Roast Review: Passenger Coffee
Aug 08, 2023Daniel Kennedy

Roast Review: Passenger Coffee

Roast Review by: Sheila Murray

If you’re like me, you know that coffee is so much more than the final product that you sip. There are countless hands, a slew of stories, and various processes that make it possible for you to enjoy your morning brew. One of the things I’m always on the lookout for is a coffee roasting company that has a conscious mission. Passenger Coffee caught my attention because of their mission: “To seek out and thoughtfully present the world’s most memorable coffees and teas in a way that demonstrates the viability of an equitable supply chain.” I was impressed to see that they are a Certified B Corporation and they pull back the curtain of their business via their Transparency Report. It is clear that Passenger Coffee is built with intention and that they have had a positive impact on the local and global community. All this and they won Food + Wine Best Coffee Shop in PA 2022. Without further ado, I am eager to introduce you to two of Passenger’s roasts in this Roast Review!

Peru Cusco

First impressions

James opened up the bag of coffee beans and shook it around to release the aroma into the air.  He took a deep inhale as he considered what he sensed. He noted that it had a certain spicy aroma as well as fruit. He was careful to keep the bag’s label pointed away (we always do these coffee tastings without looking at the tasting notes, so we can make our own guesses) as he admired the coffee bag itself.  We agreed that the packaging was thoughtfully crafted and eco-friendly. 

I smelled the beans next and enjoyed how warm the aroma was. I thought there was a hint of something sweet and juicy, like a red berry, as well as floral notes. There was also something a bit deep such as nutmeg or chocolate. Either way, I was eager to taste it!

We took out our Pipamoka and an Octaroma and started to prepare our coffees. Though we didn’t know what to expect with this coffee, it seemed like the vacuum brewing method would bring out some of the flavors that we were sensing.

Tasting notes

We clinked our mugs together and took a sip of our brews. I was struck by the smooth mouthfeel. The flavor was sweet, pleasant, and light. I imagined the coffee could have notes of rose, honey, and fruit.

James said that it was balanced with light acidity. He noted that he got a bit of jasmine tea at the backend of the sip. He and I agreed that it was a wonderful choice for the 90 degree day we were heading into because it provided a kick of caffeine in a way that wasn’t overpowering and kept our curious minds guessing at new tasting notes in every sip.

The reveal

Here is what Passenger has to say about the Cusco: “Sweet, delicately rich aromatics of caramel, fig, and vanilla introduce a beautifully balanced cup with flavors of stone fruit and marzipan, bittersweet chocolate sweetness, and an elegantly integrated acidity reminiscent of green grapes.” This is an ideal coffee to enjoy on a hot day in the summer before going off on a hike.

Divino Niño Pink Bourbon

First impressions

I opened the next bag and smelled the freshly-roasted beans. The aroma was intoxicating, with notes of apple, grapefruit, maybe even caramel? It was hard to fully tell upon the initial impression.

James said it smelled a bit warmer than the last coffee and he noted caramel too, as well as cherry.

“There is really a carnival of flavor notes here,” said James as he smelled the beans again. This is the beauty of a single-origin coffee. There seems to be such depth in each variety, more than a person might expect! 

We decided that this would be a good coffee for the Cuppamoka. I ground the beans and James readied the filter atop the built-in coffee dripper.  Grinding the beans released more of the smell and made me even more curious if there would be notes of citrus, like lemon. We split one Cuppamoka brew into two mugs, so as to not over caffeinate ourselves too quickly. The fresh coffee smelled incredible.

Tasting notes

I took a sip and thoughtfully considered what I was experiencing. 

“This one is more syrupy than the last one,” said James.

“That’s exactly what I was going to say!” I responded. 

Indeed it had a sweet and syrupy mouthfeel that was pleasant and curious. I was getting notes of grapefruit, orange blossom, and molasses.

 Check out our Picopresso brew with Passenger coffee on our Tiktok!

@wacaco Fresh Passenger Coffee Divino Niño Pink Bourbon for today’s Picopresso. Got some nice tiger striping and the first sip was an absolute flavor bomb. #espresso #coffeetiktok #roastreview #espressotiktok ♬ coffe - Marcos Lin


Aug 08, 2023 Daniel Kennedy