Coffee Roundup November

I’ve written some coffee reviews on coffees I’ve consumed over the last few months but now that I am blogging more regularly I am going to do some coffee roundups.

Sometimes I will have a couple of coffees in the month and other months just one. If I buy 1/2 of a pound I use it quicker obviously but I also like to branch out and try a few different coffees at a time.


This month I’ll be looking at three delicious coffees. One from Pallet Coffee Roasters, Another from Strait Coffee on the Sunshine Coast and an old favorite, Starbucks Gold Coast Blend.

Pallet Coffee Roasters Ricardo Zelaya: Santa Clara, Honey – Guatemala

I’ve included a link to Pallet’s website here with a complete breakdown and the information on this coffee and it’s an interesting story. There is one thing that stuck out to me with this blend, in particular, is how the beans are picked and sorted.

If you have ever seen a coffee plant as I have you will see the red cherries hanging off of the plant. Once those are picked and ready for harvesting the bean is processed and it is here that a farmer will use either the dry method or washed method.

Washed method coffees have all the cherry surrounding the bean removed and they are then soaked for 12-72 hours to ferment. This is the most common way to process and get green beans ready for roasting.

The Dry method as it is known sees coffee cherries placed on to raised beds to dry in the sun. This too effects the flavour and overall taste of the coffee as well.

With the honey process, coffee cherries are de-pulped but allowed to dry without washing. Some of the fruit is still there, but not nearly as much as in the natural process. Most of the cherry is gone, but the remaining golden, sticky mucilage is reminiscent of honey, which is where the process gets its name.

With this process, I noticed a distinct difference from Pallet’s Benchmark Espresso which I tried in the spring of 2020.

Costa Rica from Strait Coffee

Strait Coffee Traders is nestled in an unremarkable shopping plaza in Wilson Creek, B.C. on the Sunshine Coast.

Why great coffee comes from here I don’t know but they have been doing it since 1996, and their Costa Rica is a great choice for someone looking for a coffee that is too overpowering.

Once again I took this coffee through three possible brewing methods in my trusty Bialetti Stove Top Espresso Maker, French Press made by Bodum, and a cone drip coffee maker.

Strait Coffee describes it as one that you get the taste or feel of Milk chocolate, honeydew, caramel. The coffee is fully washed and dried in the sun and mechanical driers.

This is the type of coffee that could please many palettes and would be great hot or iced. It did stretch my preference too of wanting to always go for coffees from Africa or Asia which includes places like Hawaii as well.

Gold Coast Starbucks

This is an old favorite of mine from my days working with the coffee giant between 2003-2007. I can honestly I learned a lot about coffee from Starbucks which had nothing to do with Starbucks coffee per se but rather how and why coffee is what it is.

It has been 10 years since I probably bought Gold Coast and it was great to taste it again.

As Starbucks describes Gold Coast it has the heft of beans from Latin America and Indonesia with a bit of sweetness from our dark Italian Roast.

I can see now why I like this coffee so much when you think about previous coffees I have reviewed including some of the Latin Americans include in this and other posts.

I have an admitted bias against Latin American coffees especially when lightly roasted and full of acidity and lacking body.

Gold Coast however does not disappoint given that it’s a blend and a well crafted one at that.


Benchmark Espresso A Welcome Cup of Java During COVID-19

As an ex Starbucks employee from many years ago it was great to receive training that taught me how coffee is grown, cultivated and processed and why that effects what you ultimately get in your cup.

This education has stuck with me over the years and with limited options during COVID-19 to visit cafe’s that were open, I decided to seek out and find some places that may offer pickup or delivery of whole bean coffee.

Pallet Coffee Roasters selection of Coffees

I stumbled upon Pallet Coffee Roasters when an ad came up in my Instagram feed so I took the chance. Boy was a I glad I did.

Pallet has been in operation since 2014, with six Cafe’s and their headquarters and roastery in East Vancouver as well as a Commissary kitchen.

The Coffee

I chose Benchmark Espresso purely on a whim and proceeded to put it to the test by trying it in my Bialetti Stove Top Espresso, French Press and Cone Filter drip machine over a three week period.

Pallet says this coffee has a “Smooth milk chocolate with a tropical sweetness and soft acidity” flavour profile to it.

I got that immediately as well as a caramel like sweetness and taste that left pleasant notes of brown sugar on my tongue. Perhaps that’s where the tropical comes from. An almost pineapple like taste of tropical could linger there.

The Coffee Dictionary

I always use The Coffee Dictionary as a resource when trying a new coffee. The Coffee Dictionary is written by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood. I looked up some of the terms described in Benchmarks flavour profile.

The first one was acidity and as the Dictionary describes it as something that is an essential component of a coffee but not necessarily something that is good or bad. A coffee isn’t bright nor is it sour as one would think and coffee itself is only a mildly acidic beverage.

The coffee’s Terroir from the French word terre meaning land or earth and the many environmental factors that are part of a crop’s growing conditions are said to have a greater effect on the acidity of a coffee than anything else. That would make more sense.

The Coffee Dictionary is written by Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood.

The coffee used in Benchmark Espresso is of two varieties.

50% Brazil Fazenda Alta Vista, Honey
50% Colombia Narino Buesaco, Washed

I remember from my Starbucks days a Colombia Narino coffee that I did not like because of what I perceived as a strong acidity or nuttiness. I can confidently say that I do not dislike these coffees anymore.

Brazil Fazenda Alta Vista, Honey is not a coffee type or bean that I have tried or don’t think I have tried unless it was part of a blend that I bought. I’ll have to try a single origin Brazilian in the future.

Latin American Coffee Flavour Profile

Latin American coffees themselves have certain characteristics which include a light to medium body with a balanced and clean mouthfeel. They also exhibit a slight sweetness that is accented by a sparkling, crisp, and lively acidity that may be also be spicy.

For more information on the flavour profile of American coffees please visit the Espresso Coffee Guide.

All in all I would give the Benchmark Espresso a solid 8/10 as a coffee to buy and drink. It’s versatile, has great taste and works well in multiple brewing systems and as a hot or iced beverage.