For today’s review I decided to pick an espresso blend that I’ve been rocking for the past week, Spotted Cow Coffee Company’s Farmhouse Espresso. Spotted Cow is one of the roasters I work with through the Roasters.co coffee subscription I curate and this was my first exposure to their coffee. I make a small commission on the subscriptions (but really just do it for fun!), so I used the credit I’ve been banking with Roasters.co to buy this coffee, which you can get directly from Spotted Cow for $14.50/12oz or from Roasters.co for the same price.
Spotted Cow is a roaster and cafe located in Mill Creek, WA. It had been a while since I’d had an espresso blend in the house and every time I walked into the kitchen I was getting nasty looks from Nuova Simonelli and Gaggia, and you don’t want to piss off the Italians, so it was time! LOL
Like a lot of roasters, Spotted Cow changes the coffees that make up their Farmhouse Espresso depending on what’s in season. The current blend is a microlot from near Panajachel, Guatemala and an Ethiopian from the Aramo mill in Yirgacheffe. The Guatemala is a Bourbon varietal that grows around 1500masl and it’s a washed coffee. Drew from A Table in the Corner of the Cafe did a review of this coffee as a single origin offering last year. The Aramo component is a natural Ethiopian heirloom varietal that grows in the 1800-2000masl range. This is a smart blend because the Guatemala can provide chocolate, nuts and caramel sweetness while the natural highlights berries, fruit and a brighter acidity. The tasting notes provided by Spotted Cow are, “Cherry, blueberry jam, chocolate, syrupy body.”
The dry fragrance on this coffee does not hide the natural in the least. Sweet berries jump out of the bag and from the grounds. It took me a while to dial in my grinder on this one and I have a feeling it may still be a little young out of the grinder, even. I wouldn’t be surprised if it hits its peak later this week or even next week sometime. In any case, I drank a lot of single shots of this coffee as well as some small milk drinks (6oz cappuccino) and it’s a nice cup! Enjoy the video clip featuring Spotted Cow Farmhouse Espresso and my new bottomless portafilter with the most over-the-top epic music I could find! LOL
As a straight shot, it has medium body and lemon-lime acidity, but with a lot of berry flavors and dark chocolate sweetness to balance it out. Once it was dialed in, I got almonds in the finish, too. It’s a bright shot, but not overly so. Definitely an untraditional, third wave espresso, but it’s not as bracing and totally over the top with the brightness element as some can be. It’s a nice “trail mix” shot with chocolate, berries and nuts! Yum!
I am a fan of small milk drinks like cortados (basically a 4.5oz latte) or traditional 6oz cappuccinos. Sometimes these brighter espresso blends can be a little overwhelming for drinks this size, but this one did well with the whole milk I was using. I found the espresso and milk took on a lot more of the dark chocolate character (think of a fancy Mast Brothers single origin bar) and the blueberries from the Ethiopian component came through nicely, too. The espresso has plenty of texture to stand up to the milk, too.
Overall I was really pleased with this coffee. It’s not traditional, but it’s also not too over the top. It’s delicious in milk drinks as well as alone, so that makes it a winner in my book. It did take what seemed like an inordinately long time for me to dial it in, but that was probably from me getting used to my new (to me) Nuova Simonelli MDX and bottomless portafilter. I find most espressos do better with a couple weeks of age on them, too, so I suspect some bag time will improve things even more, if I have any left to experiment with in another week or so!