Sensploration Coffee is a Hawaii-based subscription service started Abdullah and Natashia, a military family with Arabic and Colombian roots that found themselves stationed in the idyllic islands. They source Hawaiian-grown coffees for subscribers, who receive a box containing two 5-oz packages of coffee every month. There are some roast level options and the service runs at about $25/month. If you commit to more than the month-to-month plan, you get some savings in the long run. Each box contains a little surprise, too, and I found a couple macadamia nut chocolates in mine. Yum!
Abdullah and Natashia sent me one of their boxes to try out and share with readers, and the first coffee I tried was their Paniolo Blend. This is their darkest roast featuring coffee from the small island of Molokai. Tasting notes for this coffee are, “full bodied with fruity undertones and a really smooth taste. No bitterness or acidity. Great for ice coffee as well.” So, let’s have a taste! Paniolo are Hawaiian cowboys, so maybe this coffee is cowboy-flavored? LOL
I’ve been getting inundated with Hawaiian coffee as of late and so I wanted to try this with the Carta Coffee Merchants Latitude coffees I tried recently still fresh in my mind. This Paniolo Blend is definitely dark, with tons of oil seeping out of the black beans. I would call this a French roast, for sure, maybe on the verge of Italian. I prepared my cups using my usual 1:15 ratio in a notNeutral Gino pour over with about a 3:30 total time. The aroma is definitely a dark roasted coffee… dark, almost burned sugars, a hint of metallic but then also something quite perfume-y and almost floral.
The flavor is darker than the aroma. Very dark sugars, very low acidity and a fair amount of bitterness from the deeply caramelized sugars in the finish. It has big body and a fullness in the mouth. This coffee is very darkly roasted, so that’s what you’re going to get in the flavors. Forget sussing out any origin character with a coffee like this, it’s really about the roast. This would definitely be a milk and sugar coffee for me.
This is a nicely done French-or-beyond roasted coffee. It doesn’t leave much complexity in the cup, being pretty one-dimensional, but I don’t get any flaws or anything “off” about it, either. This is definitely a few shades too dark for what I enjoy drinking most of the time, but fans of really dark coffees would certainly find a lot to like in this cup, and it’s important to note that my evaluations have to be qualified against my personal preferences. For me, this is too dark of a roast and I wouldn’t look forward to this cup everyday, but for someone who is looking for a stout, robust, dark roast to brew in their Mr Coffee and add some milk and/or sugar to in the AM, this would be right up their alley.
I am thinking about grinding this for espresso and making Cuban coffee with it in my Moka pot, now, though… Hmmm….