Coffee Review: Blue Bottle – 17ft Ceiling
Blue Bottle Coffee's 17ft. Ceiling is the coffee I decided to pick up this week before my next Angels Cup' shipment came in. I really had no idea what to expect from this coffee aside from the fact that is was coming from a prestigious roaster. And Blue Bottle certainly made it easy for me to go into the experience blindly given the fact that they put hardly information on their bags.
When I opened the bag I was pretty surprised to say the least, this is a very dark roast coming from a roaster that tends to roast at much lighter levels.
Further, I didn't find out that this is actually an espresso blend until I did a little bit of research. Yes, I couldn't resist…I had to have at least a little bit of information about this coffee as I got about halfway through the bag.
About Blue Bottle Coffee and the 17ft Ceiling
This is a dark roast blend of beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and India and it was developed for the Mint Plaza location in downtown SF. The blend is supposed to be crema heavy and reminiscent of Italian espresso sans the robusta beans. As Blue Bottle puts it on their website, this is Italian espresso reverse-engineered to use only organic, high-quality coffee beans.
They recommend pulling shots for about 35 seconds (and dumping the first few drops, interesting) at 202˚F. My best shot was pulled in around 30 seconds for 40 grams of yield at about 200˚F.
More on that later…
General Notes and Observations
Across all brew methods, I found that there was very little complexity in this coffee. After finally reading the coffee's description I now understand that this was intentional. As I stated in my video review though, it was a nice consistency.
Color: “Italian” (dark)
Aroma: Dark Chocolate, Blueberry, Caramel, Cinnamon
It was best in its espresso form once I finally dialed in a shot correctly.
The AeroPress was definitely my least favorite brew method of those that I used for this blend. Bitter! I had to grind coarsely just to have a cup of coffee that was drinkable.
Bialetti Moka Pot
Dark, rich, very full-bodied even when diluted. Wet ground coffee and dark chocolate flavors.
Dry aftertaste, but overall pretty enjoyable. Probably my second favorite brew method of those I experimented with.
I picked up butter, smoke, caramel, and dark chocolate in terms of the flavors.
Dark, buttery, chocolatey. There wasn't a whole lot of variety from shot to shot as I played with different parameters. I think just as I was on to something I ran out of beans.
Why that always seems to happen is beyond me…
Overall, the ratings below are what I thought about the coffee across the different rating categories I’ve been using. To learn more about how I review coffee, go here.
Hardly any acidity in this coffee. I smelled the blueberry (presumably from the Ethiopian beans) but can't say I ever tasted it.
Pretty pleasant for the most part. Any bitterness found in the initial flavor wore off in the aftertaste as the flavor transitioned into something buttery.
I don't know what it is about dark roast coffee smelling as good as it does, but this was no exception. There were more aromatic notes than there were for the coffee's actual flavor.
Good lord the body was heavy in this coffee. A little bit too much at times in my opinion.
Simple. Neither complex nor sweet. Pretty disappointed for the most part.
My review may come off kind of harshly, but that doesn't mean this isn't a coffee you could personally love.
For the dark roast lover who is just starting to dip their feet into espresso, this is actually a great option.
If you're looking for a versatile coffee with lots of sweetness and complexity though, I'd look elsewhere, because I don't think this one will do it for you.
To give the 17ft. Ceiling a try for yourself and/or learn more about this blend, visit Blue Bottle's page about the coffee here.