When The Feisty Foodie was selected to be part of its Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Peet’s Coffee, naturally the job of reviewing the coffees fell to me as resident beverage blogger. I’ve written up coffee in the past, and now, it was time to take on Peet’s’ new line of medium-roast coffees.
Peet’s has always tended toward the dark roast method, which in the past hasn’t exactly thrilled me; too often that seems to mean “burn the heck out of the beans. But now Peet’s is in grocery stores, pre-ground (sigh) in 12-ounce packages, and they were kind enough to send along the Café Solano and Café Domingo coffees for testing and the like.
As Peet’s press release relates, “Café Solano is a blend of African, Indo-Pacific and South American coffees that is lively and aromatic. Peet’s experts describe it at a world blend with floral notes and a subtle fruit essence for a lively, yet rounded cup.”
The package calls for two level tablespoons of coffee per six-ounce cup. My coffeemaker’s 8-cup mark equals 36 ounces, so that came out to about 50g (close to two ounces) of coffee per pot. I am fairly positive I don’t use my home-ground beans at that rate, and I enjoy my coffee, but in the interests of science, twelve tablespoons it was.
I readily admit, the coffee smelled quite wonderful as it brewed in my standard drip coffeemaker, and I eagerly waited my first cup of the morning.
Rich and earthy, the Solano reveals a bit of a sour thing in the nose. Quite bitter, curiously not so much “coffee!” screaming out as a soft, slightly dirty coffeeish flavor underneath. That initial impression was tempered a little as I got into my second cup, which seemed slightly more rounded that the first cup, and I began to warm to that sourness — it started to seem a bit tannic, really, that type of bitterness.
There’s only so many ways that I tend to pair coffee at home, and most of those are breakfast related. So it was that Café Solano accompanied a cheese and pepperoni omelet (yes, I do that) one morning, and a lovely toasted H&H salt bagel the next. Its purpose was fulfilled: to provide warm lubrication to the meal, and not overwhelm the non-carb components. Mission accomplished!
A few days later, I tore into the second pre-ground bag. As the press release states, “Café Domingo is a blend of Central and South American coffees that is smooth, balanced and medium-bodied with more pure coffee taste. Peet’s coffee experts describe it as a medium roast cup with hints of toffee sweetness and clean crisp finish.”
Yep, somewhere around 50 grams of coffee again. This really does look like too much, but the proof is in the cup. While I expect to way overload my mother’s coffeemaker as she keeps lesser store brands in her home, it seems like I shouldn’t be doing that with Peet’s.
On the other hand, if the Peet’s is going to be this aromatic, who am I to argue? I’ll have to bring some home for Thanksgiving, for starters.
I compared Café Domingo to the Solano, as that made the most logical sense. It’s definitely a little fuller-bodied, richer, than the Solano to my palate. Deeper coffee flavor, no sour note, a touch of bitter chocolate, even. It isn’t quite as “slick” on the tongue, either.
I managed to enjoy this pot of Café Domingo alongside a couple of snickerdoodles (baked by CT), and later, determined that Domingo also works pretty well straight as an iced coffee, no sugar required to cut the usual bitterness brought on with a cold cup of coffee.
I hit upon a fun idea when six pounds of peanuts arrived in the mail. So I took a cup of (shelled) peanuts, and simmered those in 3/4 cup brewed coffee with about a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper until the coffee was all absorbed/evaporated. If you prefer a less bitter coffee, I strongly recommend sugaring the coffee prior to simmering the peanuts in it. Either way, just be warned that this leaves a residue in your pot.
I then dusted the hot, wet nuts with another half-teaspoon of cayenne, then transferred them to the oven for 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees until they were dry once more.
You can let them cool before you eat them, but I doubt you’ll hold out. Enjoy!
Please note that Foodbuzz and Peet’s provided the coffee to me without charge. I received no monetary compensation for this review, nor was I obliged in any way to post about this experience, positively or otherwise. This is my own opinion and I feel it was unbiased; you are free to take from this what you will.