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Kieran and I here at Above Average Coffee have had the joy of getting to try some bags of Coffee Friend’s Caprissimo range of coffee.
Caprissimo is a coffee brand that you will either be fairly familiar with or have never heard of it at all. They’re a pretty sizable coffee brand that sells to coffee shops, to businesses who want caffeinated employees, and to regular Joes who just want some nice coffee at home.
As always with our coffee bean reviews and taste testings, we will try to be scientific about things. We’ll keep what can be the same, the same. We’ll brew the beans in a choice of different brew methods that we feel will explore the different ways that the coffee beans can turn out with different brews.
Taste Testing Caprissimo Coffee (A Round of Coffee Cupping)
To make sure our coffee taste testing is giving a fair test of the coffee beans themselves, we measure how we brew carefully.
Firstly, we brew at the ideal coffee temperature, we monitor the water temperature to ensure that it remains between 195F and 205F. No matter which brew method we’re using, our water is in that temperature range.
We measure out how much coffee and water we use. We brew with a coffee to water ratio of 1:15. That is, with the exception of espresso as an approximately 1:4 ratio is a key part of the espresso brew method.
With a 1:15 brew ratio, for both pour-over and French Press, we’re using 20g of coffee and 300g of water. For espresso, we used 12g of coffee to pull approximately 2 ounces of espresso.
We select an appropriate grind size for each brew method. French press gets a coarse grind, drip and pour over gets a medium grind, and espresso gets a fine grind.
Of course, we need tasty water to make tasty coffee. We always use clean filtered water to make coffee. A simple little tweak to ensure a great brew.
Now, let’s get onto how brewing these beans actually played out!
- Dark Chocolate
- Caramel Sweetness
- Mild Woodsmoke
- Super Smooth
The blend seems to have managed to bring a lovely balance of lovely elements of both light roast and dark roast coffee beans. That’ll be why they call it a medium roast!
While we found the pour over and drip brews with this blend to be underwhelming, the french press and espresso brews were some lovely easy-drinker cups. This made us suspicious that the majority of the flavor from this blend is coming from the oils in the beans.
Upon opening this bag of beans, it certainly gave a lot for just our noses alone to contend with. The beans themselves predominantly had a hark chocolate aroma accompanied by floral tones, caramelly notes, and sweet biscuity-cookie hints.
It was a very balanced aroma. Warm and sweet, accompanies by a little background air of wood smoke.
Upon grinding up these little coffee-seeds, the aroma became much darker, something akin to molasses. Although with this darkening of flavor, it was also accompanied by a lovely vanilla sweetness that didn’t seem present before.
Immediately, these beans gave off a lovely strong bloom as soon as the hot water hit them.
Upon finishing the brew, we were surprised to find that the pour over really didn’t yield much aroma. The flavor was predominantly mild astringency.
Thinking that we had botched the brew, we gave it another shot; both as a manual pour over and as drip coffee. Same again.
The french press brew had a very mild aroma, like a pleasant sea breeze – a little salty.
Immediately, it was clear that these beans were far better suited to french press brewing rather than pour over.
The flavor was predominantly of red-berry sweetness accompanied by a pleasant fresh-woodiness. The texture was seriously smooth.
Sweet and balanced, with a lovely depth of flavor. A stark change from the pour-over and drip result.
This brew was a definite easy drinker. A classic medium roast, perfect for new coffee drinkers.
This Italiano blend was taken to the big leagues, met some serious pressure, and churned out some lovely espresso.
This little cup of go-juice was brilliantly smooth. The dark espresso-must was strongly chocolatey, with those familiar sweet cookie-biscuity notes.
- Pleasant bitterness and bright, tart, astringency
- Gentle blackberry sweetness
- Floral-honey aftertaste
The beans wafted a rich, strong, aroma of buttery chocolate. There were hints of red-berry fruityness partnered with a coolness that somewhat reminded me of a deciduous forest.
Upon grinding these beans, the buttery chocolate became even more pronounced.
The aroma from the pour over was fairly minimal, however with the first sip came a strong woodiness accompanied by a pleasant bitterness. This brew just couldn’t help reminding me of the woodiness you might taste in a whisky.
Like the pour over, the french press brew was predominantly woody with that familiar pleasant bitterness; although this time it was accompanied by a notable tang of blackberry sweetness.
This extra little bit of sweetness lent nicely against the already present bitterness to build a lovely balance.
The espresso, ever the interesting brew, brought more flavors to the palette.
Caramelly molasses took the center stage with the flavors on the espresso brew, with the woodiness really fading into the background. There was a bright, lingering, tart, acidity that just kept reminding me that I had sipped some coffee long after the sip was over.
In amongst the aftertaste was a flavor similar to the acidic aspects of honey flavors, a nippy sweetness, along with the more floral notes of honey.
This espresso brew with the Belgique beans would go excellent with a Tia Maria.
Espresso (That’s what the blend is called)
- Black Cherry
- Dark Chocolate
- Hazelnut and Walnut
- Pleasant Bitterness
The beans themselves had some pretty darn strong aromas going on. Black cherry, dark chocolate, and smoky spice flanked by walnut and interesting woody notes.
The dark cherry was similar to what you might find in a black forest gateau. These beans are like a bag of coffee cake.
From the look of these beans, they are certainly a medium roast. Not at all oily as you would expect from a roast that is named Espresso. Typically an Espresso roast would be a darker roast to ensure there are plenty of oils present to make a lovely crema.
While the aroma from the pour over brew of the espresso beans was pretty minimal, only a light floral hint, the taste itself was certainly strong. Dark cherry was by far the predominant flavor that gave way to a mild, pleasantly bitter after taste.
The french press brew steered the flavor, far from the dark cherry, toward a perky hum of hazelnut and spicy tamarind (of all flavors). The dark cherry gave way to a berry-like tartness.
There was a bitter aftertaste that is definitely nice for coffee lovers, but would likely not please a coffee-newbie. The Espresso blend brewed by french press is definitely a win for coffee lovers, but not one to convert someone to coffee.
Making a good espresso with these beans did take some experimenting from our typical espresso settings.
Our first attempt produced a pretty weak espresso with almost zero crema. Although on the third attempt, after grinding the beans notably finer than we usually would for espresso, we had it nailed.
The espresso brew was super smooth, although certainly bitter. Flavors of dark chocolate, woody notes and double cream danced across the tongue.
These beans make a great espresso if you like it bitter. Certainly a great option for making the likes of a Vietnamese Egg Coffee.
I would definitely want an espresso like this to give me a real boot up the backside before I drive home after a heavy meal.
Having tried Caprissimo’s Italiano, Belgique, and Espresso blends, I feel that my favorite out of the three was the Italiano blend. While the pour over and drip turned out a bit lacklustre, the french press and espresso brews were richly flavorful and well-rounded.
The Italiano blend lendt itself nicely towards dark chocolate and biscuity-cookie flavors with lovely red berry sweet tones throughout. The Belgique blend lent itself more toward astringency and the Espresso blend lent itself more toward pleasantly bitter tones. My personal preference is a dark roast that manages to bring all the dark richness while keeping bitterness to a minimum, so the Italiano is a natural winner for me.
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