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coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Topeca Coffee Roasters’ House Decaf

Something I love about ordering freshly roasted coffee are the pleasant surprises. It’s not just a delicious cup awaiting me: sometimes I get entirely new gifts.

I’ve opened up coffee packages and received little postcards. I’ve gotten stickers. Occasionally I get a handwritten note from the roasters, which always puts a huge smile on my face. The surprise this time around was a real conundrum, because the first clue I had concerning an addition to my purchase was how heavy the box was. Before we dive into that…

If you’re embarking on your own coffee journey and want to lay off the caffeine, check out my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. I explore the brewing methods and flavor notes of a wide variety of origins, specialty roasters, and commodity-grade coffee. I also analyze packaging design and discuss elements like ethical sourcing and coffee culture.

Why is Colombian coffee so good? Much of it has to do with the history of the region. Let’s take a look at Topeca Coffee Roasters’ unique surprise below:

Origin

Colombia, back at it again with the amazing coffee! This decaf coffee is of Colombian origin from Pijao and decaffeinated with the ethyl acetate (or sugarcane) method. No mention of lot or farmers, which was a little surprising considering the rather compelling backstory of the business.

Now’s a great time to discuss the difference between different waves of coffee. A coffee wave is not just defined by changes in industry standards, but cultural attitudes. Third-wave coffee was first situated by a desire to dive deep into the characteristics of coffee, not unlike wine and beer culture.

Everything from sustainability to preparation gained more attention in the third wave, distinguishing it from its more quantity-focused first and second waves.

Roaster

Topeca Coffee Roasters is a roaster based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This coffee roaster dates back an entire six generations, all the way to the 1800’s where it first originated in El Salvador. I highly recommend reading their about page to learn about their ongoing challenges snipping out obstructive middlemen. It’s an interesting glimpse into the persistent daily actions of people who want to see the industry change from the inside out.

Their coffee varieties span across Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Kenya. They also have a rare Haitian coffee bag (a lesser-known origin I’d love to try) and a variety of different roast levels. For those that are unaware, Italian roasts run on the darker side and are considered best for espresso.

They provide nitro cold brew, gift boxes, and a slew of coffee flavorings. I found myself happily lost in all the delectable-sounding coffee syrups in their shop. The pumpkin butternut spice sounds perfect for fall and winter brews.

Packaging

Why, hello, giant green coffee bag! Fancy seeing you in my box (housecat for scale).

Imagine my surprise when I open up my box and see this huge, coarse coffee sack unfurl out. That’d explain why it was unusually heavy, as I only bought a single bag of decaf and some extra pourover filters. I’m considering putting it on my wall as a mini-tapestry of sorts.

As for the packaging design, this is one of the most minimalist and detailed coffee bags I’ve reviewed yet. Isn’t that interesting? The front of the bag is straightforward, detailing the flavor notes, origin, and decaffeination process. Turning the bag to the side gives you a fun visual list of brewing methods with tips on temperature and steep time. Turn it again to the bottom and you get a splashy decorative pattern.

It’s worth mentioning the coffee’s product page alongside its packaging, as it’s one of the first impressions you get before purchasing. Roasters, it’s time to drop the catchphrase of “You won’t believe it’s decaf!“. That stereotype has long since sailed with the advent of advanced decaffeination techniques (and a rapidly expanding decaf niche).

You can promote your decaf coffee like any other coffee bag. Trust me, it’s the more dignified marketing decision.

(Marketing coffee means combining style with substance. Contact me if you’re in need of copywriting, content writing, or marketing strategies for your coffee business.)

Aroma

The whole beans are sweet and light, smelling like a milk chocolate bar. The ground bean immediately brings out the pastry notes, swapping out candy for the scent of a cake slice with no frosting.

Ahh. I love how sensory coffee is.

Roast Level/Mouthfeel

This is a light-medium roast, with a very soft and smooth mouthfeel. It’s the perfect complement with the cake-like aroma.

Flavor Notes

Before I talk about the flavor notes, I need to mention how gorgeous the crema is (and yes, I’m punching myself for not taking a photo). It’s golden and thick, welling up like an overflowing pot of honey.

The pourover, much to my delight, keeps the pastry kick with a mildly tart aftertaste. I was already prepared to revisit it before my cup was out. The French Press was more mellow in flavor, the mouthfeel extra thick as it tends to be. This is a very comforting coffee that doesn’t go for super zesty or bitter, hovering in a middleground without being bland. That said?

The Moka pot swung to the opposite end of the spectrum, going for a fully juicy and bright result.

Final Verdict

This is a gorgeous decaf coffee with a lovely flavor and a fun surprise. I had such a blast with this purchase.

If you like mellow and gently sweet coffee, give this one a try. It repeatedly reminded me of biting into a soft pastry, both in aroma and flavor, and the flavor held steady in the pourover and French Press. The Moka pot is much more tart and juicy, however, and could be an enjoyable twist depending on your mood.

This is a solid coffee with classic Colombian complexity, showing you different personalities as quickly as the packaging design does. Fans of savory and herbal coffee might prefer a bag from, say, PT’s Coffee Roasting Co., but mellow coffee lovers will adore this bag.

You can find Topeca Coffee Roasters at their site here.

(The coffee industry is dynamic and evershifting. Reach out to me for market research or writing services for your 2022 campaign.)

What else is going on in the coffee world? Check out:

Should coffee roasters and cafes raise their prices? I take a look at the factors behind these high coffee prices and why they should stay that way for the forseeable future.

The 2022 Microroaster Of The Year Finalists are here! I’m looking forward to trying out some new roasters soon, with several of them on this list from Daily Coffee News.

Fall is here and it is glorious! I’m thinking of trying this delicious autumn harvest latte recipe, crafted with maple syrup and cloves.

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