merit coffee
coffee

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Merit Coffee Co.’s Sugarcane Decaf

This decaf coffee was a long time coming.

I keep a list of American roasters that offer decaf in their line-up. Why? Because even now, many don’t prioritize decaffeinating their beans. It’s a combination of a few factors. Coffee is already a very intensive process. You have the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of coffee on the producer end. Then there’s processing the beans using methods ranging from natural to wet. Then you have to store them, ship them, then roast them before they even reach the consumer.

Decaffeination is just another step in a pile of them. As much as it pains me to say, I can understand why the already strained coffee production line-up opts out.

Merit Coffee Co. is one of the first roasters I ever wrote down in my list, catching my eye with their elegant packaging design and their commitment to high-quality, single-origin coffee. While they only have one decaf bag to their name, it’s one I was eager to try for its lovely sounding flavor profile. They’re one of the more expensive single-origin decaf bags I’ve had to buy, too, and that’s on top of details like shipping and sales tax.

Was it worth it? Let’s take a look:

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sparrows coffee
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Sparrows Coffee Decaf La Serrania

I just love good packaging design. Some believe it to be a secondary detail to the coffee, but to me, they’re two sides of the same coin.

You eat with your eyes first, as the saying goes. Packaging design has a tall order standing out from the rest of the competition while ticking off the basics of communication design: the who, what and why. Coffee packaging, whether ground or whole, has a common list of must-have details to get customers involved at a glance. Origin, decaffeination method, roast level, roast date, flavor notes…just to name a few. Some go the extra mile and list off altitude, processing method and the coffee bean variety.

Sparrows Coffee‘s splashy design is a great starting point, but how does the coffee itself stack up? If you want to start trying out specialty decaf coffee (and the occasional wholesale variety) yourself, check out my directory to get started with today’s best American coffee roasters. I recently reviewed the sweet and fruity Ruby Coffee Roasters’ Decaf Cauca, as well as the earthy Kuma Coffee’s Peru San Ignacio Decaf.

Let’s dive in:

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coffee, industry news

Like Hawaiian Coffee? You’ve Probably Been Ripped Off

The coffee origin topic is a seed that sprouts a thousand branches. Fair pay. Quality beans. Environmentally sustainable farming techniques.

Kona coffee, a rare and famed Hawaiian origin, has been struggling with an image problem for years. Every time I’ve searched for it I would see countless advertisements insisting just how much more authentic they are than the competition. Little bit of a red flag, right? This ‘hidden in plain sight’ issue has finally reached a head: Daily Coffee News has posted a report on the staggering $13 million lawsuit targeting several roasters and wholesalers for false advertising.

A lot of Hawaiian coffee on the market barely has any Kona beans. Some have none at all. Today’s coffee businesses are well aware, using sly marketing campaigns that actively bank on consumers having little to no clue what goes into coffee sourcing, much less why it’s even important. Several cash settlements have already been made, though the issue is ongoing and is including such industry titans like Safeway and Wal-Mart. Expect to hear more about this.

Coffee origins aren’t just a series of trendy buzzwords to be recited at a party. They give us a bigger picture on what we’re buying, as well as who we’re supporting…or rather, not supporting. I want to support the delicious and unique coffee that comes from Hawaii, not exploitative tactics that bolster big business at the expense of local farmers.

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 single origin and 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 single origin decaf 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:

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kuma coffee peru san ignacio decaf
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Kuma Coffee’s Peru San Ignacio Decaf

This bag nearly drove me mad…but not in a bad way.

To start off, the first few attempts at brewing this coffee went sour due to my accidentally buying the wrong filter from Melitta. Take it from me…just because it looks like a pourover filter doesn’t mean it’s a pourover filter. Secondly, I could’ve sworn I’d already written a review on it! It was just so good it didn’t click to me I hadn’t crowed about it to all and sundry. Well. Coffee is nothing if not an event and Kuma Coffee sticks out in my mind for nearly every reason in the book.

So…was it worth all the trouble? Let’s find out! If you haven’t read my past specialty decaf coffee reviews, check out my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series in the directory. I recently reviewed Methodical Coffee’s Decaf Cauca, a tart and fruity delight that I (surprisingly!) preferred drinking black.

Without further ado:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Kuma Coffee’s Peru San Ignacio Decaf”
methodical coffee banner
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Methodical Coffee’s Decaf Cauca

I am living proof that coffee newsletters are a very effective marketing tool in the long-term.

Several months ago, near the beginning of the year, I signed up for Methodical Coffee‘s newsletter as a reminder to try out their decaf. In-between other specialty coffee bag purchases they would crop up in my email’s promotions tab with new coffee bags or behind-the-scenes peeks. I wouldn’t end up buying it until several months later. While ‘now’ is a more preferred word than ‘later’ in the rapidfire world of business, it stands to reason a good business encourages customers of every single stripe.

