ruby coffee roasters
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Ruby Coffee Roasters’ Decaf Cauca

Here’s to Colombia! I return to this origin again and again, because it always gives me complex cups with unique personalities depending on the brewing method.

Colombia is one of today’s leading producers, hovering at number two in sheer production and adding up to a whopping 10% of global coffee exports. It’s far from a quality over quantity situation, though, and this origin has been my favorite for a while now. Onyx Coffee Lab, Counter Culture Coffee and Methodical Coffee are just a few of the incredible specialty decaf coffee bags I’ve tried from this country. Colombian coffee is often sweet and nuanced, boasting a wide medley of flavors and often creamy, heavy mouthfeels. I can’t get enough.

What does Ruby Coffee Roasters add to Colombia’s reputation? Does it hold up among today’s best specialty coffee? Let’s take a look at this leading origin and why it remains a powerhouse. If you want to see more on quality decaf coffee, check out my recent review on Methodical Coffee’s Decaf Cauca.

Without further ado:

Origin

This bag hails from the Cauca region in Colombia. This slice of land is considered absolutely perfect for growing coffee, boasting the volcanic soil and high altitude needed to bring consistently high-quality harvests.

Coffee quality is a discussion that depends heavily on the drinker — one person’s trash is another person’s treasure — but usually means a mix of strong flavor and few defects. If you’ve ever had coffee that tasted stale, bland or even funny, that was likely a commodity batch from a bad harvest or a squandered bag from a lackluster roaster. The best specialty decaf coffee combines consistent climate, the skill of experienced farmers and careful handling to arrive impeccable at your doorstep. A fresh roast with a fresh grind doesn’t hurt, either.

After a while you can easily taste the difference.

Roaster

Ruby Coffee Roasters is a microroaster from Wisconsin, starting out small and gradually expanding to include a tasting room and larger shipping houses. They’re currently rehauling their business model to accommodate the pandemic, shutting down in-person gatherings and focusing on shipping out their coffee locally and nationally. Their portfolio ticks off many of today’s leading producers, including Colombia and Ethiopia.

They do, however, have a bag from the Democratic Republic Of Congo, which is an origin I’d love to try someday. How often do you hear about Congolese coffee?

Packaging

This coffee packaging feels like a cute, old-timey advertisement in the corner of my eye. You know the ones, where they go for bubbly graphics and a strict less-is-more approach.

The business name is packed into a speech bubble, with the red, white and green hearkening to a classic apple. Packaging design is a delicate balance between flexible and still needing a few basic rules to ensure it’s doing its job. This bag makes sure to have all the information front and center. You have the origin, the flavor notes, the roast date, the bean variety and the processing method, among others. This can be a contentious point in the coffee industry, particularly when it comes to routine snootiness, but all the details that go into making coffee are incredibly important.

Coffee production is a lot of work and the very reason why the bag tastes so memorable. It’s no coincidence the best specialty decaf coffee I’ve tried had a strong visual approach that caught the eye and effectively translated the foundation of the business. Speaking of which!

Aroma

Marvelous! Outstanding! Delicious!

My instant thoughts popping the bag open and taking in my first breath. The beans are sweet and bright, filling up the room in an instant (and making me consider adding some sort of coffee potpourri to my bedroom). I really catch the apple here, with a little of that honey. It’s the kind of bag I’d use to show a newcomer just how varied the classic coffee scent can get.

Mouthfeel/Roast Level

This is a medium-roast specialty decaf coffee. The mouthfeel is a little on the creamier side all around, though the pourover is quintessentially thinnest and smoothest.

Flavor Notes

Oh, this one was delicious. I never wanted it to end.

This specialty decaf bag boasts a range of flavor notes: red apple, dark fudge, honey and caramel. I was expecting some sweetness here and it more than delivered. It’s not sugary in the least, giving you that tight pop of fruit with a honeyed kick. The dark fudge is, characteristically, most pronounced in the Moka pot. Milk and sugar adore this candied bag, its flavors strong enough to puncture through and keep your cup tasting distinct. On top of smelling incredibly good and a solid mouthfeel across all brewing methods, I was just satisfied all-around.

This is the selling power of a carefully tended single-origin: an experience that’s hard to get anywhere else. The closest bag I can compare this to is Olympia Coffee’s Decaf Asterisk, another Colombian coffee with dominant sweet notes.

Final Verdict

Sweet coffee fans and fruity coffee fans, I’ve found one of the best specialty decaf around.

Fruity, honeyed and impeccably sweet, this delectable specialty decaf bag is a shining example of both the function of the single-origin and the power of modern decaf. The chocolate fudge takes a little bit of a backseat here unless you have a Moka pot (keeping the bag humble, I presume), but I heartily recommend it even if you’re a strict fan of chocolate notes. It’s just that good. This is further cementing my goal to get a classic espresso machine so I can really get the full brunt of each bag I buy. Until then, I’m in good hands.

While this bag is no longer being sold, they have another specialty decaf bag from Aguacate in Colombia with cherry, milk chocolate and pear notes. You can find Ruby Coffee Roasters at their site here.

Want more coffee-related news and topics? Check out:

Colombia and Brazil are well-known coffee producers, while Australia lags behind at a tiny sliver of the global market. Check out this interesting interview with Australian coffee producers and the goals they have for getting their craft on the map.

Are you a regular camper or a busy office worker? Steeped Coffee is making waves with their new product designed to give you the convenience of tea with the robust flavor of coffee…without sacrificing sustainability!

Freshly roasted coffee is a key selling point among roasters and cafes, but too fresh could actually be a thing. Here’s a neat article that explores oxidation and how waiting a few days could make your bag taste stronger.

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