I recently received a sample box from the North Carolina roaster, HEX Coffee, which included five of their single origin coffees and this seasonal blend. (I will be featuring reviews from some of the other single origin options in the coming weeks.) I always gravitate to the single-origin options, so I was surprised when this blend stood out as one of the best coffees in the box. HEX did a nice job combining the flavors and aromas of coffees from two different regions into a single unified experience that is as unique as it is complex. They describe the blend on their site as “a cup profile familiar yet intriguing, complex yet comforting.” I think that is exactly right. HEX did a wonderful job at creating a coffee that has elements of each of the origins making it feel familiar, but then also combining the flavors in a unique way that makes the coffee intriguing and unique.
Written on the tab of the box as you open it is “unashamedly bright” and that is exactly what this coffee is. It has a wonderful brightness that hits you right at the beginning of each sip. The flavor melds the more fruity Ethiopian flavors with the richer, cocoa flavors of the Guatemala into a really well-balanced, clean cup of coffee.
I tried the coffee in a cupping, v60, Chemex and espresso. It did well in all of the brew methods, but really made an impression in the pour over methods. Those brought out all of the brightness and complexity I mention above, while the espresso seemed to mask it all just a bit.
The Bottom Line
I was surprised when this blend rose to the top as one of my favorites in a box of five other single origin coffees, but it did. It is well-balanced, complex and a really delicious cup of coffee. This would be a great coffee to brew for a family gathering or other get together when there could be different preferences and tastes because it would appeal to all of them.
HEX also offers a variety of their coffees as “instant” coffees. Specialty coffee and instant coffee seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, so I was immediately skeptical. In the sample box there were a few “instant” versions of the Form seasonal blend, so I was interested to try them side-by-side. There is no doubt the instant version lacks some of the depth and complexity of the “real” coffee, but I was impressed with how well it held up. It wouldn’t be my choice for when I’m at home, but on the road or at a hotel, their instant coffees would be a great step up from the other options available.