The ready-to-buys. The not-quite-sures. The ‘I totally want to buy this, it just keeps slipping my mind in a sea of marketing competition’s.

I’m eager to get down and dirty with this lovely single origin decaf coffee bag and all the interesting journeys it took me on. If you haven’t read my previous entries in my decaf coffee series Decaf, Decaf Everywhere, check out my directory.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Methodical Coffee and see if their bag lives up to its build-up:

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la colombe coffee banner
coffee

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: La Colombe’s Luna Azul

It’s kind of tough to advertise flavor notes, isn’t it? We just have so much variety in our tastebuds.

I’m sensitive to complex flavors myself. I adore being able to get several notes in one cup and can even find myself disappointed if a drink is straightforward (not even bad, just…simple). I also have a massive sweet tooth. The science behind our tongue is a fascinating subject, involving subtle taste receptors located in different areas of the muscle to sort bitter from savory and sweet from salty. That doesn’t stop some people from having overpowering or underwhelming tastebuds, granting them sometimes contradictory experiences with the same product.

Diversity is one of the many beauties of the human condition…so imagine my shock when my mother tried La Colombe’s Luna Azul without knowing its flavor notes and nailed every single one. I had to double-check my phone to make sure I was reading it right! While I’ve long since accepted I can try out a new coffee and not quite get the flavors it was promising, La Colombe has clearly narrowed down its beans’ personality to a razor edge. If you haven’t read my previous specialty decaf reviews, check out my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series.

Let’s see what makes this coffee special:

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coffee, guide

Help, this coffee is so bitter! — Coffee with the Queen

It’s the holiday season and, if you are anything like us, that means coffee! Lots and lots of coffee. Coffee at home, coffee at the office, coffee with friends and loved ones. Good coffee, okay coffee, and bad coffee… that, dear readers, is where we start today, with those painful-to-swallow (though sometimes vital) undesirably bitter cups of coffee.

Help, this coffee is so bitter! — Coffee with the Queen

It’s the omnipresent conundrum! How do you take out the harsh taste and leave nothing but the good stuff?

One of the most common complaints I hear is how bitter coffee can be. Even from regular drinkers. It’s not all that surprising, since the most affordable and accessible coffee is often the stale, low-quality products at the grocery store. Should one get their hands on a freshly roasted specialty bag, it can still be lessened by burning the beans with scalding water or leaving the grind on the counter for hours. While I love adding whole milk and brown sugar, it’s not needed to keep your cup balanced.

It’s only once I started drinking freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee that I started drinking black cups willingly. For me and my sweet tooth? That’s huge. If you struggle with bitter or stale cups, I can vouch for the tips listed in this post. That is, save for adding a pinch of salt. I’ve never tried that and now I’m curious…

coffee

Looking For Roasters? The 2021 Good Food Awards Are Coming Up

I’ve taken a look at several coffee roasters this year in my decaf specialty coffee review series Decaf, Decaf Everywhere. Despite this, I’ve only scratched the surface!

The United States is home to thousands of coffee roasters. Some work in wholesale and provide the selection you see while shopping for the month’s groceries. Others are small-batch microroasteries who are strictly local. The 2021 Good Food Awards is here to help you narrow things down a little while you browse for your next pick-me-up: they’re judging today’s American coffee roasters on quality, sustainability, and social impact.

I’m thrilled to see some of my personal favorites here, like Onyx Coffee Lab and PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. There are also several on the list I’ve been planning on checking out, like Mr. Espresso, Bird Rock Coffee and Peach Coffee Roasters. This year’s coffee selection has a wider range of origins compared to the past (though it really is no surprise Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, reigns supreme). The final verdict will be announced live on January 22nd, if you feel like tuning in.

While I’ll be making a holiday tier list soon to help promote my favorite decaf coffee roasters, this is a useful resource to start whittling down your gift list.

pt's coffee roasting co banner
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. Huerta Del Rio Decaf

Do you blank out when asked about your favorite coffee origin? It’s all right. I did, too.

It’s a common enough reaction when a cheap coffee bag advertises its convenience or its smoothness more than where it comes from. Whether or not origin is worth knowing about is another source of contention depending on the kind of drinker you are. More casual drinkers might dip into a cafe once in a while. Others may brew daily for a morning caffeine boost. Yet more might use coffee as a warm and cozy pick-me-up, not unlike a mug of tea.

No matter where you land on the coffee aficionado scale, this is a topic you’ll want to brush up on. Learning about coffee origins and what, precisely, they offer each harvest has been one of the most enjoyable and illuminating parts of my journey.

What makes Mexican coffee so good? We’re going to get another showcase on what this origin, and region, have to offer with PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. If you haven’t read my previous reviews, check out my directory for all things specialty decaf coffee.

I’m excited to talk about this bag, so let’s go:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. Huerta Del Rio Decaf”