Barista Coffee Box 5/17: Revelator Shiwanda

posted in: 2017, reviews | 0

May 2017’s Barista Coffee Box is a big one, literally! The featured roaster is southeastern US powerhouse, Revelator, who included the standard four coffee packets that subscribers get every month as well as two bonus coffees! Cool stuff! With this much coffee to drink it’s time to jump right in! Oh, and hey, if you like my reviews, don’t be afraid to hit that “subscribe” button! I DO NOT send you email or sell any of your info to anyone else. It’s just nice to see that people dig what I’m doing!

Barista Coffee Box

Revelator Coffee Co.

Purchase directly for $17/12oz

Eater article about Revelator


Barista Coffee Boxes arrived on doorsteps last week and this month’s featured roaster is Revelator Coffee Co. Usually BCB’s have four sample packets from the same roaster, but Revelator added two bonus coffees this month, so if you’re wanting to try Barista Coffee Box for the first time, this would be the month to do it, if they have any left. I had a Kenyan coffee from Revelator back in July 2016 from my MyCoffeePub subscription and loved that coffee. Revelator is big in the southeastern USA. The company is headquartered in Birmingham, AL and was founded by three partners and a venture capital firm (which does explain the rapid expansion). Revelator launched in late 2014 and now has two locations in Alabama, two in Atlanta, New Orleans, two in Tennessee (Chatanooga and Nashville) and one in Charleston, SC! I know it’s a bit en vogue to poo-poo VC, expansion and “corporateness” in specialty coffee, but, hey, the coffee Revelator is putting out there has tasted great to me so far, so as long as the sourcing and roasting are good, I’m pretty OK with it. This isn’t the 1980’s punk scene, people should make a good living if they can!

Randomly grabbing into May’s Barista Coffee Box led me straight to Revelator’s Shiwanda, a selection from near ther town of Mbozi in the Mbeya region on Tanzania. This is a historic estate that was revived in 1998 and they grow Bourbon and Kent varieties at 1600masl there. This is a washed coffee and Revelator gives us flavor notes of, “Apricot preserves, toasted marshmallow, iced tea like acidity, Amaretto, hints of ginger snaps.” I used my standard pourover setup using a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. Handground grinder was set to 3 and I used Third Wave Water in my brewing. I will say my brewing was lower than usual because one of my dogs got out of the fence this morning and I spent a few frantic minutes outside calling for him (he’s fine, he just went across the street and hid from us for a few minutes, but thank God) between the bloom and actual brewing. It didn’t hurt this coffee one bit, though…

The first few sips of this coffee are a joy to drink. There’s this big, mouth-filling presence in the cup that I think comes mostly from the acidity, and yet this coffee has a relatively light body for how big it feels on the palate. If you follow along regularly you’ll notice I’ve been using the “apricot” descriptor quite a lot lately, and here’s another one! There is a peachy/apricot-y note and mouthfeel to this coffee, for sure. Up front there is a slight tartness coming from the acidity that, when combined with the soft sweetness of the cup really reminds me of apricot. In the finish there is a slight dryness on my palate that reminds me of that sensation of eating peach skins, which are sweet but leave a bit of a dry finish behind, and there is a definite white peach note in the aftertaste, too. And you readers know how much I love a peachy coffee! Actually, I think this is more apricot-like than peachy, compared to a couple of peach bombs I’ve had this year.

I get a little soft citrus, not quite orange, more of a tangerine note, in the acidity on this cup, too. This is a bright coffee, but the brightness is super fruity and so it reads almost more as “fruit tartness” than “acidity” for me and I love that in a coffee. There is a malic, apple-like component to both the sweetness and acidity, too. This is a little bit like coffee’s answer to a fresh fruit salad! LOL

Holding the coffee in my mouth and agitating it a little more gives me hints of almond and it also brings up the citrus component of the acidity, which then carries long into the aftertaste. The aftertaste itself lingers forever on this cup and it has a lot of peach character in it as well as some baked goods, like cookies, if I wait a couple minutes between sips (and why would you do that??). This is one of those coffees I found myself wanting to take big gulps of and frequent sips. There are a lot of nuances to find in this cup, but at the same time it doesn’t seem “complex” to me in that the flavors are all easy to find and they mostly fall into that fruity category, making this a really interesting cup that is also very easy to drink. It’s so appealing and delicious! What I love about this coffee is that it’s bright and almost sparkling or effervescent but it’s also not harsh and it’s really nicely balanced. It doesn’t kick as hard as a really bright Kenyan, for example, but it’s still right up there… there’s just something about this coffee that is softer and rounder and it’s really a fun and easy drinker! This is an easy buy recommendation for me. Absolutely beautiful!