Review by: Sheila Murray
For this Roast Review, I’m eager to introduce you to Crimson Cup Coffee. Crimson Cup is so much more than just delicious coffee, though they certainly have that too! One of the first things that stood out to me was their passion for helping prospective coffee shop owners make their dream a reality. In fact, they’ve helped to launch over 300 independent coffee shops across 30 states. You can read more about How To Open a Coffee Shop and how they’re making an impact for new business owners.
Crimson Cup is personal. They go beyond fair trade with their Friend2Farmer program that benefits the lives of the people and communities they partner with. When I was corresponding with my contact at Crimson Cup, I could feel the quality of the friendships built to get the coffees from the farm to my doorstep. During the coffee tastings, my friends and I enjoyed reading the thoughtfully crafted stories printed on cards that accompanied each coffee. We already had a good feeling about the company as a whole, but how would the coffees taste? Time to share our review!
I did the first coffee tasting with James on a rainy June day. Any day is a good day to do a coffee tasting but a rainy day felt especially contemplative and ideal.
I opened the box and cut open the bag within to allow the smell of freshly roasted beans waft into the air. For me, the aroma was smooth and sweet. I guessed there could be notes of molasses and fig.
James smelled the bag of coffee beans next and sensed caramel and stone fruit. He agreed that it could also be molasses, or even honey. He suggested that we make this one using the Cuppamoka. We brewed one fresh cup and split it up using a second Octaroma. Then we clinked our mugs and took a sip.
I was met with a delightful carnival of flavor. There was complexity and depth in the way only a high quality single origin can provide. There was a certain current of acidity that ran all the way through as well as a floral or airy taste.
James said he didn’t know how to explain it because it was so unique.
“I’m drinking it so fast because I’m enjoying it and trying to figure out what I taste,” James said with a laugh. It reminded us of the tea-like coffees we had tried before but there was also something a bit grounding too.
The Washed Gesha Peru is a light roast from the Oxapampa region and has notes of floral, oolong, and peach tea. It’s simply amazing and we imagine how good it will taste midsummer after a sunrise adventure.
I invited two additional friends, Tessa and Joe, to enjoy this next coffee. The first one was so good, I had to share Crimson with more coffee enthusiasts!
James opened the bag and poured beans into two bowls on the kitchen counter, so we could take turns experiencing the aroma of this coffee. The first impression for me was a cherry and chocolate smell but it was so bright I wondered if there might be something more citrusy in there too.
For Joe, the coffee was reminiscent of cinnamon and toasted cereal. He guessed it could also have some chocolate notes and was curious about our fruity impressions.
Tessa agreed with my cherry impression and was thoughtful about what else she sensed. I showed her a coffee taster's flavor wheel online and she and Joe were both astonished by all the possibilities! She added that there could be some notes of raisin or prune in this coffee.
“This is just so wonderful!” James exclaimed. He noted a bright citrus smell, perhaps lemon, and some other fruit that he couldn’t quite place.
We were all eager to find out what this coffee would taste like and we decided to use the Cuppamoka again to find out. We decided everyone would brew their own coffee, and Tessa and Joe were impressed by the small but mighty Cuppamoka!
“Wow,” I said, “this coffee is so bright.” It felt like a cup of cheer that greeted me with citrus, honey, and perhaps toasted nuts.
James was also impressed by how bright the coffee was and he switched his lemon guess out for lime. He especially liked the acidity of the coffee and said there were also floral notes that created the most pleasant experience. He remarked that the Cuppamoka was a great choice to brew this coffee, as it was so smooth and flavorful.
Joe took a sip, looked like he was going to say something, then took another sip. He repeated this twice, which cracked us all up. Finally he shared that the taste was so different than he had expected! He thought it was going to be more dark and chocolatey but it also carried a lovely fruity flavor. It was unlike the coffees he typically has and he was pleasantly surprised!
For Tessa, there was a bright acidity that ran through the coffee. She could definitely sense the lemon or lime that James had mentioned and said there were still notes of cherry or some other red fruit for her.
This delicious blend has notes of dates, caramel, and lime. We also learned that Waka Warmi is native for “powerful women,” a nod to the women who make coffee possible in the region of Villa Rica, Peru.