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Puroast Coffee Review, Round Two

Puroast Wide

Nearly two years ago I wrote a review on Puroast Coffee, and I wasn’t incredibly impressed. Puroast claims that their beans offer 70% less acid than traditional coffee, and 7 times more antioxidants. Back in 2015 I decided to take their health claims at face value, focusing my review instead upon the taste of the coffee – and it left a lot to be desired. I wrote, “The coffee was, in a word, tasteless. It lived up to Puroast’s promise in that it definitely was not acidic, but on the other hand it was also not…anything.” I didn’t hate their coffee, but I also didn’t recommend it based on the product I received and the brewing methods I used.

Then, about 10 days ago I received an email from Puroast asking for a follow-up review. I agreed, finding the prospect of reviewing the same coffee company again both compelling and a little strange. While I’ve never done this before, I’m always keen to offer coffee a second chance.

I’ve done my best to let this review stand on its own – I’d rather not spend time looking back and comparing Puroast’s 2017 product to that from two years ago. With that said, I will admit that I was more impressed with the company’s overall presentation and professionalism this time around. They’ve improved everything from the look of their website to their recommendations for brewing techniques/recipes. Last time I received a pre-ground bag of coffee and no instructions on how to brew it. This time I was given whole-bean coffee and brewing recommendations based on how Puroast baristas make the coffee in their flagship Miami coffee shop.

The Snapshot

Puroast sells coffee that contains higher antioxidants and less acidity than your typical brew. These benefits, however, aren’t the focus for their company. As one representative told me, “The roast comes first and the wellness is simply a byproduct of roasting innovation and putting quality above everything else. It can truly be said that no one else roasts their coffee the way Puroast does.”

This is something I can appreciate.

With that said, Puroast definitely makes sure consumers know their coffee’s health benefits. They’re listed front and center on the coffee bags, as well as on the home page of their website. In fact, they have a whole section of their website dedicated to their coffee’s health benefits. This page includes the research done by Dr. Shibamoto from UC Davis – his findings revealed the benefits that Puroast’s roasting process has on their beans.

I’m glad that Puroast’s roasting process makes their beans healthy and potentially more easily consumed by people who are sensitive to acidic beverages. What I’m even more interested in is whether or not their roasting process can produce a great tasting cup of coffee.

The Coffee

This time around Puroast sent me their Espresso Roast to try. Although the bag I received did not have a roasting date on it, it did have a “best by” date of July 31st, 2018. I’m assuming they sent me freshly roasted coffee for this review, but if I was a consumer at a supermarket or resell location, I wouldn’t be able to tell for sure.

Puroast Best By
Best by Jul 31st, 2018

Puroast recommended that I brew their beans using a Greca/moka pot. A representative told me that this is the go-to brewing method used in their Miami coffee shop. As a big fan of the moka, I happily obliged.

Moka_FireTheir recipe called for a fine ground size, and that the coffee grinds be left uncompressed (not packed down) in the moka filter basket. I found that for my moka pot about 21g of finely ground coffee was the perfect amount.

The thing with espresso roasts is that I expect them to have a darker, richer flavor when compared to roasts intended for filter brew methods. I knew ahead of time that Puroast’s coffee wouldn’t be acidic – that’s kinda their shtick. So in that case, I was looking for tasting notes like chocolate, hazelnut, caramel, or something similar. Unfortunately, I didn’t get those.

The Espresso Roast I received from Puroast was earthy, dark, and slightly bitter. It was distinctly espresso, but the kind of espresso I would expect from a standard second-wave coffee shop, like Peet’s or Caribou Coffee perhaps. It did not resemble specialty coffee.

That’s not to say that it was bad or undrinkable by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I enjoyed several cups, both black and combined with steamed milk to make a faux-latte. I found the coffee to be highly caffeinated – it was enjoyable to sip while burning through my email inbox and getting work to-do’s accomplished. It just isn’t what I expect from specialty coffee.

I actually think that’s okay, mostly because I’m not convinced that Puroast Coffee fits the mold of a specialty coffee company. They don’t sell a variety of single-origin roasts on their website, focusing instead on blends. They have sections of their online store dedicated to both flavored coffee roasts and K-Cup single serving pods. In short, they are selling to a completely different demographic than specialty coffee drinkers.

When compared to commodity-grade diner coffee, or even the more common roasts from big companies like Starbucks, I think Puroast has a great product that I would recommend. On the other hand, they don’t hold a candle to specialty coffee companies like Intelligentsia or Blue Bottle.

Puroast Latte
The faux-latte I made with Puroast’s Espresso Roast
Final Thoughts

This is the first time that I’ve reviewed the same coffee company twice, and I must say that I began with more than a little trepidation. I’m happy to report that my opinion on Puroast has improved since our paths last crossed.

