Vietnamese ESE Espresso Pod Review
For the last few weeks we've been drinking a lot of ESE Pod espresso from Heirloom coffee; specifically three blends, the The Indochine Estates Espresso, a Highlands Full City Roast Espresso pods and the Decaf Espresso pod.
The Indochine Estates Espresso uses a little known Excelsa variety for its blend and full flavor. It has a solidly dark roast and is well in the Bold category for flavor development in the cup. the espresso is 95% Bourbon Arabica with 5% Lam Dong Excelsa coffee, a blend that develops some complexity in the cup. In cupping the pods deliver a strong flavor and aftertaste of espresso, with a bourbon or whisky flavor, moderately acidic with a strong almost Stout beer style finish. These pods are strong and come three to a package - which are a good choice for households that plow through the espresso. The price per pod is a little lower because of the reduced package costs.
The Highlands coffees come in single pod packs and are lighter roasted than the Indochine Estates, but don't confuse that with a weak character. These are classic Robusta style blends that offer a full flavor profile and finish. The Full City Roast product comes 5-sachets to the box (one ESE Pods per sachet), and offer both lighter roasted notes of grain and a bit of caramel when you entice it out with a little sugar, while also offering an acidic flavor with bakers chocolate. The strong finish of the Robusta doesn't disappoint.
I have been testing and brewing on the Cuisinart EM-200 brewer that allows me to set the volume on the shot and keep it constant across my testing day in and day out.
The Highlands Decaf deserves special mention. It's the best Decaf that I have tasted, not shying away from being bold and full bodied; not weak-kneed and wimpy like so many other decaf ESE pods on the market. The shot has a rounded smoky flavor with nice toasted notes. The reduced acidity is apparent, but keeps a balanced flavor profile. The shot retains nice caramel and chocolate flavors. Again, this is a Robusta blend, so if you are looking for a squeeky clean finish, this doesn't have it; instead it has a nice fuller bodied finish that comes with more "Classic" espresso blends. I happen to like this type of flavor, so if you like it, it's well worth trying.
The Pods are available at Vietnamese Coffee Online and all of the coffee or pods are imported and sold by Heirloom Coffee in Mass.
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Posted by Scott Martin at September 15, 2010 10:22 AM