Up for review today is another coffee from Royal Mile Coffee Roasters out of New Jersey, this time a decaffeinated coffee from Rwanda’s Coffee Villages mill. You can pick this coffee up for $13 for 12oz or a smaller 6 ounce bag priced accordingly. Royal Mile sourced this coffee from the most excellent Coffeeshrub (the wholesale/large volume arm of my favorite coffee company in the world, Sweet Maria’s). Coffeeshrub/Sweet Maria’s send a fair amount of their coffee to Vancouver for Swiss Water Process, a water-based, non-chemical decaffeination process.
The Coffee Villages wet mill is located near Karenge, Rwanda and is a consistent producer of Rwandan bourbon varietals grown in the 1600-1900masl range.
I know decaf gets beaten up by a lot of coffee people, but I’m always willing to try them and I have been pleasantly surprised by all the decaffeinated coffees I’ve reviewed on KCcoffeegeek. Not everyone wants to catch a buzz from their coffee, or, like me, they may be pretty sensitive to caffeine and can’t drink it in the afternoon/evening. I can handle about 2-3 cups of coffee (or espresso) per day and that’s about it before it affects my sleep, and I’m not alone. Some people take medication that doesn’t jive well with caffeine, too, and whatever the reason, it’s always nice to have options.
Swiss Water Process is cool because it uses water in the decaffeination process instead of disgusting chemicals. Even so, SWP is relatively hard on coffee beans, so you’ll notice that decafs usually aren’t lookers. But it’s the taste that matters! As expected, these beans from Royal Mile were really dark and had some shiny oil spots on them, but that’s par for the course with SWP coffees and in my experience they turn pretty dark even when it’s a medium to light roast.
I brewed this using my usual 15:1 Gino pourover method. The aroma of the freshly brewed coffee was chocolatey and had a lot of molasses in it, too. The hot cup had flavors of darkly caramelized sugar and a bit of raisin as well as a note of cereal. As is always the case, the coffee improved as it cooled down. It was a pretty straightforward cup, balanced toward being sweet with chocolate and dark sugar flavors predominating as it cooled. The perceived acidity was very low in this coffee, although it picked up a “juicy” quality, for lack of a better term, as it cooled even more. I think I was getting hints of apple-like acidity. At one point I was getting delicious flavors that reminded me a lot of Oreo cookies. The mouthfeel on this coffee was pretty substantial and it had a long finish.
I had this coffee after 8PM and I slept like a baby that night, so it was definitely decaf, as advertised! I think Royal Mile did a great job with this coffee and I would be happy to drink this anytime, especially after it cools down and opens up.