If we’re learning anything about specialty coffee in the USA, it’s that we can find it in the most unlikely places! Yesterday we were in rural Kentucky with Harden Coffee and today we’re back to small town Iowa with another lovely espresso from Ross Street Roasting Co! Great coffee in America is not just a big city thing! Let’s check it out!
ROSS STREET ROASTING CO. DR. DOOLITTLE’S ESPRESSO NUOVO
It has been a joy to watch Brian Gumm’s Ross Street Roasting Co., located in the small Iowa town of Tama, grow and develop. Brian’s a great guy and he loves to experiment with coffee. His roasting is consistent and he expends a lot of effort to bring out the best in the beans he selects. Brian has been diligently working on espresso blends for quite some time now. Named after his friend, local medical doctor, and espresso aficionado, Dr. Jeff Doolittle, Brian currently has two espressos in his Dr. Doolittle lineup. I reviewed (link above!) Brian’s Classico blend at the beginning of the month and found it to be a delicious and wonderful take on classic Roman espresso, full of chocolate, nut and roast notes. For people who like pulling ristretto shots and prefer an updated version of a classic Italian flavor profile, it’s the best I’ve found to date!
For more modern tastes, Brian also formulated his Nuovo blend. This is a light-medium roast of coffees from Guatemala, Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia. Espresso geeks like equipment, so let’s do a quick setup check on what I was using for my shots of this blend. I am back to using my trusty old Gaggia Espresso and a Rancilio Rocky grinder. I am still using good ol’ Kansas City tap water, although I will be running some experiments on Third Wave Water’s espresso product very soon. To round things out I use Decent Espresso’s 20g precision basket and a Decent Espresso 25lb calibrated tamper that is made for their baskets and comes in at a diameter of 58.5mm.
After a couple dial-in shots, I started to pull what I liked to my taste with a 20g dose and a 35g output in 30 seconds. Because I was using a spouted portafilter, I turned the pump off at 30 seconds but let it run out for about 3-4 seconds afterward to get my final yield. Ross Street’s Nuovo blend is bright, but not too bright. My shots had a nice, creamy body and plenty of underlying sweetness to balance what I found to be a lemony acidity. The finish still had lemon notes but also a dark chocolate tone that wasn’t too far from the finish of the Classico shot. I found great balance between old and new in this espresso. The Nuovo blend is certainly a modern espresso that does well with longer pulls, yet it still retains a nice crema and body. If I had to put it on a scale with an everyday Roman shot on the old school side of the scale and a light roast Kenyan single origin on the modern end, I would land this around 7-8. I think Brian has found a nice stride for this blend that keeps it out of tooth enamel-stripping territory and solidly in the familiar, just with brighter acidity and a balance that leans toward more fruit than more chocolate/nuts. Ross Street’s Nuovo blend is delicious! I can’t comment on how it does with milk because my endless tinkering has rendered the steam unusable on both of my espresso machines, now. LOL Time for a third one? 🙂