THIS COFFEE HAS SOLD OUT. Short shots of Polar Expresso are silky sweet, high % cacao bar, mixed berry, citrus, dark grape, and smokey cedar chips. A level of complexity that only African coffees can produce. Full City to Full City+. Great espresso.
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This is our second year of putting together a holiday blend. We went 16 years without one, but last year's "Esprestletoe" proved that creating kooky images for kooky blend names is half the fun, and we hope this year's "Polar Expresso" image doesn't disappoint! But a good blend isn't about imagery, it's about putting together coffees that are complimentary to one another, and that coalesce into a cup profile not possible from one individual component. Esprestletoe does just that. With the holiday season in mind, we cupped through the bulk of our African coffees, choosing the top scoring coffees from Rwanda and Burundi, matching them up with a western Ethiopia coffee, as well as a tiny bit of Kenya coffee from vibrance. All four coffees are wet-processed, and each scored above 88 points on their own. Needless to say, much like the holidays can be for some, this blend is quite complex! You can roast it for brewed coffee (City+ produced an even roast, with developed sweetness, and delicate top notes), but our intention is to create an intense-profiled espresso, with extremely high sweetness, fresh fruit tones, and acidity that can be tempered with roast. We roasted two Full City batches with very close finish times, but with very different acidity levels based on the time from the start of 1st crack to when we finally pulled them. If your roaster has manual heat or fan control will be able to pull back at or just before 1st snaps, extending the time of roast development (careful not to stall!), and dialing back acidity. If you don't have manual control of your machine, you can always just take the roast a shade darker with similar results, albeit with the addition of roast tones. No matter what your roast method is, Polar Expresso is sure to 'brighten' up your holiday party with an acidic snap that just might incite a puckering situation (as the name suggests!).
We roasted Polar Expresso to a couple different levels, and found Full City to be the optimal starting point for espresso extraction. This is where the tart 'zing' of lemony acidity is tempered by simple syrup-like sweetness, and pervading flavor of high % cacao bar. This is an all African blend, so you can bet the smells from the grinder are fruited, slightly floral (at City+ and FC), and with bittersweetness from roast at more developed roast levels. It pulls beautifully too. While crema is no indicator of positive cup flavors, it sure looks nice, and both short and long shots produced a healthy dose in my glass (near top to bottom), settling to a thick, frothy head. Putting my nose to the cup, the aroma is filled with bittersweet chocolate intensity, laced with a mix of burned sugars and blueberry jam (Lily said about a Full City+ shot, "this smells like black strap molasses!"). Ristretto shots of our Full City roast have a distilled flavor of dark chocolate bar and candied citrus rind on the tip of your tongue, along with bracing, citric acidity. The liquor is silky on the palate, boosting the effect of cocoa roast tones, and letting it sit in your mouth produces a heady mix of dark berry and grapefruit, and even melon notes on the exhale. Longer shots are only slightly thinner in texture, and with a flavor that reminds me of the dark-chocolate oranges I tend to see a lot of during the holiday season. Taking the roast into 2nd snaps will increase the cocoa roast tones, giving way to a flavor of dark grape, and smokey cedar chips in the finish. And while it tones down acidity, citrus brightness is still intact.. A holiday blend from us to you, Polar Expresso is only available until the end of the year.