Welcome to the first Metro Espresso review of local coffee. The first review comes from Rappahannock coffee on Columbia Pike in Arlington. You can check out their website here.
Disclosure: I do not receive free coffee from the roasters, but buy it from them without their knowledge of it being reviewed. In this manner, I hope to recreate what a normal
consumer would buy from each establishment.
The coffee is graded from of 1 to 5 based on the following criteria:
1- Horrible/Bad: Does not deserve to grace any types of brewing methods. Most likely extremely stale, burnt..etc.
2- Meh: Generally displays uneven characteristics or muted flavors. The overall taste does not blend well, and could be improved up. Stale
3- Average: A well crafted coffee with either a one-dimensional flavor or hints of one. Moderately fresh.
4- Good: Demonstrates a good combination of flavors and is freshly roasted.
5- Excellent: Similar to 4, but demonstrates a complex arrangement of flavors and exceeds in quality from similar coffees.
Value is added into the preceding criteria for the final review score.
Brew method: Most reviewers use French Press as their main method of brewing to review coffee, but as I believe any coffee shop should be judged by their double espresso. Espresso acts as a base to many coffee drinks, so reviewing it as mainly an espresso drink is my main concern.
I will refine the criteria in future reviews, but it is a good start to review the local coffee selection.
The barista informed me Rappahannock roasts once a week on Mondays. I recently ran out of the excellent Sumatra Mandheling from Northwest Coffee Company, I needed more coffee. I chose the Guatemalan Antigua Panchoy for a Central American bean.
Aroma: Opening up the bag, I discerned a spicy, floral aroma like a potpourri. After the initial smell, I discerned a hint of chocolate. After grinding, the beans released a potent, syrupy smell.
Taste: Initially, the espresso hits you with a bright, floral taste, followed by a syrupy flavor very similar to Intelligentsia's Black Cat Espresso. While it may not share BC's complex taste, it is eerily close. Unlike an earthy Sumatra, the Guatemalan had a thin body, emphasizing the vivid flavors.
Visual: The espresso displayed a deep, orangish-red color similar to auburn. The spent grounds were quite red!
Final Thoughts: Rappahannock's Guatemalan Pantigua Panchoy is a tasty espresso with a clear, pronounced taste, but lacks a body to compliment the flavors it has. Similar to Black Cat espresso, this Guatemalan coffee would be better suited as a base to a latte or cappuccino to give added flavor. Also, French Press would lesson the extreme sweetness. To take artistic licence, the flavor is arrogant and loud, yet beyond its flamboyant facade, it lacks a strong foundation. At 13.99 per pound, it is a bit pricey for me lowering the coffee's overall value.