October 18, 2006

Review: Green Mountain Dark Magic and Fair Trade Organic Espressos

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We recently received a shipment of Green Mountain Coffee in for a review that we will use in the Jura-Capresso Impressa E8 that we have here at SingleServeEspresso.com The Impressa E8 is kicking out the espressos here at the test kitchens and we are loving it everyday. If you want a full review of the unit, click HERE. The two blends here for this review are the Dark Magic Espresso Blend and the Fair Trade Organic Espresso blend; both of which are roasted for espressos in mind and the ability to stand up in a Latte or a Cappuccino.

Green Mountain, from their home base in Vermont, is fairly well known as a good quality coffee roaster and a good steward of the earth. Their environmental programs and social responsibility are noteworthy. This hits home here at SingleServeEspresso.com, where our servers are run on renewable electricity, and our test kitchen does too. Did you know that as an employee at Green Mountain, you can take time off to volunteer in your community where ever you see a need? They are also believers in setting up the coffee system for sustained success by helping farmers, either through Fair Trade coffee practices or through direct relief when hurricanes hit. They can turn out a decent cup of coffee too!

Today we are looking at the Dark Magic Espresso blend and the Fair Trade Organic Espresso Blend. Both came to us as whole bean coffees and both got tested in the Impressa E8. From the write-ups at the Green Mountain site, they both are blend after roast type coffees which allow the manufacturer to create more complexity in the cup by roasting one coffee to one darkness, another to a different darkness and then combine them so that each one is selected AND roasted for its unique contribution to the end goal of the product. It's a practice that takes a bit more care and precision, and its one that allows extra flavor to come to you in the cup.

When I brewed these blends time and time again, they are very similar, which given that they both come from Green Mountain, are both espresso blends, are both Blend After Roast products, and both contain Indonesian and Latin American coffees, is no surprise. They are both dark and richly flavored with a bit of a sharp pungentness that stands up without standing out. The cups on both have hints of caramelized sweetness, but not a prominent amount.

If I have to pick anything apart from the two, I would say that the Fair Trade Organic Espresso blend has a bit more complexity and body in the back end than the Dark Magic Espresso Blend, which I really enjoyed. For me it's a win-win scenario; Fair Trade, Organic and a bit more or a sweeter body in the finish of the flavor profile, which is something that I like. The cost difference is very small; about fifty cents at this writing. You won't go wrong with either of these as they are both very good espressos, but for a bit more body and inherent sweetness, try the Fair Trade Organic Espresso blend.

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Posted by Scott Martin at October 18, 2006 8:12 AM
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