Top positive review
Amazing Coffee, Fair Pricing & Strong - A Must Try!
July 18, 2018
(Review for 454 Horse Power)
This is an absolute gold mine of a coffee if you prefer darker roasted coffee. I'll break down each element of this coffee out of 5 and give you an idea of what I really enjoyed, and what I found less enjoyable.
Flavor: 5/5 - The beans are not over roasted or under roasted, they have the perfect amount of bitterness without an overstayed after taste. The flavor is very smooth but bold. Some dark roasts often feel too dark to the point where it's harder to get down... even black, I can drink this coffee like milk, the taste is consistent and delicious. To compare the flavor to chains, I would say it taste similar to Starbucks dark roast, but a bit stronger. Overall, the flavor is the most important part of the coffee, and 454 has plenty of it.
Aroma: 4.5/5 - For me, the smell of coffee is what gets me out of bed, and the coffee itself it what get's me out of the door. The coffee smells very faintly sweet, but nothing overbearing. The very subtle flavor in the air is enough to entice you to burn your tongue and is very inviting. The only reason it didn't get 5 stars is because I find the smell fades as the coffee gets colder. In other words, drink it hot.
Bitterness: 5/5 - Unlike Grizzly claw that I find a bit too bitter, this coffee definitely hits the sweet spot. It has the kick that dark roasts have without that back of the throat bitter deposit. I'm a big fan of espresso's and so I would always prefer something a bit more bitter, but for the average joe who finds dark roasts their bitterness cap, it's absolutely perfect.
Beans: 3.5/5 - I always recommend people to grab beans and grind them themselves as I find the coffee always tastes more fresh. In this case, I still believe that, but you'll need to clean your grinder regularly. The beans, as mentioned by many reviewers, are very oily. This is pretty common with dark roasted beans and so it should be expected, but these are a bit more oilier than normal and can oil up the system a bit.
Caffeine/Kick: 5/5 - Generally, dark roasts are supposed to be weaker than medium-light roasts due to the process removing more caffeine. With that being said, however, this coffee still wakes me up the same, if more effectively, than other brands. I'm not sure if it's the flavor that helps me absorb it more, or if the coffee is naturally stronger, but it definitely kick starts my morning at 454 Horse Power.
Presentation: 4.5/5 - I'd argue that Kicking Horse can thank to their success their branding. I absolutely love the packaging. The bag itself isn't necessarily resealable, but their is a little tightening ribbon that allows you to keep the bag relatively closed (no beans will fall out but it's not air tight). I recommend, after grinding the coffee, to keep it in an air tight container to preserve freshness.
Other: 5/5 - The last thing I love about this coffee is that we're supporting a Canadian company. With our sacred Timmies becoming a U.S. citizen, it's important we support our local coffee artisans where we can, especially when their coffee is infinitely more enjoyable than the new Tim's.
Overall, this coffee definitely deserves a 5 star review. I was able to buy this bag for $9.99 on sale, but I would still definitely buy it at $13, and still give it 5 stars. At the original $16 price point I'd likely hold back just because of how often these are on sale (and cheaper in my grocery store at that point), but definitely keep an eye for their sales.
In regards to preparation, I found that, between drip, press (Aeropress) or percolation, the percolated coffee was the best overall. This coffee has plenty of deep flavor tones that can be brought out through percolation that drip/press coffee doesn't. In regards to the other 2, I found that drip tasted almost like a light roast and removed a lot of the bitterness, while the press left a very strong coffee. Of course with pressed coffee, a lot of elements are at play that alter the flavor (time steeping/water temp/press speed) and accordingly, you could adjust it more to your liking. Overall, I found percolation was the best tasting, though I will likely be using the press more often as it's more convenient for me. At the end of the day, all 3 options are fine for a nice cup of Joe, but can be made even better with time/technique.