Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cravens French Roast Coffee

After a great deal of trial and error, I am finally at the point where I can give this Cravens French Roast the review it deserves. Simon Thompson, owner of Cravens Coffee, gave me this French roast coffee sample specifically to pair with cigars. Backing up a step or two, this Cravens French roast is a much darker roast than I am used to drinking so it took some trial and error with grinds and coffee ratios to brew my "perfect cup of coffee".

Yesterday I paired this French roast with the 601 Warhead cigar that I was smoking for review and today I am sampling the coffee without the cigar to note the flavor changes. This is what I have found so far...

Quick Details

  • Flavor Profile: Caramelized, direct, robust
  • Primary Origin: Costa Rica Monte Crisol
  • Roast: Dark / French
  • Brewing method: Pour over
  • All Cigars purchased from Cigar Train in Spokane WA.
Cravens French Roast Coffee
To begin, this is the description of the French Roast from Cravens web site, "Central America’s Ticos – as Costa Ricans are called – send us the hardest, densest, sturdiest beans we source. We give them a taste of France with our darkest roast. Perfect for those who like hearty flavor and pungent aroma in their cup. Voila!"

When you open the bag you see coffee beans saturated with oil and then the aroma of cocoa and rich coffee hits your nose. It's a pleasant experience. After the beans are ground the aroma of cocoa is even more pronounced. I was a bit surprised while pouring hot water over the grounds the aroma changed to more of an earthy, coffee aroma.
The first sips were bright and clean with mild sweetness that remains on the palate. I found flavor notes of earth, wood, coffee and a touch of charcoal appeared as the coffee cooled. The coffee left my mouth and palate feeling clean even though the coffee had a chewy, syrupy body that made my mouth water a bit after each sip. Overall it was a great cup of coffee.

601 Warhead cigar
Now the cup I enjoyed with the 601 Warhead yesterday had a stark contrast to what I found today. As you would expect, everything up to the first sip remained the same both days. The difference comes in the flavors after the coffee is cupped. Yesterday's first sips had bright flavor notes of cocoa and coffee. Then as the coffee cooled it took on more of a beefy flavor profile. It actually reminded me of the Sumatran coffees I am so fond of. Again, it was a syrupy, clean and bold with an underlying sweetness, a great cup of coffee.

Camacho Criollo

For my second cigar pairing I chose the Camacho Criollo cigar. This coffee/cigar combination surprised me a bit. Sipping the coffee did nothing to change the cigar's flavor profile, but the criollo cigar brought out more natural sweetness from the coffee. Over all the coffee still had the same flavor nuances of earth, wood, coffee and a touch of charcoal and the same clean, bold, syrupy body.

All the cigars that I smoked for these pairings are like the coffee, they have big, bold flavor profiles. The third pairing was no exception. For this pairing I chose the Camacho Connecticut cigar. I has a bold mix of floral, spicy and creamy flavor nuances. This pairing gave me totally unexpected results. The spice and sweetness of the cigar really brought out some spicy notes in the coffee that I hadn't experienced with the other pairings. additionally the sweetness and the cream in cigar really brought out the natural sweetness in the coffee.

This has been a very interesting pairing/review experiment using one type of coffee with three radically different cigars. With each pairing the flavor mix was drastically different or enhanced in the coffee, the cigar or both.

This Cravens French Roast coffee earns a 5 out of 5 star rating.

On a final note, again I would like to thank Simon at Cravens Coffee for providing this great sample for review.

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