Lab Notes Coffee is a small roaster that was started by Luke and Katie Cizek in 2018. All of their coffee is “ethically sourced from a supplier of direct trade – farmer to purchaser – or are certified as fair trade.”1 I was also initially impressed that each of their coffees has a humanitarian effort associated with it. For example, for this coffee, Lab Notes donates 1.25% of every purchase to World Vision in Ethiopia.
This coffee is a dark roasted, naturally processed coffee from the Dambi Uddo farm in the Guji highlands of Ethiopia. My interest was peaked because you rarely see a naturally processed, single-origin African coffee roasted so dark. I was excited to explore the coffee and was impressed with what I tasted.
The coffee begins with a rich chocolate fragrance with some nice fruit undertones. Once you begin to brew the coffee an intense sweetness erupts from the grounds, which was a wonderful surprise. As I began to drink the coffee, I tasted notes of raspberry, chocolate and baking spices (specifically cinnamon). The coffee had a wonderfully syrupy, full body that contrasted nicely to many other coffees I’ve had in this genre. The acidity was a bit more muted at the front of each sip, but grew stronger in the finish, which was long, crisp and carried a nice sharpness with the acidity.
I was quite impressed with how the chocolate notes carried so well throughout the coffee. Usually I’ve found chocolate notes isolated to one area (aroma, flavor, sweetness, etc.), but in this coffee the chocolate begins in the aroma and carries through the entire drinking experience. My favorite part was the rich, chocolatey sweetness that overwhelms every sip.
I tried the coffee in a variety of brew methods and it did well in all of them. Given its full body, I found it did really well in the immersion-style brew methods in particular—though the v60 did best to bring out the fruit notes, which are always my favorite.
I usually avoid dark roasted coffee, but coffees like this are changing that mindset. Even with such a dark profile, the coffee still is able to produce the fruit notes expected in a coffee of this style. The darker roast adds a beautiful layer of chocolate that adds a richness to the coffee that is delicious. If you are a fan of dark roasts, I encourage you to try this coffee to experience the depth and complexity that a great dark roast can have. If you are a fan of light roasts, I encourage you to try to this coffee to broaden your horizons to see what a great dark roasted coffee can taste like.
Disclosure: Pull & Pour received coffee samples for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.