Plainspoken Coffee. A Coffee Review for Ordinary People by Ordinary People, #3.
Today, a more pedestrian coffee, the organic and Fair Trade Rainforest Blend from Caribou Coffee, a Starbucks rival in many northern states. Caribou not only has better coffee, in my opinion, but clearly has a stronger commitment to sustainability. As I wrote about before, Caribou is on its way to having half of its beans Rainforest Alliance certified. It also supports Coffee Kids, Grounds for Health (women’s health in coffee producing counties), the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and helped build a medical clinic in Guatemala.
The coffee: This blend is certified Fair Trade and organic, and is labeled as shade grown. The web site states the beans are from Papua New Guinea, Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil.
The beans: It is given a roast darkness of “6″ on a 10-point scale.
Brewed: The first sip brought us all a surprising “zing” that Coal Tit accurately described as “juicy.” Contrary to logic, this effect was hard to detect when a gold filter was used, but seemed to show up better with an unbleached paper filter after several trials. I find complex coffees really intriguing, but for the most part, on a daily basis I do not want to be mindful of my coffee. I want it to taste good, but I don’t want to pay attention to it every time I sip it. The Rainforest blend fit the bill. Star[bucks]ling found it to be sweet, bright, and crisp. Really, you can’t say a lot more than that. But after our previous more flavorful coffee tastings, he went on to try to come up with more subtle tastes. “You don’t get any kind of wood?” he asked. Uh, no. But good for you!
Bottom line: We expected this to be a pretty ho-hum, good but without any distinguishing characteristics. We were wrong and pleasantly surprised. Pleasant is a good word, not complex or fascinating, but just distinct enough to be interesting, very balanced, clean and mild, a nice everyday coffee.
When to drink this coffee (field oriented): All day long, doing spring migration counts or breeding bird census work, even on warm days.
We’re rating this 3.5 motmots. This average came about from lower scores from people who like more forthright flavors, and high scores from those who reward friendly coffees they can drink all day.