Roast date: 6/14/11, frozen on 6/17, thawed on 6/19
Effective roast date: 6/16
Test window: 6/20-6/22Initial Preferences
Temperature: Medium or Low
First shots on 6/20, starting at 15g, 70% at 30s, medium temperature. A little thin, but promising. Easy to dial in. Updose to 16g (leaving everything else alone) and the ratio moves to 80%. Here I encounter rich and creamy bittersweet chocolate. "Chrome-velvet" texture, as labelled, is nowhere in sight, but definite comfort food territory. The bitter note is noticeable but not unpleasant. Rather, it's a nice distinguishing characteristic, like a beauty mark on a pretty girl's face.Exploration
Baseline established, time to start dose hunting. Returning to 15g and running longer (60% ratio) left me flat. The interesting bitter notes were gone, replaced by a washed out "blah" shot. Any remaining chocolate flavors were wishing they had gone to the mall or something. Whatever.
Moving back up to 16g, dropping temperature (80% ratio, 25sec) brought out a tree nut aroma (maybe this is the "walnut" in the descriptions) and a nicely rounded sweetness. Continuing on this path, I raised the brew temperature. Predictably, the sweetness and chocolate left again, maybe this time for a movie. Bitter, acrid, unpalatable.
Updosing to 17g brought out an imbalanced shot; the chocolate was there but had turned to an uninteresting Hershey bar. Low acid, low bitter, low fun. Time to shake things up a little. What about a 180°F?
Not entirely expected, and very nice. A cleaner presentation, crisp aroma, lighter chocolate notes and stronger nut flavor. This is my equivalent to the Hazelnut Latte. Clean, clean finish left me smiling.
No surprises in a cappa. At 16g/80%, the bittersweet chocolate mellows out and I get a slight hint of citrus as the cup cools. A gentle entry into specialty coffee, IMHO. "Chrome-Velvet"? Maybe not, but I did experience a "verdigris brass" moment while tasting the cappa.Leverage
After tasting the 14g and 16g shots at 80%, medium temp, 10s preinfusion, they were unsurprisingly in line with the pump shots; chocolate-dominant with a clean finish, low acid and low bitter. Recognizing the temperature difference, I settled on 16g dose, applied the kitchen sponge heat sink and pulled a few more shots at 3s and 10s preinfusion. Whoa, there's a neat trick! Deep bittersweet chocolate, a little leather, something close to a Dominican robusto with a maduro wrapper and a round tannic Bordeaux finish. Instead of tasting bracketed pairs, I pulled single shots at 3, 6 and 10 second preinfusion and kept notes during each cup. My preference was for the 10s preinfusion; the 3 and 6 seemed a little weaker and less punchy.
Time: 26sAnd in this corner...
Comparing the nuttiness, rounded sweetness and overall pleasant nature of the pump shots, I was surprised to taste the richness in the lever. Cremina wins the head-to-head this time around with a low-temp 80% @26s TKO.Conclusions
Leftist surprised me by presenting a couple of similar faces and kept my interest as I searched for the sweet spots. Medium dose, medium temperature ristrettos are an easy favorite, but a lower dose, lower temperature ristretto pulls out some tree nut flavors. I couldn't isolate between hazelnut or walnut, but it hits somewhere in between those two identities. The sweet spots are narrow, but they do exist. Acid hounds and fruit hunters beware, these aren't the droids you're looking for, but if you want a solid comfort food shot that has a trick or two up its sleeve, Leftist fits the bill.
For the leverhead in search of chocolate bombs, you'll find a target-rich environment. Pull cooler medium-to-high dose, high ratio shots complemented in short milk drinks and be satiated.
Your dog wants espresso.