Roast Review: Three Keys Coffee
As I write this I am listening to the Love Supremo playlist by Three Keys Coffee on Spotify. I wouldn’t have it any other way, since I’ve come to understand that Three Keys Coffee is all about creating an experience. As they say on their homepage, “Best Served With Sound.” This is something that I am impressed with and appreciate, and I invite you to pause in your reading and turn on some jazz before you resume.
Three Keys Coffee was founded in 2019 and clearly made a quick splash, earning best coffee roaster in Texas of 2022 by Food and Wine. You’ll quickly discover that this roaster is more than just coffee (though, obviously the coffee is excellent) and you’ll find yourself paying attention to the experience of coffee drinking and immersed in conversation around how the tasting notes remind you of music notes. That said, you must check out their reimagined flavor wheel, which explores the intersection of coffee and jazz. I’m looking forward to using this as I drink Three Keys in the future!
My coffee tasting assistant/husband James accompanied me once again for this roast review. He opened up the Love Supremo and smelled the beans, commenting on the blend of both light and darker notes he sensed. I smelled the open bag and agreed on the harmony of light and dark notes, adding that there was some sort of fruit that I couldn’t quite place. For me, it was more than a smell, it touched a memory in the back of my mind but I wasn’t sure what memory.
James smelled the beans again and said it was chocolatey but there was a distinct hit of strawberry or cherry. I thought it might be a dried fruit of some sort. Either way, we were eager to pair it with the Cuppamoka and experience the taste!
Keeping in mind that we wanted to test aThree Keys espresso after the coffee, we aired on the side of caution and split one cup of coffee between the two of us. We pulled out the Cuppamoka and brewed a fresh pour over.
I pulled the fresh coffee towards me and inhaled the mesmerizing smell. I took a few moments here, watching the steam and considering what I sensed. From the initial smell, I guessed it might be a dark and bold flavor but the smell had somewhat softened upon brewing.I finally took a sip and was surprised to find it was less bold and much more balanced than I initially expected.
James tried his portion next and said, “Oh it’s very balanced! There’s just the right amount of acidity and flavor.” I was curious about the fruit that he had initially noticed and he commented that there was a definite fruit but it wasn’t very punchy. The subtle notes complemented each other so well.
Three Keys says this coffee has notes of cherry, chocolate, and nuts. They also give it a “mood” of nostalgic, mellow, and layered. Reading that actually made me laugh out loud because the smell had made me nostalgic!
On to the espresso! James opened the bag of espresso beans and noted, “the smell is similar to Love Supremo but I notice more hints of caramel and toasted nuts.”
I took the bag next and, upon first impression, it seemed like this would be a dark and heavy-bodied espresso. I agreed on the caramel notes but there was also something reminiscent of tangerine.
James added that this one seemed to carry notes that were more citrusy than punchy fruit. Whereas cherry was prominent in Love Supremo, this one could have orange or lemon. James did the honors of using the Picopresso to make two perfect espressos for us.
“It’s so drinkable it’s scary,” I said after I realized I’d had half without writing down notes! I had fully expected that the first sip would be pretty intense and was surprised! I was lost in the experience of noticing the various flavor notes. It was definitely full bodied but not too potent. There were hints of milk chocolate as well as a tangerine finish or perhaps some lemon.
James remarked again at the balanced acidity of this brew. There was a robust hit of flavor at the end but the overall experience was mellow, creamy, and curious.
Three Keys names that this espresso has an expression that is dense, pointed, and groovy. I especially like this part: “Just as musicians test the limits of imagination, synchronicity, and technique to strengthen the power of the blend, so does this espresso provide a robust and cohesive reverberation.”
We intend to drink both of these coffees as they are intended to be had - slowly, accompanied by music, and with good friends.