By: Sheila Murray
Before I even tried their coffee, I was already a fan of Great Minds Coffee Roasters. I enjoyed hearing that they make small batch coffee but have a diversity of places they source from, they open their roastery twice a week for customer visits and samples, and their business is in a historic pin shop! Though I was only able to try Great Minds from afar, I encourage you to pop by the shop if you live nearby or are passing through!
For this roast review, I enlisted the help of coffee tasters James and Grant. I’ll be sharing our experience trying a single origin coffee as well as an espresso. As always, we were careful not to look for any information about the tasting notes before we tried to guess them on our own!
I was eager to try the coffee before the espresso for this roast review, as I am a sucker for single origin coffees and I was curious how this one would be! I turned the bag (and printed tasting notes) away from myself as I opened it and, once open, a sweet smell immediately hit my nose. I lifted the bag closer and noted hints of chocolate, toffee, and hazelnut. There was a punchy fruit I couldn’t quite put my finger on too.
I handed the bag to Grant, who inhaled the smell of the beans. He pondered for a moment and then shared that it smelled like dessert! He found notes of sugar and chocolate and said he was excited to see what it would taste like because it smelled so dang good.
James took his turn next. He shook the bag of beans a bit before he smelled. “Wow,” James said, “This is like a rich brownie!” He went on to say that there may be something light and fruity in there too. We all agreed that a single origin coffee can have a lot of complex layers and various notes, which is what makes it so special.
We decided to brew this coffee using our Pipamoka because I was so curious what it would be like using a vacuum pressure brew method. We made three cups using the Pipamoka and clinked our mugs before we sipped.
Straight away James remarked on the distinct taste of fruit. He said there was a certain tartness as well as sweetness and guessed it might be a cherry. In his words it was, “definitely a red fruit.” I took a sip and could also sense the fruit, more so than when I had smelled the beans. I especially loved how smooth it was, while holding a full-bodied mouthfeel.
Grant said he got vanilla and toffee most of all. He noted that it had a bold impression and still tasted like a delicious dessert! We all agreed that various flavors hit at different points in the sipping experience, making for a fun coffee to drink and chat about with friends! This coffee is perfect to drink at home on a windy day or a sunny summer morning before the heat of the day kicks in.
This coffee is a medium roast with tasting notes of fresh strawberry, vanilla bean, and whipped cream. Coffees from this region are also typically juicy and sweet with a heavy mouthfeel.
Grant smelled the beans first and commented that it had notes of brown sugar and vanilla. I took the bag of coffee beans next and added chocolate to the list. James was next and guessed there could be fruit. We ground the fresh beans using the Exagrind and the grinding process released a potent smell of sweet fruit into the air.
We decided to use the Nanopresso to brew our espressos and we each made our own. This is another fun part of the Wacaco brewing process I don’t often talk about - it’s an interactive experience and is a unique activity to invite friends to take part in!
“This looks like a stout beer,” laughed Grant after brewing his espresso into a small glass. Indeed, the milky texture and thick crema made for a beautiful stout-like image!
Grant sipped his espresso and remarked that it was fruit forward while upholding chocolatey undertones. He said there was a certain note he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
I made an espresso next and, after admiring my own work, I took a sip. The first thing I noticed was the syrupy mouthfeel of this espresso. It was sweet and smooth on the tongue, and there was a unique blend of dark chocolate and brown sugar. With every sip I was able to sense something different about the tasting notes, acidity, and mouthfeel. This made it exceptionally easy to drink my espresso quickly!
“That’s fun! It’s a different espresso than I’m used to tasting and I enjoy the low acid profile,” said James. He noted lemon peel, baking chocolate, and toasted nuts. He also added that it was one of the best espressos he’d had in a little while due to its complexity of flavors.
This espresso blend is a mix of South and Central American coffee beans and Great Minds describes it as, “Dark Chocolate, Sweet, Smooth, Full Bodied.” The three of us had quite different experiences while tasting the espresso, so we definitely recommend you have fun doing your own taste test with friends!