Coffee Review: Aromistico Coffee
(Please note I have not been paid or otherwise incentivized for this review, I was however sent complimentary coffee beans that prompted this being written.)
You may be surprised to learn that it’s not just films and TV that are my pleasures in life, I also love coffee. When I’m not buying blu-rays, it’s coffee making equipment that I’m treating myself to, amassing about 10 different brewing methods on hand in my kitchen. Often the two go together, especially when doing multi-movie or Netflix marathons, with the little lift from the caffeine helping me focus on what I’m watching.
My twitter account reflects my interests, as among the directors, actors, and film critics, I also follow the account of my usual coffee supplier, the one I describe to my friends as ‘my‘ coffee that’s clearly different from the far cheaper (though always still good quality) ground coffee I use for most visitors. It’s this link that seems to have prompted the interesting recent episode in my life, when a new brand of Italian coffee started following me on Twitter despite my not having heard of them before.
As a man who has received replies from some of his favourite musicians (Andrew McMahon and Michael Grubbs), actors (Gabriel Macht) and directors (James Gunn), I enjoy a good Twitter exchange and so began a correspondence with this company ‘Aromistico’.
I loved how they first of all actually responded, but also were willing to accommodate my craziness with a sense of humour and what can only be described as shrewd generosity. If they had said ‘go buy a bag and then you’ll know why we’re so good’ I can guarantee I never would. Something as simple as a voucher towards my purchase or a sample enough to make a mug (20g or so) would have been enough to warm me to them, but no, they raised the game and sent me out a couple of full bags of their main varieties.
On arrival, the first thing that really impressed me was the way that it came so beautifully wrapped like a personal gift, despite being a kind freebie as a result of cheekiness there was real care and attention given to their products and service. Wrapped in the lovely tissue paper were two packs of coffee. I’m hugely impressed by the packaging of this coffee. The pouches (I’d say they are more than ‘bags’) are very substantial and well designed seemingly with a genuine care for freshness in mind. The plastic is tough, suitably opaque, and the opening is properly resealable, once the pull strip has been removed it has a zip-lock style system that closes it up much easier and more air-tight than any sticky label usually provided and possibly even better than the clips many of us coffee drinkers have on hand for the purpose. Immediately I could tell this was a premium brand, clearly a few levels above ‘supermarket’ coffee and even above many of the leading brands.
I’ve had real Italian coffee, it’s less than a year ago since I went on holiday to Italy and was thrilled to find that a perfect cup of coffee cost less than a bottle of water, so I made full use of that thrifty tip in Verona, Garda and Venice, enjoying many delicious cups. Raising the possibility that what I’d been given might recreate that taste and the warm summer memories that go with it (biologically smell and taste are very strongly linked to memory) was starting to tantalise me. So, does it live up to the promise?
Napoli (Dark Roast)
The first cup I made was with a Hario V60 drip method, made to recommended instructions. As I had only just bought the V60 this is not a method I’m yet practised with, it was only the third cup I’d ever made with the V60 but it still turned out really well. I had a few more brews from these beans and this method and when I follow the brewing tips closely (including weighing everything) it does produce a very smooth and tasty cup of coffee.
Next day I decided to try something a bit different with this. Needing a bit of a boost, I pulled out my stovetop Moka pot (an essential piece of kit in any Italian kitchen) and made a Cuban coffee. Like myself, a Cuban coffee is small, strong, sweet, and quite hot and this coffee was perfect for it, it turned out wonderfully smooth and very tasty indeed.
Following that I made a cup with my usual morning method, the brilliantly simple Aeropress. It made a cup of coffee with the strength that I’ve grown accustomed to though these beans are a darker roast than I usually favour I really enjoyed it, there was no bitterness and the ‘mouthfeel’ was really satisfying, lingering well after breakfast in a way reminding me of how I’d enjoyed it and making me contemplate my next cup. This is exactly what I think a good cup of coffee should do!
Having friends round for lunch at the weekend I wanted to treat them to a nice coffee, so used the rest of the beans to make a full pot of coffee in my filter machine. The most often derided of all coffee-making methods, I needed to use this as I was too busy and had my hands full preparing the food. It’s worth noting that my filter machine is a Technivorm, widely hailed as the best of all filter machines and the coffee it produces is certainly better than most even if not quite the same as an individually made and measured drip cup. The sheer quality of these beans shone through as my friends noted it was ‘very good coffee’ prompting one who doesn’t often drink coffee to want a cup and enjoy it, commenting on the nutty notes they were noticing.
Roma (Medium Roast)
I was excited about moving on to my second bag from Aromistico as a medium roast is more often what I favour when buying coffee now. I generally moved away from the overly dark roasts as I enjoy the slightly more subtle and nuanced flavours. I’m pleased to say that’s exactly what I’m getting here with the Roma, a different set of subtler tastes. I made it firstly with the V60 but also with my Aeropress for speed and ease in the mornings. It’s a very flavourful coffee and goes beautifully with a piece of dark chocolate.
As the weather here recently has been shockingly warm, the last of the beans went into cold brewing and eventually became a Vietnamese Iced Coffee. It was the first time I have made that style and it was delicious, just what was needed in this heat. The pure cold brew without any milk was also delicious, the beans worked very well with these methods, in the Vietnamese Iced the Arosmistico coffee paired nicely with the condensed milk yet holding its own and not being overpowered by the sweetness. Being a medium roast it developed a lovely full flavour when cold brewed, a method that’s best suited for roasts less than dark. I also repeated the Vietnamese Iced in the traditional method with a phin brewer (pictured below) and it turned out great too though I prefer the fuller flavour of the cold brew.
Sadly it’s all gone now, and though it won’t become my daily coffee brand that’s more due to my enjoying a wider variety of coffees being sent to me every few weeks as my first cup of the day. Aromistico coffee is saved in my Amazon list, ready as a perfect purchase for a treat, possibly even a gift. I can see myself buying it to take for dinner hosts in place of a bottle of wine, a perfect way to raise the quality of the after-dinner coffee on offer and prove to novices why it matters what coffee you buy.