Thursday, March 12, 2015

MistoBox Review: Box #2

Between the snow and the mail holiday, February's box came a lot later than I expected. As I'm sure anyone who has seen the news and isn't a complete disconnected shut-in knows, Massachusetts had far, far more snow and cold temperatures than is normal for February. Unsurprisingly, this has caused a lot of delays in arrivals of packages from all carriers. Now that I've finished my box though, I'm ready to make my assessments.

The Coffee
Overall, I paid more attention to several of the details on the bags this time. I noticed that the tasting notes listed on the bags don't always match what the pages on the web say. For three of the bags in the box, they weren't so drastically different that it was a problem. That last bag got me though.

I also took some time to research and understand what the different processing methods mean because I wanted to understand how they affected the way the coffee tastes. Here are the very basic highlights (in convenient bulleted list format!) before we get into the actual coffee reviews:

  • Dry Method (a.k.a. natural process)
    • Harvested coffee cherries remain intact and are sorted (either by winnowing or by flotation) then dried usually in the sun.
  • Wet method
    • Harvested coffee cherries are sorted and cleaned, then the pulp is mechanically removed. The beans are then sent for a second cleaning, and onto a fermenting tank to remove any remaining pulp. After fermentation is complete, the coffee beans are washed once more and then sent off to be dried, either mechanically or in the sun.
If you're interested in reading more about coffee processing in depth, check out the International Coffee Organization's page on the topic.

1. Chicago House Blend by Passion House Coffee Roasters

Roast: Medium
Tasting Notes: caramel, citrus, balanced
Type: Blend (Brazil, Mexico and Colombia)
Process: Washed and Pulped Natural

This was my favorite by far. I suspected that it might be the case because one of the tasting notes was balanced; I'm a sucker for a smooth, well-balanced cup. It produced a strong, rich, smooth cup that I genuinely enjoyed with my morning oatmeal. I'm definitely going to be ordering a large bag of this in the future.

2. Buena Vista Dark Roast by Verve Coffee Roasters

Roast: Dark
Tasting Notes: dark chocolate, almond, full body
Type: Blend (Latin America)
Process: Fully washed

This coffee produced a rich, bold cup, lovely hint of almond. I would definitely order larger bag of this as well.

3. Division Blend by Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Co.

Roast: Medium
Tasting Notes: brown sugar, orange, rich
Type: Blend (Mexico and Peru)
Process: Fully washed

I didn't have many notes for this one. It was neither great, nor terrible. Basically a good middle of the road coffee. I probably wouldn't order a full bag.

4. Creamery Blend by Ruby Coffee Roasters

Tasting Notes: chocolate, nutty, full bodied
Tasting Notes from the bag: cherry, chocolate, syrupy

The tasting notes on the web description for this blend definitely do not match what's on the actual package, much to my dismay. Sorry Mistobox and Ruby Coffee Roasters, but I thought this coffee was not at all good. If the tasting notes from the web had aligned with the bag, perhaps it had a chance as the original notes are well within my range of favorites. Unfortunately, there was just something about the cherry note that I found off-putting.