It's long overdue, but the first decaf coffee review has finally arrived here at The Coffee Concierge…
It's the Decaf Colombia Espresso blend from Ceremony Coffee Roasters out of Annapolis, MD!
About Ceremony Coffee Roasters
Ceremony Coffee Roasters is a specialty coffee roaster out of Annapolis, Maryland. They also have a location in Baltimore at the time of this review.
Although my experience with Ceremony is limited to receiving their coffee in the mail through my MistoBox subscription, the pictures on their Yelp page have me eager to check their shops out if I'm ever in Maryland.
Beauitful aesthetics, great equipment, and based on my limited experience with their coffee, fantastic coffee!
About The Producers and Decaffeination Process
I couldn't find any info on the farmers or producers of this coffee, unfortunately. I may contact Ceremony at some point to get more info on this, but for now I'm just gonna say: “unknown.”
I'll be sure to update this review if I ever get the answer.
The decaffeination process used for this coffee is known as EA decaffeination. The EA stands for ethyl acetate, which is ethyl alcohol mixed with acetic acid. The EA itself is derived from fermented sugar cane, so it is quite a natural decaffeination process that leaves much of the coffee's nuanced characteristics intact.
According to Ceremony, EA is the most prevalent ester found in beer and wine.
General Notes & Observations
Country of Origin: Colombia
Variety: Acaia (mixed)
Processing method: Wet Processed (EA decaffeination)
Farm elevation: 1300-1600 masl
Aroma: Brownie, cherry, butter
Roaster tasting notes: Dr. Pepper aromatics. Sweet and juicy with smoked cherry in cup.
Coffee Concierge tasting notes: Milk chocolate, cherry, cinnamon, tootsie roll
Since this is an espresso blend, I mostly brewed the Decaf Colombia as espresso. I also experimented a bit with the AeroPress, but not nearly as much as I did with the MyPressi Twist.
I pulled a lot of very nice shots with this blend. Super consistent with unique flavor notes, but not a whole lot of complexity.
Right off the bat, I pulled a shot with loads of cherry flavor with cinnamon and tootsie roll undertones.
For this first shot, I used a dose of 20g with a generous 40g yield in 25 seconds. Initial temperature was recorded at 199˚F.
Since this was a pretty quick extraction, I decided to go a little bit finer with the grind for my next shot, even though I felt that it was really balanced and delicious.
I stuck with the 20g dose at two notches finer on my grinder. Shot #2 was 4 days off-roast vs. shot #1, which was only 3 days off-roast.
Brew temperature was pretty much the same. This time, the shot yielded was 34g in 30 seconds.
Taste-wise, it was even better than shot #1. Perfectly balanced milk chocolate with cherry undertones. A+
At six days off-roast, I kept all the same brew parameters I used in brew #2. This time, it took 40 seconds to yield 30g of espresso.
The shot was a bit over-extracted with some bitter notes. It had a smokier flavor than the previous shots, but the cherry flavor was still present in the aftertaste.
Later that day I brewed up some AeroPress.
If you’re new here, you can check out how I rate whole bean coffee here.
Cherry acidity was present in pretty much every single brew. I can't recall a time that there was more consensus between what I picked up and what the roaster picked up.
As a reminder, I almost always ignore the roaster notes until I've gone through the entire bag of coffee. I do this to avoid any unwanted biases or outside influences.
Speaking of cherry…this was a flavor note that mostly made its presence known in the backend and aftertaste of the flavor profile.
With this in mind, it was one of the better aftertastes I've picked up on in recent memory.
Buttery, brownie, cherry. There was a lot of consistency with the aroma and flavor of this coffee. Nothing short of delightful.
Even my under-extracted shots tasted balanced between the dreadful spectrums of sour and bitter. Given that the flavor was heavy chocolate up-front with a cherry finish, I felt that this Colombia Decaf serves as a fine definition for balanced coffee flavor.
This coffee didn't necessarily lack body, but it wasn't as full-bodied as Ceremony describes on their website.
If there were one rating category that I thought this decaf espresso blend fell short, it was in complexity. Beyond chocolate and cherry, I had a hard time picking up any nuanced flavors.
Despite the limited complexity, I thought this was a delicious blend that exceeded my expectations. To all of you who may think decaffeinated coffee is inferior, don't make your judgments until you try a coffee like this one.
Very forgiving when brewed as espresso. Given that I brewed a 40g shot in 25 seconds, one would think that this would yield an extremely under-extracted shot of espresso. The truth is that it tasted great though, despite the quick extraction.
This would be a great blend for anybody who is just getting started with espresso.
Plenty sweet as far as I'm concerned. With chocolate up-front and cherry at the finish, I'd say this is a sweet blend.
I didn't brew too much outside the realm of espresso, so I think it would be best if I didn't score this category.
Considering this was the first decaf coffee I've ever reviewed, I couldn't have been more pleased.
I highly recommend this blend to espresso lovers. I'd also recommend this to those who use immersion brewing methods like the French Press or AeroPress. I also have a hunch that it would be great for Moka Pot.
If you only do drip coffee, this is a blend that may work nicely. However, since I didn't really brew too much with these methods, it's hard to definitively recommend it for these purposes.
The Colombia Decaf Espresso from Ceremony Coffee Roasters is available on their website here.