Ritual Coffee

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
atao

#1: Post by atao »

This is somewhat a question for folks in the bay area, but really anyone that has access to these coffees: I'm wondering why people don't talk about Ritual Coffee more.

What I mean is that I find Ritual to have some of the tastiest coffee of any of the local roasters. While my recollection is that they were once very much a 3WOJ type roaster, it seems to me that their roast has been more approachable, and also quite consistently good. Medium-light rather than light, often with a nice fruity twist but balanced.

Recently i've been trying out a lot of various roasters across the US, with some of the top ones being B&W and George Howell. But Ritual, which has been around for a long time, is worth a look IMO. Curious how others see it.

jpender

#2: Post by jpender »

atao wrote:While my recollection is that they were once very much a 3WOJ type roaster, it seems to me that their roast has been more approachable, and also quite consistently good. Medium-light rather than light, often with a nice fruity twist but balanced.
There was a point in the past where I gave up on them after tossing out one too many bags that I felt were grassy and underdeveloped. Returning to try them later I experienced the same as you, that their roasts are medium. I don't think they are light at all, at least not the ones I have bought. And I think they sell good coffee. Why people don't post about them (or some of the other good local roasters) is more of a psychology question.

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clc12rock

#3: Post by clc12rock »

I was just in SF and they were probably the best shop I hit. Equator was really good as well.

Kinda disappointed by some of the other shops I went to (Four Barrel, Sightglass, Linea, Wrecking Ball). A lot of the shops weren't fully open yet tho so they weren't offering pourovers, SO espresso, etc.

TenLayers
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#4: Post by TenLayers »

I think their logo might be best in the business. My son gave me a bag a few years ago, even though he knows I roast my own, and it blew my mind. It was some sort of holiday only roast I think.
Haven't had it since though.

TigerStripes

#5: Post by TigerStripes »

Ritual sweet tooth is their rotating single origin espresso - it was what opened my eyes to what espresso could be, beyond thick chocolately dark roasts.

I love ritual and would like to try more from them, but at $18 a bag it works out to ~4x the cost of home roasting.

jpender

#6: Post by jpender »

TenLayers wrote:I think their logo might be best in the business.
It's funny how marketing works. I have the opposite reaction to the logo. To me it comes across as political or nationalistic. I know it's not but I get that feeling anyway. It's one of the reasons I don't buy their coffee very often. It's totally irrational but, well, people are irrational creatures.

Even the name "Ritual" has a negative, compulsive kind of connotation to me.

baristainzmking
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#7: Post by baristainzmking » replying to jpender »

+1 reminds me of the hammer and sickle on the old Soviet flag....
Julia
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jpender

#8: Post by jpender »

Here's what the founder, Eileen Rinaldi, had to say in a 2019 interview:
Ah, our iconic cup and star! This was designed based on the vision that what we were doing was really revolutionary and that we needed an instantly recognizable symbol, perhaps even a flag. Aimee Kilmer of Good Stuff Partners came up with the cup and star, inspired by both the bold color contrasts of the Turkish flag and the iconography of the Soviet era. People still ask us if we're communists sometimes. We are not.

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cafeIKE
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#9: Post by cafeIKE »

I quit buying their coffee because of the logo.

Were I branding a coffee, I'd want to stay as far away as possible from the genocidal murderers of 50+ millions.

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TomC
Team HB

#10: Post by TomC »

atao wrote:This is somewhat a question for folks in the bay area, but really anyone that has access to these coffees: I'm wondering why people don't talk about Ritual Coffee more.

For light roasted specialty coffee, back in the 2005-2007 era that I came to central CA, your main choices (in SF proper) were Ritual and Blue Bottle and both were very new at the time. Ritual, was steadfast in only roasting extremely light, and almost exclusively washed coffee.

Just like every other cafe, sometimes their service is amazing, sometimes not. I vaguely recall back in the day perceiving both online here and in the local community a lot of criticisms aimed at Ritual's baristas at times. But I haven't seen or heard much of it for a long time now.

I had a HB meetup about a decade ago, here at my apartment, and wanted to have some commercial roasts on hand in case most of our home roasts bombed. But the only bad coffee of the meetup was a severely under-roasted central that had zero aroma in the bag (freshly roasted too), and smelled and tasted of steamed tomatoes when brewed.

I did a write up about 2 years later about "Roasting and Retail" a course offered by the now defunct Food Craft Institute out of Oakland. I decided back then to omit most of my impressions of Ritual, because they weren't good ones.

And, historically, roasters like Ritual and Verve here in the Bay Area were chasing each other to the bottom of the barrel in how light each one could roast. I noted having some incredibly sweet, developed and not kiwi skin sour/acid espresso from Verve back in 2017-ish, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that Ritual has also come along and started developing coffees better.

It was a trend that was easy to sell, about 10 years ago. Now it's more of a sign of an unskilled roaster, IMO. Kudos if Ritual is on the uptick. I'll have to swing back in again and see what they have.