Solid Coffee Roasters out of California sent me one of their coffee samplers out of the blue recently and the samples were small enough that I could only get one cup out of each, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to review all of them together. It’s
tough impossible to really properly review a coffee when I can only drink one cup, but this at least gives a good overview of some of their offerings. I don’t remember talking to anybody at Solid so these coffees may’ve come to me to be considered as a roaster for Roasters.co and my curated subscription service. Thanks to them for sending them and I wanted to point out that the Solid photo I used is from their website, too. I couldn’t get a good photo of the little sample bags!
The three coffees they sent samples of are their Ethiopia Yirgchacheffe, Tanzania Peaberry Zanzibar and El Salvador Cuscatlan. You can currently find all three of these coffees on their website for $15-$18/bag.
For all three coffees I used the standard AeroPress method detailed here instead of my usual inverted AeroPress recipe, and for no particular reason other than that’s what I felt like doing! And, again, keep in mind I only had one cup of each of these coffees. More details about each coffee (varietal, elevation, type of processing, tasting notes, etc) can be found at Solid’s website.
This turned out to be my favorite coffee of the three samples I received. Right after brewing there were a ton of lime and floral aromas pouring out of the cup and the sips I took of the hot coffee carried a bunch of lemon-lime in them. The mouthfeel was light and the aftertaste was short. As the cup cooled it picked up more sweetness and a bit of strawberry fruit to balance out the brightness of the lemon-lime. I got hints of ferment that reminded me of natural Ethiopian coffees, but this is a washed coffee.
Tanzania Peaberry Zanzibar
Peaberries are coffee cherries that only have one seed inside of them, instead of two, so they take on a round, American football-like appearance when roasted since the usual characteristic shape of coffee, where one side is flat, comes from normal cherries where two seeds are pressed up against one another. It’s not uncommon, particularly in Africa, for processors to screen out peaberries and sell them as their own grade of coffee, and they do look cool!
This coffee was nothing to write home about at first. It was plant-like, very drying on the palate and had a bit of chocolate and vanilla in the aroma and flavor. The coffee opened up a lot as it cooled down, though, bringing a nicer, rounder mouthfeel to the table. There were hints of cherry in the flavor and it gave a juiciness to the cup, too. The acidity opened up in the cool cup, too, reminding me a bit of sour cherry. This is a nice coffee at cooler temps, but if you are a “drink it while it’s really hot” kind of coffee drinker, you’re going to miss out on most of what this one has to offer.
El Salvador Cuscatlan
This coffee didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t find any flaws or anything unlikeable, either, it just didn’t have a lot of character for me and certainly your mileage may vary! My nose met a lot of marshmallow sweetness in the aroma immediately after brewing. The initial flavor was very “plant-like” for me and it struck me as having flavors similar to green pepper. This green pepper flavor persisted as the cup cooled. I know, “marshmallow and green peppers” doesn’t sound real pleasant, but understand that these flavors and aromas are subtleties that exist within the context of a cup of coffee! Although, who knows, maybe a savory s’more is the next big thing!
The body was light to medium with a short aftertaste and a bit of vanilla and some roasty carbon came forward as the cup cooled, but surprisingly it didn’t brighten up like most coffees do for me when they cool. It was really a pretty flat and boring coffee for my palate, but, again, not unlikeable or flawed or unpleasant in any way at all.
Overall these are pretty good coffees. The Cuscatlan didn’t do much for me and I liked the Tanzania once it cooled about 50% down, although the persistently drying mouthfeel had me enjoying it less than I would have if it wasn’t there. The Yirgacheffe was a nice cup and if I was buying coffee from Solid in the future that’s the one I would pick!