It’s surprisingly rare when someone sends me espresso to review, probably because home espresso drinkers are a small subset of the already small specialty coffee drinker subset, so we’re really out there on the fringe! But, Dagger Mountain Roastery in Valparaiso, Indiana don’t seem to play by anyone else’s rules and they included a sample of their Limestone seasonal espresso for me, so let’s check it out!
DAGGER MOUNTAIN ROASTERY LIMESTONE SEASONAL ESPRESSO
Dagger Mountain Roastery holds their seasonal espresso blend, Limestone, near and dear to their Indiana hearts. Indiana is home to the biggest limestone deposit in the country. Heck, one of the best movies, ever, Breaking Away, is centered around the kids of Indiana “cutters,” so-named because they cut limestone in the quarries. What a great movie! If you haven’t seen it, order some of this coffee and then watch it. Bonus points for wearing a wool Masi cycling jersey and Campagnolo cycling cap while you watch (but then again, if you own those, you’ve already seen Breaking Away! LOL).
The Dagger Mountain website has precious little about this coffee, otherwise, on it, so I sent an email off to the gang in Indiana to see what’s in it. My first impression of the coffee was that it was a Colombian and Kenyan blend, then for some reason I lost conficence and emailed my prediction to Dagger Mountain as Guatemalan and Kenyan. Much to my personal palate satisfaction, this coffee is, in fact, 88% of the Nariño from Colombia that I reviewed previously (see link above) and the remainder is from Kenya’s Windrush Estate! Damn, I’m good! LOL
For a quick equipment check, for my shots of Limestone I used my modest Gaggia Espresso (still going strong after many years of reliable service) with the only modification being replacement of the aluminum shower screen holder with a brass one. I used a Rancilio Rocky grinder. Other equipment included a bottomless portafilter, 20g precision basket from Decent Espresso and a 58.4mm Matt Perger/Barista Hustle tamper. Finally, I was also using Third Wave Water’s espresso machine-specific additive in distilled water.
My first two pulls were really short and insanely intense. I didn’t record the first one because I figured I would need to dial in a few shots, especially since I was switching from a single origin to this blend and some grind tweaking always needs to take place. My second shot was 19.8g of coffee into the basket and I pulled 23.7g in 30 seconds. Wow. Beyond intense, definitely caused some puckering and the bitterness level was crazy, too. A bit salty, also, in the first sip. Opening up the grind, my third shot used 19.6g of coffee and I pulled 41.6g of espresso in 25s.
This was a much nicer, better balanced shot. Definitely a third wave, modern style of shot, but this gave me tons of very substantial crema that stood up to vigorous stirring very well. Even with a pretty high-ratio shot I got a nice, syrupy body and my two main flavor notes I wrote down were, “nutty” and “lemon-lime acidity.” I got some roastiness and some grapefruit pith in the finish and aftertaste, too. There was plenty of sweetness in the cup, but the acidity was very forward and that toasted nut flavor was really the other star player.
I feel really good that not only did my original call contain both of the right origins for this espresso, but that I got lots of nuttiness and lemon notes from the espresso, both of which were the main flavors I pulled out of the Nariño component that makes up 88% of this blend! It’s nice to get some verification of having a decent palate from time to time, I must say! LOL
I enjoyed this espresso a lot once I had it dialed in. Pulling short shots will definitely cause all sphincters to pucker, so relax the grind some and pull some 1:2 or longer shots and you’ll be rewarded like I was!