Coffee Crate is a monthly subscription delivering craft coffees from The Tar Heel State. Each month you’ll receive three 4-ounce bags of coffee from a trio of roasters selected from the 15 North Carolina coffee roasters who work with Coffee Crate. Coffees are roasted within 7 days of delivery, which is free within the continental U.S. Though lovingly roasted in North Carolina, the beans are sourced from premier coffee-growing regions around the world.
The three selections in our Coffee Crate each came in a resealable bag with info about the beans, process, and the roast date.
The info card. The discount for longer subscription lengths is worth noting — up to $6 off a month with an annual subscription.
The labels with the coffee info. More detailed tasting notes are also included on a separate sheet. The origins for this month’s roast were Huehuetenango, Guatemala (roasted by Boquette Mountain Coffee Roasters); Sumatra/Ethiopia (roasted by Black Powder Roasting); and Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia (Roasted by Pennycup).
Some commonsense steps to successful brewing.
The additional notes provided by the roasters — they ranged from hyper-detailed to very general. Tasting notes are great when there is an obscure flavor or unique profile that is more readily appreciated with forewarning. The true test is in the tasting.
The Bouquette Mountain Guatemalan had some really unique smoky headnotes, and there was some tart apple flavors throughout from a the mix of apple notes and the juicy acidity. The cup does mellow into a long, creamy caramel with some deeper undertones and some hints of vanilla. This bean had a nice character, exhibiting both fruity/floral notes and a rich, smooth body with some playfulness from mild acidity. An enjoyable cup with unique character.
Black Powder Roasting Company One-Eyed Jack blends Ethiopian and Sumatran beans in a dark roast blend. The end result was disappointing, given the expectations I had coming in. This was to be my dream blend of coffee: the earthy, almost peaty fuzziness of a Sumatran gussied up with brightness and high floral extravagance of an Ethiopian. The roast was just too dark for these high-minded beans, and it killed the wonderful fruits, florals, and herbaceous notes I know should have been there just waiting to be teased out with a gentle roast — a light-medium would have hit the spot. The taste of the dark roast created a dry chocolate note that dominated the blend, making for a bold but hollow experience. The taste was good, but lacking in nuance and depth.
Penny Cup Coffee Co. Yirgacheffe Free Trade Organic was my favorite of the month. The light, bright body has great bergamot tones, and a gently lemon accent pops out now and then. The floral notes are rather subdued. The mild acidity and citrus notes made for a pleasing cup. The roast was “light,” but darker than expected — I would expect a light roast to have a color closer to a bosc pear. It created a nice roasty base note for the brew, but I think it was dark enough that it over-mellowed the floral notes. As can be seen below, the “light” roast Yirgacheffe (right) is darker than the Brazil roast by Boquette (center)!
I liked all three selections, the Pennycup Yirgacheffe being a slight favorite. The One-Eyed Jack had a smooth, enjoyable taste, but the over-roasting was a failure to unleash the great potential in the beans. The value of the subscription is middling, as it costs $29 for 12 ounces of beans. The annual subscription is more reasonable, at $23 a month (including shipping). The NC coffee scene does appear to have some quality players, so I don’t think quality of selections will be an issue.
The Description:Every month, you will receive three 4-ounce bags of whole bean coffee representing the best of what North Carolina roasters have to offer, the equivalent of a full bag. Roasters’ notes and sometimes special treats accompany the crate. Try 36 different NC roasters over the course of a year.
The Price: $29 per month
The Coupon: Use coupon code HELLOCOFFEECRATE5 to save $5 on your first box!