Sensploration Coffee is a Hawaii-based subscription service started by Abdullah and Natashia, a military couple whose work led them to be stationed in Hawaii. With roots that go back to Arabic and Colombian coffee culture, Abdullah and Natashia found a way to share their love of coffee and its impact on the senses with Sensploration. They sent me one of their boxes recently and I reviewed their darkest Paniolo Blend last week. Today I’m taking a look at their North Shore Blend. Sensploration boxes cost around $25/month (two 5oz bags of different coffees) and there are discounts for longer term subscriptions, too.
While Sensploration boxes apparently use international coffees, too, my box contained all Hawaiian selections. The North Shore blend is billed as a light/medium roast and it contains coffees from Waialua Coffee, grown on the North Shore of Oahu. Sensploration’s descriptors for this coffee include, “full body, rich flavor and smooth taste. No acidity or bitterness.” I used my usual 1:15 ratio (30g of coffee, 450g of water) to prepare my samples in my notNeutral Gino pour over with white Kalita 185 filters. Total brew time was around 3:45 for most of my samples.
The aroma on this coffee is sweet… some caramel and some chocolate. That carries through in the flavor, too, which is predominantly sweet but with some elements that add a bit of complexity, too. I enjoy coffees that are sugar bombs from time to time and I would classify this as one, for sure! The sweetness is really sugary, maybe a light caramel character, and there is enough roast character to satisfy folks who like darker roasts, too. I would agree that the perceived acidity in this cup is low, but there is definitely a malic acid character balancing some of the overt sweetness and it gives a full mouthfeel that is like a sweet apple juice. The finish is sweet, too, although there is a hint of bitterness (but, remember, coffee IS bitter, and some bitterness does a lot to add interest and complexity) in the finish that keeps the coffee from feeling cloying on the palate. All that sweetness in the cup gives each sip a very full mouthfeel and a lot of body and on my palate this coffee feels like drinking a darker coffee that is spiked with cream.
I really enjoyed this coffee as a morning starter. I’ve been kind of digging on darker roasts lately, mainly because I’ve been getting a lot of them sent my way, but also because they are often like this North Shore Blend… super sweet, super drinkable and extremely approachable. I can only imagine that Sensploration Coffee subscribers have nothing but good feedback for Abdullah and Natashia when the box has North Shore Blend in it!