Sunday, July 10, 2011

Taking a Break with Equal Exchange Coffee

    (thanks for the photo OiMax)

It’s widely known that I’m an addict.  

A COFFEE addict.  

I often pack a coffee maker when we go on trips, go many miles out of the way to go to a cherished coffee purveyor, and ship beans across the country all in an effort to obtain a perfect cup of  java.  I’m serious about the stuff.  So when Mambo Sprouts asked me to review organic Equal Exchange coffee I was definitely up for the task.  I already knew that Equal Exchange works with small farmers and co-ops, which really appeals to my Mama Earth side (let’s keep those small farms in business, folks), and that it’s beans are 100% organic.  (Rubber-stamped by the USDA.) I was eager to see if it tasted as good as it made me feel to know that I was drinking coffee made from responsibly grown beans grown on small farms.

I tested two roasts: French Roast (dark roast) and the fabulously named Love Buzz (medium dark roast), which is a blend of Equal Exchange’s Full City and French Roast.

The French Roast was wonderful.  There’s no false advertising on the label, which says “intensely dark and full bodied.”  While it was steeping (we use a French press) my husband noted that the aroma reminded him of a French Quarter coffee roaster that he frequented a while back.  Indeed, a hearty, roasty, somewhat smoky loveliness filled the kitchen and we could barely wait before tucking in to a steaming cup of it.  It was very smooth with a very slight almost-chocolately aftertaste – yummy all-around.  I added a blip of whole milk, which took a bit of the edge off but the flavor still came through.

Love Buzz was a slightly lighter roast and also very good.  It calls itself “dark and velvety smooth” but I found the French Roast to be a tad smoother and all together a little more satisfying.  (Full disclaimer:  I’m a dark coffee gal, often amping up the coffee:water ratio to get a darker cup. ) I really enjoyed the Love Buzz, it was a good afternoon treat when I wasn’t looking for a super intense cup of coffee.

So, would I buy it?  Yes.  At a little under $10. for a 12 oz. bag it’s not cheap but definitely not on the expensive side, especially for a fairly traded, organic product.  I’ve paid more for good, palate-pleasing coffee (a necessity in my house, for sure) and think this coffee ranks pretty high on the flavor scale.