Roast Review: Boxcar Coffee Roasters
Dec 16, 2023Daniel Kennedy

Roast Review: Boxcar Coffee Roasters

I have a sweet memory of walking down Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado with a friend on a warm day. We stopped by a coffee shop and each got a cold brew with a splash of oat milk. I remember continuing our stroll down the sunny street, delighted by the taste of the coffee and how well balanced it was. It wasn’t until I moved back to the East Coast that this memory came to mind and I realized I had to reach out to that coffee shop for a Roast Review. I’m happy to introduce you to Boxcar Coffee Roasters today and our experience trying them in tandem with the Wacaco products!

I encourage you to visit their cafe in Boulder, CO if you have the chance or to check out their website to learn more about their interesting story, proprietary brewing method, and commitment to relationships.

We brought our Wacaco brewers and our Boxcar coffee up to our friend's lakeside cabin in Maine during a brisk Fall weekend. There is nothing better than starting off a day of outdoor activities with a coffee tasting!

Las Lajas 

First impressions

We gathered in the small kitchen and I opened the bag of coffee beans while James started to heat water on the stove.

Mara smelled the beans first and said that she was noticing a fruity aroma, such as cherry.

James said he also sensed cherry and added that there was a certain spice, like cinnamon or nutmeg. He guessed there could even be something floral about this coffee.

Nathan was curious to hear the responses so far, and inhaled the aroma of the beans while he considered his own experience. He said that he was getting a scent of grape as well as spice.

I could smell a fruity aroma, even from a distance of the bag being passed around. It smelled delicious! I added that there might be strawberry and wondered if it would have a syrupy mouthfeel.

We brewed Las Lajas using the Cuppamoka, Wacaco's all-in-one pour over brewer and to-go mug.  Nathan and Mara had never used a Cuppamoka  before and were impressed by the simplicity and genius of the design.

Tasting notes

Nathan tasted the coffee first and said that he was still noting grape, he tasted cinnamon, and that it was all around a pleasant brew. Mara agreed and said that, for her, it was a coffee that could be enjoyed every day of the week!

I thought it had an extremely pleasant, light and syrupy mouthfeel. The taste was reminiscent of red fruit.

“I’m getting that strawberry that you originally smelled,” James said to me. 

The reveal

This is a white honey processed coffee with notes of strawberry, grape, white tea, and nougat. It perfectly complemented the start of our day and could easily be enjoyed on any adventure!


First impressions

The next day we woke up to fog over the lake and thought it was an ideal morning to sip espresso while planning the day ahead. Mara opened the bag of Stella and inhaled the aroma. She noted a chocolatey smell as well as roasted hazelnut.

I smelled the beans next and sensed sweetness, sugar, chocolate, and red fruit. I could already tell it would make a delicious espresso with our trusty Picopresso. 

James and Nathan were both unsure what to make of the aroma and settled on it having notes of chocolate, hazelnut, and toffee. 

Grinding the beans sent a delicious, rich, chocolate smell into the air, stronger than before. We added the ground beans into the Picopresso, poured in the water, and made the first espresso. We handed the first one to Mara, and promptly made 3 more so we could all enjoy it.

Tasting notes

“Wow this is strong,” said Mara, who doesn’t typically drink espresso by itself. She was impressed by how smooth the espresso sipped and said it was a little spicy and a lot chocolatey.

Nathan weighed in next with his espresso. He said that, for him, the Stella held more acid than the Las Lajas coffee had and that chocolate was present for sure. He also noted nutmeg.

“I think more allspice,” said Mara in reply.

“Perhaps! There is definitely a red fruit in there too,” said Nathan thoughtfully.

I sipped my espresso and noted a sweet and sugary mouthfeel. It was easy to sip on and I got different flavors as I sipped. I sensed raspberry, chocolate, and sugar.

James shared that he tasted lemon or grapefruit, toasted nuts, and chocolate. We agreed how fun it is to sip coffee that has such a wide variety of flavors.

The reveal

This particular Stella blend (as it changes seasonally) has notes of cherry, bittersweet chocolate, and caramel. Boxcar says that the Stella is their “workhorse” blend that they serve all day. We agree that this is a cabinet and roadtrip staple!

Dec 16, 2023 Daniel Kennedy