I still would not recommend their coffee to those who are interested in buying specialty beans to brew at home, and I would add that Puroast has a ways to go if they hope to become a third wave coffee producer. However, I think that the average person will find Puroast’s coffee to be rich, caffeinated, and more tasty than the big chains they may be used to. I agree that the moka pot is the best way to enjoy Puroast at home.

Puroast continues to fill a niche for those who’s stomachs may be sensitive to acidity. However, I agree that the quality of their product makes them a great option for anybody who might otherwise buy their coffee from a large chain.

Colin

You can buy Puroast coffee from their online store, here. Right now first time customers get 25% off their order. Just use offer code “Pur1st” at checkout.

Update, Renew, Refresh

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Call it Spring Cleaning, call it a long-overdue update, or call it a much needed refresh. Whatever the verbiage, BoiseCoffee.org has undergone some big cosmetic changes over the past few weeks. As you can see, I’ve been putting some work into making the website feel cleaner, less cluttered, and overall a better reading/browsing experience. I’m really excited for how the site looks, and I hope that as it continues to evolve it will make it easier to listen and read the things I create.

But, actually, this update goes a bit deeper and has been in process for much longer than a few weeks. Over the past year or so BoiseCoffee.org has been changing, largely because I’ve been changing. I’ve taken a bit of a step back from the straightforward coffee reviews, and have nearly stopped my impromptu coffee shop reviews altogether. Some of that is on purpose; reviewing coffee well takes time and effort. It also necessitates truth – reviews that aren’t real and honest are just advertising, after all. If I’m honest with myself, however, the real reason I haven’t been reviewing coffee as much is because I haven’t been writing as much. I’d like to change that, and plan on bringing bigger and better textual content back to the site.

I love writing, but it honestly takes a good chunk of time to put a piece together that I’m comfortable posting and sharing. I’ve never wanted BoiseCoffee.org to turn into a site based around listicles, memes, or other “vapor” content. I want to make stuff that has value and that’s fun to read. I want to write things that are meaningful in their own way.

In case you haven’t noticed, my big focus lately has been on my podcast. I’ve put some serious hours into this sucker, and I’m really proud of how it’s been developing. I’ve gotten to interview a couple stellar individuals who are doing amazing things in the coffee industry. I’ve talked about everything from the history of coffee to the debate between fair trade and direct trade coffee. As an avid podcast listener, I love striving to create something that would want to listen to, and that I think other people who love coffee will enjoy.

Recently something really cool happened in regards to my podcast – I got my first advertiser! I’ve never made monetizing the blog a focus, and I have no intention of turning the podcast into a cash machine. On the other hand, I think that sponsorships and well-done advertisements add to the air of legitimacy for any podcast and can even be enjoyable if they’re relevant and well-placed. Also, it was a huge encouragement to me that I’m on the right track. So, I’m proud to announce that the next episode of The Boise Coffee Podcast will be brought to you by Audible.com. Speaking of Audible, I think that I’ll try my hand at a quick plug.

If you like books, you’ll love Audible. With over 180,000 audiobooks to choose from, Audible is truly the best way to download and listen to audiobooks anywhere, and on any device. I’ve been using Audible for several years and have fond memories of listening to It by Stephen King while doing yard work, and most recently Red Rising by Pierce Brown during long flights and layovers. So, check it out: you can get a free 30-day trial of Audible, plus a free audiobook of your choice if you use my promo link here. The great thing is that even if you decide to leave Audible, you’ll still get to keep your book. There’s no contract and no funny business. Try Audible today and support my podcast while you’re at it.

Moving forward, I’d really love to get some coffee-specific advertisers on board. That’s actually something I could use your help with – if you know of any small to mid-sized local coffee shops/roasters/suppliers that are looking to expand their audience, could you send them my way? You can even shoot me an email to let me know or use the form below to send me a message. I’d love to support other companies with my content, and this is an easy way to start building those relationships.

The last thing I’d like to bring up that’s new at Boise Coffee is the online store. Previously, I had a half-assed Amazon Affiliate store linked in with the blog. I never updated it, and it quickly fell into disrepair. The new store is completely revamped and is centered around specialty coffee themed gear. The products reflect my new vision for the website and podcast: they’re clean, simple, and have humor (albeit pun-centered, but hey, who doesn’t like a good chuckle??) mixed in for good measure. The items are a bit pricey – something I’m well aware of – but they’re completely original and custom made-to-order. If you’d like to see something added (like hats, hoodies, or tank tops) hit me up and let me know.

Before I sign off, if you haven’t left my podcast a review on iTunes yet, I’d really appreciate it if you did. Reviews help me know what people like to hear, and what I can improve on.

