Bread Coffee Chocolate Yoga – 26 August 2004
By Fortune Elkins
let’s just say this plain: i love mark inman’s taylor maid “espresso a-go-go.” and this is surprising, because it’s a much darker roast than i usually prefer.
i didn’t have time to properly cup it this morning—that work thing really gets in the way of one’s coffee appreciation—so i just made it as espresso and drank the puppy down. then i realized what i had done.
no no no no. let me step back for a moment and explain… when i peeled back the valved top of the can, i saw lovely large beans. dark-to-chocolate-roasted beans, covered in full oil, what some might call a high-espresso to low-french roast.
i prefer a lighter, northern-italian style and in general recoil from these darker, “west coast” roasts. thus i was a-gog at the a-go-go from the get-go.
but i was determined to taste the blend. so i measured it straight into my mazzer mini and off i went. let me say, this blend is easy to work with; i didn’t have to spend a lot of time dialing it in—the usual setting i keep the mazzer at was spot on.
and it poured in a beautiful honey-thick stream flecked with crema from my italian princess, the rancilio silvia, fitted as usual with a la marzocco double basket in the single-spout portafilter. i gave it a 27-second pour for 1.75 oz.
and how did the coffee taste? even tho’ it didn’t get the full cupping treatment (no playing with the nez du café), i’m going to haul out the whole linglese for this party.
so drag out your copy of scaa chief ted lingle’s flavor wheel and cupping handbook ‘cuz we’re going to town…
the all-arabica espresso a-go-go’s a dark-roast blend, with heavy, buttery body. (it coats the back of a demitasse spoon like zabaione.)
as for the bouquet, the fragrance of the dry grounds reminded me strongly of chinese 5-spice powder, but without the sweetness of the star anise.
i was surprised that despite its roast level, it lacked any smoky or harsh notes. slurping it from the cup as brewed espresso, the blend welcomed me with a deep honey and dark madagascar bourbon vanilla feeling, then closed with an intense ultra-dutch unsweetened cocoa note.
the taste is smooth and sweet. again, i was amazed that i could drink a coffee this darkly roasted without any sugar. i mean, i just drank it down; it was much less pungent than its color might suggest.
to be fair to the blend, i had to try it as an italian-style cappuccino, right? usually coffees this dark cut strongly thru the milk.
yet the espresso a-go-go blended more harmoniously into the microfoam. it wasn’t lost there, but just made a happy meeting.
if you put syrup or flavoring into this cappuccino, you’d be losing the pleasant character of the bean. definitely not a coffee for those who use syrups; it won’t stand out.
remember, i don’t really like dark-roast coffees at all, and yet i found the a-go-go a truly charming morning friend. highly recommended!