Many thanks to the folks at Montana Coffee Traders for sending us a few of their coffees.
The first one we wanted to try is the Grizzly Blend. Perhaps I was attracted by the picture of the grizzly bear on the label – not something you see every day on coffee bags!
And yes, there is a story behind that. For each pound of the Grizzly Blend sold, one dollar is donated to Vital Ground, a non-profit organization devoted to conserving grizzly bear habitat.
As always, we ground the beans just before making the coffee, and brewed the coffee in our trusty Bonavita drip brewer.
As you can see from the beans in the photo below, this is a dark-roasted coffee. You can see the oils on the surface of the beans.
A dark roast like that suggests that the coffee is going to be bold and strong. That’s true of pretty much every dark-roasted coffee.
After that, you can see a bit of a divergence in what a dark roast does to a coffee. Some dark roasts give you the strength, but at the expense of a lot of bitterness or acidity. Other roasters manage to bring out the same strength or boldness, but also with an increase in sweetness.
It’s the latter case with this Grizzly Blend.
You get the full, bold feel of a “strong” coffee, without much acidity...and with a wonderful chocolatey, caramel flavor.
In the words of my wife, who is a better coffee taster than I am, and is quite happy to diverge from traditional coffee cupping language, “This does the job, but isn’t harsh or bitter.”
In other words, this coffee has the strength we look for in our first couple of coffees of the day. But it is light on acidity and heavy on that smooth, rich, chocolate and caramel flavor.
In short, we really like this coffee.
In the world of coffee tasting, blends often don’t get the attention they deserve. All the focus seems to be on single origin coffees.
I get why people get excited about tasting coffees from specific regions or even single farms. But I think it is a mistake to automatically discount blends as somehow being inferior. In the hands of the right roaster, a good blend of different coffees can make a wonderful cup of coffee.
And that’s exactly what the folk at Montana Coffee Traders have achieved with their Grizzly Blend.
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About the author: Nick Usborne, aka Coffee Detective, is a writer and long-time coffee enthusiast. Read more…