Thanks for reading, listening, and supporting Boise Coffee. Brew on, my friends.

Colin
“The Coffee Guy”

 

Continue reading Update, Renew, Refresh

Allann Bros Coffee: Evolution in Motion

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Allann Bros Coffee was founded in 1972 in Ashland, Oregon – just north of the California/Oregon border. Like most of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon has a broad coffee culture with a brew-thirsty population. To fill this demand, it’s not uncommon to see coffeehouses come and go with some frequency. When a coffee shop, cafe, or roaster sticks around for any length of time, it generally means they have rapport with people in the area, and a great product. It’s important to keep this in mind when I say that Allann Bros has been in business for over 40 years – that’s no small task. My first question was how they managed to accomplish this. The answer? Evolution.

Allann Bros coffee bags

The Snapshot

Allann Bros. has undergone some serious changes and image overhauls since their founding. As best I can tell, the overarching spirit of the company has stayed the same while employees, coffees, and even growers/farms have changed. That’s fine – and I imagine just about any coffee company with Allann Bros. longevity has experienced similar changes. Coffee, after all, is a very different today than it was 40 years ago – at least in the minds of consumers.

If Allann Bros’ recent blog posts are any indication, the most recent changes to the company have likely been the most massive. The most recent post – from July 27th – has this to say:

For over a decade, Allan Bros has worked diligently to keep the price of our specialty coffee in check. As a commodity, coffee often undergoes significant price changes… often on a daily basis! Since 2008, we have absorbed much of the cost in serving fantastic coffee. As we approach the end of 2015, we have had to make changes to some of our cost structures, including adjusting pricing to be in line with acquiring and roasting some of the world’s finest green beans. While we regret that this can result in a negative reaction, please be assured that we work tirelessly to keep prices down, without sacrificing quality.

Read: “Prices are probably going to go up, but that’s because we’re changing who and where we’re buying beans from. In the end, it will mean better coffee.”

Personally, this is great news to me. Allann Bros clearly has a customer base that is accustomed to paying a certain amount of money for a drink, or a bag of coffee. These new changes may mean losing those customers that simply want cheap coffee. The fact that Allann Bros cares more about putting out a great product than keeping it at a specific price point speaks volumes to me. So, how does that product taste?

The Coffee

Allann Bros Coffee sent me two blends: “Phoenix and the Turtle,” a medium roast, and “Maestro’s Blend,” a dark roast. My thoughts on each are below.

Phoenix and the TurtlePhoenix and the Turtle
I’ll be upfront and honest: I did not enjoy this coffee very much. I
brewed several cups in my Chemex, and found the end taste to be very bitter, albeit with a slightly pleasant aftertaste. While Allann Bros claims this blend to be a medium roast, I found it to be far closer to a dark roast, and the taste profile backs this up. I found cocoa notes to be fairly clear, but besides that I largely found the taste to be smoky and earthy.

Phoenix and the Turtle had a mild mouthfeel, and reminded me more of smoking a smooth cigar than drinking a cup of coffee. The smoky, bitter taste combined with a smooth finish may have gone better late at night than first-thing in the morning.

Maestro’s Blendmaestros
After finding that I didn’t enjoy The Phoenix and the Turtle as much as I thought I would, I was sure I would hate the Maestro’s Blend. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not a huge fan of dark roasts. This coffee, however, won me over in the end.

I brewed this blend in a variety of methods including my stovetop Moka pot, my Aeropress and a large French-Press. I found the end-results to be largely the same, but the methods that didn’t use the paper filter yielded a less bitter product.

The coffee was tangy, which is fairly uncharacteristic for a dark roast. While it was bitter on the back of my tongue, I found it to be a fairly mild taste at first sip. This shifting taste of mild to bitter, combined with the tangy spiciness made me want to take another sip…and another…then pour another cup. I found myself checking the bag to make sure this was indeed a dark roast, and not some imposter.

Final Thoughts

Allann Bros Coffee surprised me. I expected to find a Peet’s Coffee knockoff with a rich history and a shallow product. Instead, I found something in mid-evolution. I found a coffee company that isn’t afraid to grow and change. And, even better, I found that they can put out a truly intriguing product that I enjoyed. While Phoenix and the Turtle may not have been my favorite blend, Maestro’s Blend was absolutley something I would consider Specialty Coffee. It was roasted by folks who love the craft and have been doing it for decades, and the final result was a cup that I kept coming back for; it made me want to try their Single Origin roasts to see what else they can do.

If you’re interested in trying coffee that tends to be roasted on the darker side (at least in my experience), I would certainly recommend giving Allann Bros a shot. Based on their blog post from earlier this year, I’m excited to see where the company is going. If the small glimpse of their products is any indication, they’re headed in the right direction.

The Coffee Guy