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coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Deadstock Coffee’s Slow Jamz

Sometimes you taste a coffee so good it makes you grin.

That’s the power of carefully grown, freshly roasted beans. Not that I don’t have a fondness for stale grocery coffee tins (those got me through stressful periods), but single-origin bags are an intensive experience. Each one is pure joy. I feel nothing but glee when I get my box in my mail (sometimes outfitted with a unique design) and opening it up. I love admiring the design of the bag from the comfort of my kitchen, studying it from every angle and analyzing what stands out.

Inhaling that first scent, trying out my first cup (I always start with a pourover), experimenting with recipes…it’s a journey. Every time.

Coffee is for everyone. Not only that, everyone stands to benefit from a coffee model that’s actually fair trade and sustainable. If you want to know more about what qualifies as single-origin or specialty coffee (and those that come close), check out this post by Third Wave Coffee Roasters. If you could use some recommendations for specialty grade decaf coffee and single-origin decaf coffee, check out my directory.

Now that that’s out of the way…

…let’s take a look at Deadstock Coffee’s Slow Jamz and why it brought a smile to my face:

Origin

This decaf coffee is a Colombian bag decaffeinated with the sugarcane process (also known as ethyl acetate). Not unlike the Swiss Water method, the sugarcane process also involves swelling up the coffee bean to push out and isolate the caffeine.

It’s an interesting technique that relies on complex chemical binding to whittle down that caffeine percentage into something tolerable. You can find a short video on the ethyl acetate method here.

Roaster

Deadstock Coffee is a small black-owned, Portland-based roaster and cafe. They’re a very creative shop, celebrating sporty fashion and focusing on a more ‘barbershop feel’ than your typical cafe. Their coffee origins hail from Ethiopia, Brazil and Colombia, as well as a rare bag from Haiti. Alongside selling delicious, small-batch coffee they sell merchandise and a smattering of coffee accessories.

I highly recommend browsing through their pics, as they have some great photography showing off their roasters and community.

…Also, they have a bag named ‘Fresh Prince’. What’s not to love?

Packaging

Notice anything different about this bag? That’s right. It’s simple and clear…for good reason.

Not just done for novelty, the bag discusses the point of this design choice: transparency. There’s nothing on the back, with the front having a sit-down with the buyer about what it means to cultivate a tight-knit, loving community. I like it. The coffee industry, beneath its trendy veneer, is held up by underpaid farmers, a convoluted supply chain, and that omnipresent air of being holier-than-thou. Coffee culture commonly feels the part of an exclusive club you have to pay an arm and a leg to get in.

Deadstock Coffee prides themselves on an approachable atmosphere — outright stating they are ‘snob-free’ — and disposes of convoluted lingo in favor of a casual affect. Reading the bag felt like chilling with an acquaintance I’d like to get to know better.

If you’re seeking a black-owned coffee business to support, I’ll just say right now, this is a great place to start. Deadstock Coffee‘s laid-back demeanor is consistent across all platforms, from their Instagram to their Google search page. Roasters here and there go for a more chill approach, sure, but this is one of the few that actually feels sincere.

They’ve since changed their packaging design to a classic black, but I’m glad I got to experience this sharp design approach firsthand.

Aroma

Mmm. This bag is sumptuous. It’s a strong chocolate aroma, right off the bat, with a slightly spicy kick. I got plenty of that cinnamon toast. Not quite to the level of a box of brand cereal, no, but close.

Roast Level/Mouthfeel

This is a medium-dark roast, an exception to their mostly medium-roasted portfolio. It has a very silky and smooth mouthfeel, topped off with a delightfully tart and juicy texture in the pourover. In fact, let me go into deeper detail on that below…

Flavor Notes

I smiled so wide when I took my first sip. I could not believe how juicy this drink felt.

Seriously! Drinking Slow Jamz felt like biting into a fat, ripe raisin, matching mouthfeel with flavor. The cinnamon is left mostly to the aroma, I’m sad to say, but the rest more than keeps pace. The dark chocolate comes out best in — you guessed it — the Moka pot, though I got enough in the French Press to tick it on the box. The pourover, though, has to be my favorite. Whether consumed black or with a splash of milk and sugar, this was the rare bag in which the drip method just won by default.

It’s a punchy coffee with a straightforward-yet-bold personality, just like the business itself. Before I knew it, it was gone.

Final Verdict

I’ve been buying different decaf coffee bags every single time, both to expand my horizons and work on this series. Oh, I wanted so badly to buy Slow Jamz twice.

With a rich, cinnamon-esque aroma and a powerfully juicy feel, this coffee has a life all its own. The chocolate fudge note is a little finicky in the French Press and stronger in the Moka pot, but pourover fans have plenty to love here. The mouthfeel is just that distinctive, following hot on the heels of a robust, tangy taste that’s great black or with an additive.

This is an easy decaf coffee to recommend due to a classic set of flavor notes and a pretty consistent translation across brewing methods. I’ve touched on wonderful black-owned coffee businesses in the past, like Boon Boona Coffee, and I can’t wait to recommend this one to others.

Get a bag before it’s gone! You can find Deadstock Coffee at their site here.

Want to know more about today’s smaller roasters and producers? Check out:

The representation of women in coffee is often a ‘seen and not heard’ sort of scenario. The Perfect Daily Grind interviews female producers and what is needed to see more equitable treatment in the future.

It’s hard to believe a business can thrive in a pandemic, but those are just everyday odds for the Washington-based Campfire Coffee. Check out this interview with this black-owned roastery and why they’re adding their own unique flavor to the industry.

‘Sustainability sounds nice on paper…but doesn’t incite change if people don’t know how it works or how it affects them. This is the main thrust of Cornell University’s exploration of shade-grown coffee and its positive impact on bird populations.

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