I was the lucky winner of three bags of Mr. Espresso coffee in an Instagram contest recently and I have been enjoying the heck out of these coffees! Today’s review is of Mr. Espresso’s Golden Gate House blend, a fair-trade and organic medium-roast intended to capture the perfect sunset at the Golden Gate Strait in San Francisco in its flavors of caramel, dark chocolate and fruity acidity. You can buy this coffee direct from Mr. Espresso for only $12.50! If you’re interested in the excellent story of Mr. Espresso’s early years and subsequent influence on the San Francisco coffee scene, you definitely need to read this excellent article from Sprudge.com!
Mr. Espresso is unique in that they are using oak wood to fuel their roasters rather than gas. According to Mr. Espresso, this is trickier roasting because wood is less predictable and takes more care to manage temperature changes that are part of the coffee roasting process, but that it allows them to extend parts of the roast and benefit the end result that ends up in your cup. I can definitely say that the three bags of coffee I got from Mr. Espresso contained the most beautiful coffee beans I have ever seen, without a doubt. They are absolutely gorgeous!
But looks are one thing, can you really capture the magic of a Golden Gate sunset in a cup? I brewed this coffee a bunch of times in my Gino pourover dripper (15:1 ratio) as well as a few times in my Gaggia espresso machine. For the record, Mr. Espresso also makes a version of this blend strictly intended for espresso, but I find that beans that are this well-developed in their roast often do well as espresso, too, and I wasn’t disappointed!
The espresso was solidly in the chocolate and cocoa flavor category (what many people would call a “traditional” shot) but it also had the most incredible, softest, smoothest mouthfeel I have experienced in almost 25 years of coffee and espresso drinking! It was unbelievably dense and creamy, like drinking heavy cream. As I write this I’m going to have to stop and run to the kitchen to heat up the Gaggia because I need a shot now!
OK, I’m back… As a pourover, I got tons of cocoa-like aromas off the Gino as it brewed. The immediate flavor profile in the freshly brewed cup had tons of chocolate, but as the cup cooled to a more reasonable drinking temperature I got hit with loads of salted caramel. Super nice! The coffee has substantial body and a long aftertaste. There is nice bitterness in the finish, so the coffee never feels cloying on the palate.
I’d say this Golden Gate House blend has low perceived acidity, but there is still a little bit of a high note to balance all those chocolate and caramel flavors. The balancing acidity that this coffee has isn’t in-your-face or obvious, but I did get some peach or apricot-like tones in the room temperature cup as I was finishing my samples. So, chocolate, salted caramel and some peachy fruitiness to balance it out. If that isn’t making you crave this coffee, then I feel sorry for you! 🙂
This is a beautiful example of a fully-developed roast that has the flavors you want of chocolate, caramel and even retains some fruit acidity to balance it out, but yet none of the undesirables that are associated with “darker” roasts (although this is developed, not dark, and there is a big difference)… no harsh acids, no metallic flavors, no fishy smells (yes, I said it), no astringency. These guys know what they are doing at the roaster, no doubt.
I said it in my last review of Mr. Espresso’s Rwanda Musasa that I didn’t expect to enjoy these coffees as much as I have, but man, I am a big fan! And so far both the Rwanda and the Golden Gate House drip blend have worked nicely as dual-use (drip and espresso) coffees. I’ll stop now before I get accused of being a fanboy!