I have another review of coffee from my good pals at Metric Coffee Co. for you today! This time we’re looking at their Colombia Decaf. Yes, I said decaf! But what about “Death before decaf?” That’s a funny saying and I like it, but there are plenty of reasons to keep decaf around. And, frankly, if I was a café, I would be taking a good, hard look at this Colombia from Metric at the wholesale level for all my decaf espresso needs! I found this to be decent as a pourover but fantastic as espresso!
DISCLAIMER: This coffee was provided as a complimentary review sample by roasters.co. This is not a paid review (nor is any other on this site) and roasters.co and Metric Coffee Co. are not advertisers or paying KCcoffeegeek.com in any way. The complimentary-ness of this coffee did not affect the outcome of this review in any way. IF YOU WANT TO ORDER THIS COFFEE FROM ROASTERS.CO YOU CAN SAVE 10% ON YOUR ENTIRE ORDER BY USING THE COUPON CODE: KCCOFFEEGEEK.
For my low-attention-span readers: this is a solid, simple cup as pourover. It’s not exciting, but it doesn’t have any off-flavors or grossness, either. As espresso, though, this is GREAT, and I’d go so far as to say it has been one of my favorite espresso shots of 2014! Read on…
I recently reviewed Metric’s Yirgacheffe Konga single origin coffee and really enjoyed it. They set the bar pretty high because that was a nice, subtle, refined coffee and as I write this review it is almost a month after its roasting date and it’s still tasting great in the cup. I had a chat over email with Xavier, one of the owners of Metric Coffee, and when he found out I was going to review his Colombia Decaf he was quick to tell me that he isn’t totally in love with it, etc etc. I think his trepidations were completely unfounded! When Xavier found out I have an espresso machine at home and know how to use it, he seemed pleased and it’s because this is a VERY different coffee in the cup vs in the demitasse!
So, WHY decaf? Two reasons: some people don’t do great with caffeine or they may have health conditions or medications that are cautioned against using caffeine with. For me, it’s the same reason I love good low-alcohol beers… it’s nice to be able to have a cup in the evening without it affecting my sleep, or drink a bunch in the morning without getting the jitters. I like coffee, I don’t necessarily like the buzz, just like I like beer but can do without getting s-faced and hungover.
I will admit I was a little leery about this coffee when I opened the bag. The beans are a lot darker than the Konga, and the smells coming from the bag weren’t wonderful. The beans were pretty funky looking overall, too, but I have some personal experience roasting decaf beans and they simply get beat up from the decaffeinating process, so they are never going to be lookers. There is a real art to roasting decaf well because it doesn’t behave like normal coffee, and as far as decafs go, this looked pretty good.
I prepared this coffee two ways: as espresso in my Gaggia and as pourover in my Gino dripper (basically a Kalita). If you’re interested in my ratios and methods, this page has it all.
This is REALLY good as espresso, at least to my palate! One of my favorite shots of the year, in fact. One thing I did notice is that at my usual grinder setting the Colombia Decaf is still a little loose. I hate adjusting my Hario grinder and I’ll spare you the reasons, so I just kept it as-is and made due with 20-25 second pulls instead of my usual 30-35 seconds. I enjoyed the coffee perfectly fine this way, so why mess around if it tastes good? Perhaps due to the quicker shot or because of the coffee itself, my espressos didn’t have great crema on top (it was relatively thin and sort of bubbly), so it wasn’t the best looking shot, but man, it tasted great!
True to the bag’s tasting notes I got hit with a nutty caramel flavor that had a ton of saltiness to it… relative to coffee, of course. It wasn’t savory like tomato, but more like salted caramel or a salty pretzel. Actual salt flavor in coffee is truly terrifying (ask me how I know), but it worked SO well in this shot. It was really amazing and it made me smile and I thought, “Xavier is very picky about his coffee if this one worried him!”
As the bag of coffee aged (12/17/14 shot, and this was roasted on 11/24) I noticed that salty component got a little muted and I was picking up more dark fruit notes like a little sour cherry. Still delightful.
As cupped coffee in the Gino/Kalita dripper, it’s less interesting. Not much in the aroma that I can pick out. Slurping with my cupping spoon yielded the same flavors I was picking up with normal sips, which is unusual for me (usually I get more flavors and more exaggerated at that from the spoon than the cup). I definitely picked up some leather notes and a nice high tone of fruity acidity, although I couldn’t say whether it leaned toward a flavor (like lemon or berry or etc). It was just “there.” My palate also kept hitting on something that I couldn’t quite dissect, but it felt like a spicy note I’d associate with winter time…. like cinnamon or nutmeg or maybe just black pepper. I couldn’t keep it long enough to figure it out, but it was definitely there. I also noted a bit of savory tomato, more of a mouthfeel than a flavor if that makes any sense, at the end of the sip and into the aftertaste.
All that being said this is pretty subtle, pretty simple and basic as a drip, but it was good, especially for decaf, and it was pleasing to drink.
I would DEFINITELY keep this on-hand for decaf drinkers, no problem at all, and if I was a café needing a good decaf espresso I would be on the phone with Metric looking into wholesale prices right away!