Blog #4 James Gourmet Coffee – Decaf

Welcome to the first bean review of the blog! While on a short trip to Wales to see my partners family we called into the welsh town of Kidwelly to visit Edan Ash Fine Chocolates. Firstly, the chocolates were incredible; while in the shop I spotted some bags of coffee, namely some decaffeinated Guatemalan from James Gourmet Coffee roasters.

James Gourmet Coffee is a small family business that has been roasting since 1999 in the market town of Ross-on-Wye. While not an old or big name in the roasting business, from what I tasted they have all the knowledge and potential as the big names. James Gourmet coffee are in their own words “a professional single site, non-café owning coffee roasting company”. For me, a single site means that there will be good consistency of roasts and high levels of quality control; and by not owning a café they have dedicated all their energy into the roast and purchasing high quality beans.

Onto the good stuff and what you came here for!

After buying the coffee, I learnt that it is no longer James Gourmet Coffee’s decaf of choice but I emailed them to ask a little more about it. They emailed me back on the same day and were happy to provide me with some more information about the beans; I was really impressed with the customer service.

The roast is a blend of seven small  farms in Huehuetenango, Guatemala and is a fully washed, fermented and sun dried; all the beans are grown between 1550-1650 meters above sea level. Now, because this coffee is decaf the beans chosen to go through the decaffeination process are not the farms top lot, simply as the market is smaller and will reduce margins. These beans have gone through the Co2 based decaffeination process; essentially, the CO2 process steams the beans in carbon dioxide kept at 5bars of pressure and the caffeine is removed from the carbon dioxide through charcoal filtering, just as it is in the water-only process. However, the flavour components remain in the bean throughout the process rather than being soaked out and then put back in again, as they are in both the Swiss Water and the indirect solvent processes. This ends up with a coffee bean that while looks slightly different to normal has retained its flavour and aroma, and if organic initially retains its organic status.

I brewed an espresso and as expected I had to grind the beans finer than normal because of it being a darker roast, but once dialled in I followed a recipe of 14grams of coffee ground to the 2 setting on my Melitta Molino to produce a final espresso of 35grams ,so roughly a ratio of 1:2.5; and between a traditional espresso and lungo espresso this took 25 seconds to produce with a creama that lasted about 2 minutes.

After grinding, I noticed quite a sweet smell from the grounds and this was a pleasant precursor of what was to come. The espresso had a crisp sweet bitterness to it, the bitterness was only slight but it was refreshing. I kept trying to find words to describe the taste and kept coming back to ‘robust’, which I think describes this coffee perfectly and I would describe the crisp sweetness as similar to biting into a fresh apple. Overall this coffee is really nice to drink as an espresso and shows brilliant potential to cut through the milk in a cappuccino or latte. 

I also brewed this coffee as a V60 pour over as this is my day to day brewing technique, for this I used 30grams of coffee to 500ml of water at 95 degrees. With this being a decaf it offered me the wonderful opportunity of brewing this at about 7pm without having to think about trying to get to sleep later on! In a pour over this coffee had a wonderful mouthfeel , the bitterness quickly disappeared and left a cup of coffee that was comforting. While some of the flavours experienced in an espresso did not come through this still proved a very good cup.

Overall this coffee, however brewed, produces a cup that is delightful to drink and will really appeal to people that like more developed roasts. As most of the coffee world, I have been drawn to lighter roasts lately so this was a pleasant change from the more acidic flavours of light roasts to something well developed, expertly roasted with a rich bold and robust flavour. I would highly recommend James Gourmet coffee and I will definitely be picking up more of their coffee in the future. You can find them here:

Once again thank you for reading and remember life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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