Roast Review: Snowy Owl
This roast will be your go-to for the summer. If you’ve been daydreaming about sea-side moments and leisurely bike rides, you’ll love pairing that experience with this Peruvian single origin coffee brought to us by Snowy Owl Coffee.
First, a little backstory of how I was first introduced to Snowy Owl…
I first met Manuel, the founder of SOC, while I was working at an apothecary in Brewster, Massachusetts. It was a unique first gig out of college to say the least, and I’ll always remember learning about the secret powers of plants like Saint John’s Wort and nettle. One day while I was in the garden, Manuel walked over and introduced himself. He said he would be starting a coffee shop and roastery in the front half of the apothecary’s herb shop. As someone who has always appreciated quality coffee and small businesses with ethical and sustainable practices, I was thrilled. That said, I couldn’t have dreamed up the incredible space and coffee-sipping experience that he and his talented wife, Shayna curated. What started as a coffee shop at the front of an herb shop has expanded into three locations with the most recent opening mid July of 2021 in Sandwich, MA.
Snowy Owl will always hold a special place in my heart, so I was eager to test it using the Wacaco products. I decided to try one roast with the Nanopresso and another with the Cuppamoka and the Snowy Owl team offered me guidance as to which roast would pair best.
First up, the Peru Black Label. You can read about the Jaws here.
Gathered around the kitchen table on the morning of a warm summer day, with James and Ben (a friend visiting from out of town who timed his visit well with our coffee tasting!) I opened the Peru Black Label. The Snowy Owl team had tipped me off that they rotate through different microlots (or special plots of land chosen specifically to deliver high quality coffee) and that the bag I had was a washed Hurtado Castro Gaspar from Cusco. I mean… how cool is that? So unique, specific, and thoughtful.
This heightened my expectations, and the first impression did not disappoint! As we passed around the bag of whole beans, we noticed a light and bright smell. Once ground, the smell became more pronounced and there was a definite citrus aroma.
Time for the taste. As always, our Nanopresso performed well in giving us a solid espresso pull, topped with that dreamy crema. We unceremoniously split the double espresso into three small drinking vessels and took a first sip.
I was impressed by the drinkability. It had been some time since I had consumed espresso on its own, and this roast could get me hooked on it again. Ben commented that it was “lean and agile” and he could imagine sipping it in the middle of a long bike ride. James noted that it had a lemony and light taste. We all agreed it was smooth, perfect for a beach day, and that we needed to make another one. And so we did.
If you caught the Roast Review featuring Snowy Owl’s Peruvian single origin coffee, you’re familiar with how I came to know the company, which has made quite the splash on Cape Cod! Snowy Owl is particularly well known not only because their coffee is delicious but also because they’ve made it their mission to create a tight connection between coffee producers and customers. Jaws is the most popular house blend at Snowy Owl, and with a beachy name like that how could you not give it a try?
I popped open the Jaws bag and passed it around to my trusty coffee-testing assistant, James and Ben. We noted an aroma that was more chocolatey than the Peruvian single origin, but it still carried a certain brightness.
Once ground, the brightness became more pronounced and James observed a fruity smell balancing the rounder, chocolate aroma. Keep in mind we don’t look at the bag label until after we’ve performed our very special taste test, so we do a lot of guessing.
With the guidance of the Snowy Owl team, we decided to try Jaws with one of our coffee products (versus espresso) and I went with the Cuppamoka.
We split the pourover coffee between the three of us and each took a sip. Ben said it tasted earthy and made him think about sitting in a log cabin. James was transported to a windy, rainy day and the warmth of a cup like this to lift spirits and energy. I enjoyed the chocolatey-but-light flavor. Bitter, dark roast coffee was a love affair of mine in the past and a lighter body is more my jam these days. I appreciate when I can get those dark, warm notes without the bitter finish.
I later read that this was done on purpose - as the online description of Jaws reads that it has a “blast of tangerine citrus at the finish.” Wow - this is why I love coffee - so much depth in one cup!
Written by Sheila Murray