Last week I picked up an espresso blend from one of San Francisco's most popular roasters, Sightglass Coffee.
I've tried a few of their coffees in the past and have found them to be on the brighter side than many of Sightglass' peers. When I try a coffee from Sightglass, I'm already expecting lots of fruity, citrus notes in my final cup.
And for those of us Americans who have been drinking coffee for years on end, this is certainly not something we're used to. And this isn't a bad thing.
Coffee shouldn't be burnt to a crisp when it's roasted. I don't care what Alfred Peet believed back in the 60s, dark roasted coffee shouldn't be the only coffee.
Sightglass' Owl's Howl Espresso Blend
So now that I'm done with my rant about dark roasts, here is a my review of a light roast (in my opinion) blend from Sightglass.
It's called Owl's Howl. Cool name, right?
Was that what attracted me to buying it? Maybe…
Notes on the taste notes
I gotta tell you, I'm pretty impressed with myself for picking up one of the tasting notes that Sightglass labeled themselves.
The lemon really was on the sweeter side, and I think candied lemon is a pretty accurate way of describing what I was consistently picking up from shot to shot.
I found it to be overpowering though. So much, that I couldn't really pick up much more than the lemon.
An unforgiving blend
For whatever reason, I just never could seem to get a good pull with this blend. Non-stop channeling, over-extractions, under-extractions, difficulty distributing the grounds.
Having said that, the bad shots weren't horrible.
In fact, the first shot I pulled with this blend came out pretty quickly (15-20 seconds), but actually tasted pretty good.
At the end of the day, I really couldn't get too much consistency from the Owl's Howl.
Below are the ranges of the parameters I experimented with. I'd say my best shot came from 20 grams of coffee ground at the 4th finest setting on my Breville Smart Grinder Pro, at about 205˚F. The extraction took about 32 seconds.
- 20-22 grams of coffee
- 25-35 second pull for 30 grams of espresso
- 204˚-208˚F water temperatures
- 13th finest setting to 2nd finest setting on the grinder (yes, huge range)
While I don't think I'd buy this blend again for espresso, I do think it makes a nice cup of coffee when brewed under the right conditions. For example, it was really good with my Aeropress. I didn't even need to dilute it.
I also realize my review may not be the fairest given the fact that my technique wasn't great. For this reason, I'd only recommend this blend to the more experienced espresso fiend. In other words, if you have patience you may get something great from the Owl's Howl.