The Daily Herald recently received a Bean Box in the mail. Bean Box is an artisan coffee gift and subscription service featuring Seattle’s top-rated roasters. I offered to review it because tasting different coffees sounded like fun.
The Seattle company sends freshly roasted coffee every month to its subscribers. It features 25 of Seattle’s top artisan roasters and ships coffee within 48 hours to guarantee the very best cup.
Each box is personalized to fit your palate: Like your coffee light and fruity? OK. Like it dark and chocolatey? No problem. Want more or less caffeine? Bean Box also offers espresso and decaf beans.
While I drink coffee nearly every day, I honestly don’t know that much about it. So I formed a tasting team to review these roasts the right way.
I enlisted the help of a barista from Narrative Coffee to make the coffee for us at the Everett coffee shop and share his professional opinion of each sample.
Ryan Bisson of Everett, has worked in coffee for 12 years. Ryan is Narrative’s assistant manager of the cafe and oversees the company’s mobile events and catering operations.
I also put out a call in the newsroom for a co-worker who really loves and knows her coffee to help me taste test. News producer Sue Misao isn’t a coffee connoisseur, but she is a self-professed coffee lover.
Bean Box sent The Herald a box with four types of roasts — one light, two mediums and a dark — so that we could do a proper taste test.
The coffee shipped Sept. 26. We sipped Oct. 3.
I waited until we met up with Ryan to open the box. It smelled heavenly.
We started with the light roast and tasted our way to the darkest coffee. We tried each one with and without cream.
Ryan brewed the coffee just like he does at Narrative — the V60 way, which is a pour-over method where the coffee is strained through a paper filter. It creates a softer body and a cleaner mouthfeel. He weighed out 25 grams of coffee and 50 milliliters of water, which was heated to 208 degrees. Each pot brewed for 3 to 3½ minutes.
As the coffee brewed, he talked about V60 techniques and the coffee’s “bloom time.” Such the professional.
Kuma Coffee | Kenya Nyeri Hill
From the roaster: “This cup stopped us in our tracks: a stunner! This light roast has wine-like notes of black currant, cherry and passion fruit.”
The professional opinion: “It’s juicy with a bubble-gum candy kind of sweetness. The body of this coffee is really light and clean. It doesn’t overwhelm the palate.”
Zoka Coffee | Organic Tatoosh
Roaster: “This medium roast has a buttery rich body with notes of dark chocolate and strawberry.”
Barista: “It has a sweet earthiness. It’s like you’re camping and you wake up in the morning, your fire has gone out, but it’s breezy and you get all that green, you get some of that campfire, you get the morning dew. I get more of those tones. It’s definitely on the chocolate side. Dark chocolate and lots of it.”
Seven | Sumatra Mandheling Old School
Roaster: “Full-bodied with low acidity, this medium roast carries an earthy chocolate flavor that settles into a crisp, cucumber finish.”
Barista: “I dig that because it has a lot of body. Definitely a lot of chocolate, not as dark chocolate as the last one, and just a really nice sweetness. It’s really wet; it’s not dry. It’s really clean on the finish. You can feel it, but it’s just very soft on the linger. This one is really nice.”
Longshoreman’s Daughter | Bearded Lady
Roaster: “Notes of molasses, cocoa, ginger and cherry, and a little bit nutty.”
Barista: “This is heft and roast-y. This one’s a little more drying on the palate. It’s lingering around. The roast flavor is pretty heavy on the tongue, but the actual coffee itself doesn’t have a heavy feel.”
The verdict? Bean Box is a really fun way to try different coffees.
Ryan leaned more toward the Kenya coffee. I liked the Sumatra the best. Sue’s favorite is the Bearded Lady.
Our favorite Narrative Coffee barista scored each sample bag from 0-5 beans. Light, medium and dark roasts cannot be compared to each other.
Kenya: 4 beans
Tatoosh: 2 beans
Sumatra: 3½ beans
Bearded Lady: 3½ beans
Each box features four roasts. Whole bean coffee in 1.8 ounce bags. Cost is $21 per month.
Coffee ships within 48 hours. Coffee subscriptions and gifts. Beans and biscotti boxes available.
Learn more at beanbox.co.