy, of course. Complexity is a major plus for me, but unfortunately, it’s not always easy to reap such a high promise. When I see seven or eight flavors rattled off I can’t help but ask: “So…it just tastes like whatever you’re thinking about at the moment?

You see that caution play out here. The Moka Pot is easily the superior brewing method, combining the simple chocolately flavor with a prominent tartness that doesn’t quite punch through the French Press and pourover. Unfortunately, the graham is a flavor note for another drinker. I couldn’t catch so much as a hint of it. Perhaps it’s exclusive to the espresso method, making this yet more motivation to buy an espresso machine next year.

Final Verdict

A standard-yet-solid coffee that very much lives up to the title of ‘coffee-ish’.

For me, specialty coffee is at its best when I get multiple powerful flavors in the bundle. If I’m only getting one or two? Then I need them as striking as possible or replacing the lost flavor note with another one (such as Counter Culture Coffee’s Slow Motion). While this coffee is far from lackluster, it struggles to stand out from others I’ve tried in the series. It’s a little tart, but not in any particular way. It has chocolate notes, but mostly in the Moka Pot. It’s the best way to drink this coffee by far and gives it extra panache in both flavor and mouthfeel. Graham, for me, was non-existent.

If this brand comes up with another decaf, I’d love to try it and see what they can really do. Until then, here’s hoping their decaf tea is a little more memorable. If you’re searching for a coffee that’s got a little personality with a strong mouthfeel, this is a decent enough choice. If you could use more complexity in flavors, though, you may want to keep an eye out for my upcoming decaf coffee review…

You can find BLK & Bold at their website here.

If you’re craving more coffee reviews and news, check out:

I was fascinated by this interview of a Hmong couple that eliminated the middleman to create their own coffee business. Not only do they grow their own coffee alongside vegetables and herbs, they roast and sell it locally.

Roasting is an aromatic art form…and a burden on the environment. Check out this news story about a new form of carbon-free roasting set to make waves in the coming years.

Just how bad is the coffee crisis? The Vox has a great video on how low farmer prices and rising climate change is pushing us to a point of no return.

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