Fulcrum Coffee (Urban City Coffee) – Urban Espresso
In this coffee review, we'll be taking a look at Urban City Coffee's Urban Espresso blend.
Sponsored Review Disclosure:
I not only received this bag of coffee for free in exchange for a review, but this was also a sponsored coffee review, meaning I was also paid $50 to have the review moved to the front of the editorial calendar.
Although a sponsored review is expedited, it does not mean that the coffee will always be reviewed favorably. But, if the coffee is reviewed negatively, the roaster is given the option to “abort” its impending publication.
You can learn more about my sponsored review policy here.
I welcome your feedback about this sponsored review format, so please share your feedback by either leaving a comment below or contacting me privately here.
General Notes & Observations
Country of Origin: Various
Processing method: Unknown
Growing altitude: Unknown
Roaster aroma notes: None
Coffee Concierge aroma notes: Burnt rubber
Roaster tasting notes: A balanced, smooth-bodied blend with roasted nut, chocolate and spicy notes
Coffee Concierge tasting notes: Dark chocolate, cherry
About Fulcrum Coffee
Fulcrum Coffee is the culmination of two Seattle-based coffee roasters, Silver Cup and Urban City.
To be honest, the exact business model took me a few minutes to figure out when I visited their website, but I think I finally understood after spending a few minutes on the “About” page.
Fulcrum Coffee is not only a team of coffee roasters and suppliers, but they are also a resource and wholesale provider for other coffee professionals who own cafés.
From my understanding, Fulcrum Coffee is aiming to be a jack-of-all-trades in the world of coffee.
They sell coffee direct to consumer, but also sell coffee, equipment, training, and consulting directly to other coffee businesses.
About Urban City and the Urban Espresso
Urban City is one of the two roasters under the Fulcrum Coffee brand currently. Urban City was founded by Brian Jurus in 1998 in the Seattle area.
The Urban Espresso is their signature espresso blend and what I'm reviewing here today. The blend is a medium-dark roast that consists of beans that are primarily from Chiapas, Mexico, but also contains beans from various regions in Central America and Africa.
There were no indications on the bag or website about the coffee varieties or processing methods used by the producers, but I'd imagine that a lot of the distinctions would be lost given the coffee's darker roast profile.
While I imagine the majority of the blend is made up of arabica beans, I was picking up some robusta in the aroma.
There was no roast date on the bag, which was a little bit disappointing to see. Still, I could tell the coffee had been roasted not too long before I received it in the mail.
My Experience Brewing as Espresso
As soon as you start pulling shots with the Urban Espresso you can tell right away why this was a blend designed for espresso.
Visually, the crema is overwhelming, where it often filled more than half of the demitasse.
My first shot pulled very slowly (almost a minute before I finally aborted), and I was expecting the worst when I took a sip of the overly-concentrated coffee.
Surprisingly, I was picking up some nice cherry acidity with minimal bitterness.
Ironically, it wasn't until I pulled a faster shot (40 seconds) on my 2nd brew that I started picking up an intense, undrinkable bitterness.
My third shot was golden though.
30g in 40 seconds from 19g of ground coffee resulted in a beautifully balanced shot of espresso with straightforward dark chocolate flavor and cherry undertones.
My fourth shot was completely eyeballed, and my best yet.
I set my Smart Grinder Pro to #10 and got a very even distribution of rich espresso out of the MyPressi Twist in about 30 seconds.
The cherry and dark chocolate notes were prevalent again, and the nasty aroma was no longer an issue.
My Experience Brewing as Coffee
As good as my experience with the Urban Espresso was for espresso brews, it was quite the opposite experience as brewed coffee.
My wife and I actually had some friends over one night and we cupped the Urban Espresso alongside a lineup of single origin light roast coffees from Black Oak Coffee Roasters.
The Urban Espresso did not cup well at all, as it had an overwhelming burnt rubber aroma and unbearably over-extracted flavor.
The cupping experience was pretty consistent with what we got out of our auto drip (Behmor Connected), though it actually did quite well when brewed through the Chemex. My hunch is that coarsening up the grind with the Chemex played a big role in a more pleasant extraction.
I also brewed the Urban Espresso in my Behmor Connected (auto drip) and my Bialetti.
The auto drip was drinkable, though I'd recommend using a very coarse grind if you decide to brew the Urban Espresso this way.
The Moka Pot was not very pleasant. It was acceptable as an Americano and with milk added, but I think it's a waste of time to brew this blend outside of espresso.
While the Urban Espresso wasn't my favorite espresso blend from this year, I did enjoy it more than I expected I would (given the rough start with other brewing methods).
I would recommend this to dark and medium roast lovers above all else, but I think pretty much any espresso lover would enjoy this.
The reason I think this is because it is a very forgiving blend that doesn't take long to dial-in on your machine. Whether extracting quickly, or slowly, it's hard to ruin the underlying flavor because there is neither an overwhelming bitterness or acidity.
This isn't to say that it's impossible to screw up, which is especially not true for drip coffee, but my guess is that you'll have success with the majority of the shots you pull with this blend.
You can buy Urban City's Urban Espresso through the button below: