Cuvee Coffee Meritage Espresso Blend - Page 2

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#11: Post by RapidCoffee »

I've been out of town, so didn't get a chance to sample Cuvee's Meritage blend until today. This is a fairly light roast for espresso, highly aromatic, looking and smelling very promising.

No visible oil droplets; a light northern Italian style roast.

I tested a range of doses (16g to 20g) and temperatures (roughly 198-202F) on my Vetrano (an E61 HX machine) and Spaziale S1 (a double boiler). At higher doses and temperatures, I tasted predominantly vanilla, almond, leather, and some chocolate. At lower doses and temperatures, this blend was noticeably more fruity, dominated by sour cherry, vanilla/almond extract, and chocolate. These were "traditional" 45-50ml doubles (sorry, Chris :twisted:) with brew ratios of 50-65%.

There were subtle differences between the HX and DB pulls. This may be due to brew temperature profiles (humped HX vs. flat DB), basket shape, and perhaps a slightly lower dose (~1g) in the 53mm S1 basket. Some have reported problems updosing the S1. I had no such issues:

19g Spaziale porn

In general, I preferred the S1 pours as straight shots, and the Vetrano pours with milk. Both were improved (IMHO of course) by a small amount of sugar, which seemed to enhance the sour cherry notes.

An interesting blend, and one that I will continue testing over the next few days. Thanks, Mike!

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#12: Post by shadowfax »

RapidCoffee wrote:I've been out of town, so didn't get a chance to sample Cuvee's Meritage blend until today. This is a fairly light roast for espresso, highly aromatic, looking and smelling very promising.
[emphasis mine]

I'm also going to join in the fray. I ordered myself some Meritage to try on my new setup, and to generally refresh my memory (or change it) as to this blend. It was roasted yesterday, and I personally drove to visit the guys and pick it up. While I was there, I had the excellent opportunity to taste and help judge shots and cappuccinos made by Dan and Clancy. As you can imagine, they really make their coffee sing. Clancy was working with a blend that's a variation of Meritage, using the same ingredients in different proportions. The shots were heavy-bodied, syrupy, and well-balanced. I can never pick out nuttiness in a straight shot, but the nuttiness in some of the cappuccinos was simply sublime, a nice toasted nut flavor for me (Clancy called it Macadamia--I can see that). The berry for me was pretty mild and sweet, and I tasted a little freshness (as a small defect giving a slightly edgy sourness) in the coffee. The edginess was heavily on the back end; The finish was still good, but the prolonged aftertaste was noticeably tainted for me.

Of course, that's with 2-day old coffee. The Meritage I came home with I've separated into 2 jars, one for the freezer, one in a drawer, and then about a third of the coffee left in the bag, which is open in the hopper, "open air aging" per Clancy's suggestion--he said it seems to peak after 3 days when aged in this fashion.

Anyway, the dry aromatics of this coffee are wonderful. Last night when I was dividing my bag up, I took the opportunity to stick my whole face in the bag and inhale... excellence. The Sidamo dominates the aromatics with berry, but it's balanced by the other blend ingredients. Very distinct and almost overpowering in intensity. Anyhow, I'll post my experience with the blend as it peaks in the next few days.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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malachi (original poster)

#13: Post by malachi (original poster) »

Dan Streetman wrote: I doubt if you have any coffee left, but would be interested to hear your thoughts on shots pulled in the 20g - 1.75-2oz total volume range.
I pulled some shots with the very last of it - shooting for this combo (LM ridged double).
I had to take the brew temp up to get it to work (otherwise I got a rather unpleasant astringent citric note), but at a little over 201F I started to get some decent results in the 1.75oz range. I got a lot of chocolate (bittersweet and dutch cocoa) as well as some hints of leather and some macadamia nut. There was some dried fruit (fig mostly) and hints of plum. The finish was dominated by sour cherry, slightly sour cranberry and some hints of blueberry acidity.
I found this less enjoyable than the Synesso Triple Basket extraction (as described above) for short milk drinks. For straight shots - I would probably score both equally -- but I would prefer the Synesso version simply because it is a more unique taste (whereas this shot was a little too "generic new american" for me).
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin


#14: Post by zin1953 »

mikemckim wrote:I think I really put you all on the wrong path out of the gate. When I say .75 - 1 ounce, I meant per shot...not total volume.

An off-the-wall (perhaps) question, if I may: why "Meritage"?
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.


#15: Post by mikemckim »

zin1953 wrote:An off-the-wall (perhaps) question, if I may: why "Meritage"?
Back in 2001, my business partner and I started heading in different directions so I bought his half of the business and changed the company name to Cuvee Coffee (we used to call our espresso blend Espresso Cuvee). In keeping with a sort of wine theme, I called the espresso blend Meritage much like a wine maker might call a specific blend of grapes a Meritage...and 2 Buck Chuck was already taken :)
Cuvee Coffee
Austin, TX

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#16: Post by shadowfax »

Maybe 2 Buck Chuck was taken, but what about 20 Buck Chuck (2 lb. bags)? :lol:
Nicholas Lundgaard


#17: Post by zin1953 »


A winemaker CANNOT just decide to call a specific wine "Meritage."

Meritage® is, in fact, a registered trademark of The Meritage Association. Because it is a registered trademark, in order to use that word on their label, the winery:
  • Be a member of the association;
  • Must produce a wine that is in accordance with the definition of the term;
  • Must get approval from the association to use their registered trademark.
Just askin' . . .

A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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#18: Post by sweaner »

Jason, what does the word mean?

EDIT: Google again came up with an answer-
Of course, I could have just read the link you did provide! :oops:
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#19: Post by woodchuck »

Well, finally had a chance to pull the Cuvee out of the freezer and give it a shot. Pulled shots from 14gr to 22gr and from 91 to 95 degrees Celsius. I found I definitely needed to updose the coffee and run the temperature a bit higher than I usually do for this type of blend. The best shot came it at around 94 degrees and 20gr. I had to move to the triple after about 17gr in my VII. The most likable shot had some good brown sugar and caramel with just a hint of dark berries. Lower temperature and I got a harsh front end. Lower volume and I lost the sweetness. Here's a snapshot of my "sweetspot".




#20: Post by zin1953 »

No worries . . . I probably should have posted the definition.
RED Meritage wine is made from a blend of two or more of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, and Carmenere. No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend.

WHITE Meritage is made from a blend of two or more of the following varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Sauvignon Vert. No single variety may make up more than 90 percent of the blend
Of course, the word "meritage" rhymes with the word "heritage" (as in MARE-i-tige), rather than a pseudo-French pronounciation (mare-i-TAJ).

The word dates back to a contest held in the mid-1980s for California* wine producers. The goal was to invent a word to define red (and white) Bordeaux-styled blends -- a term to denote high quality, rather than just calling the wine a "Burgundy" or a "Red Table Wine," both of which are often used for low quality wines.


* It has since been expanded to include wines from outside of California, indeed outside the United States.
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.