Intelligentsia - Black Cat Espresso













  • Excellent coffee as a traditional brew
  • Nice sweetness under the right conditions


  • Brightness can reach sour levels
  • Pricey blend

I picked up my first bag of coffee from this well known roaster last week per the recommendation of one of the clerks at my grocery store. He said that I HAD to try the Black Cat if I love espresso.

So I decided to give it a go, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have high expectations going into my first tasting.

Instead of rushing into the review this time around, I decided to really take my time with this coffee. After all, I knew some things would change as I tried different brewing methods and more importantly, as I moved further and further away from the roast date.

Taking notes

I also decided to stop relying on my memory, and instead start jotting down some notes in my 33 Cups of Coffee notebook.

This tiny little notebook helped me keep track of the different brew parameters I was using, as well as the different tasting notes I was picking up on.

Well, that was ironic

This was a tough blend to review, because while I thought it was a stellar coffee for auto drip and Aeropress, I was pretty disappointed with how it came out in espresso form.

My first shot was actually my best shot, and I only gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars. This shot was pulled in about 25 seconds, 3 days after the roast date. I didn't take note of the temperature (stupid), but having my best shot come only 3 days after roast was really unexpected.


As bright as the sun

Originally, I pulled a few shots that had some sweetness. I definitely tasted the honeydew note Intelligentsia labeled their bag with in the first few shots I pulled, but that didn't hold up.

My shots got progressively more citrusy (bordering on sour) as I tested different temperatures.

Now, I know I don't have a fancy PID espresso machine for accurately controlling temperature, but I think the reservoir of the Mypressi can hold temperature pretty well once it has been pre-heated sufficiently.

I plan to use my thermometer in the process from here on out…at least this way I can control for temperature with a little bit of extra effort.

Regardless of temperature, I think this blend was just a little bit too bright for my liking. It covered up most of the other potential flavors that could allegedly be found in this espresso, like dark chocolate and toasted almond.

As a cold brew

I also brewed the Black Cat as a cold brew with my Bruer.

It didn't really impress me too much as a cold brew. It developed a horseradish note in this format which wasn't too appealing.

As a hot coffee however, it was brilliant.

Worth a try with other brew methods

I would highly recommend the Black Cat for drip (hot brew) coffee. It was probably the most delicious in its Aeropress form, but the Brazen Plus also made a great pot of Black Cat coffee.

Get the free Black Cat Brew Guide

I took notes on what I felt were the best brew parameters for this coffee. This will give you a baseline to start experimenting with the coffee yourself. By having some starting parameters you will hopefully not waste too much coffee before getting good results.

Get the Black Cat Brew Guide

This espresso blend is also available on Amazon. Get it by clicking the link below: