This is a discussion on Black Cat Espresso Blend by Intelligensia within the Commercial Roast Reviews forums, part of the Coffee Forums category; I rarely buy espresso blends off the shelf. Mostly I make my own blends and roast them with the old ...
I rarely buy espresso blends off the shelf. Mostly I make my own blends and roast them with the old SCCO. The price is right and the quality suits me just fine. Besides, commercial blends locally are expensive and many times they're just a lame let down.
Enter Cobe-Winston who slams me with punchy cigars, a cool cigar book and a half a pound of espresso blend I asked him not to send. Told him I was coffee'd up the ying-yang. The boy doesn't lissen... The good news was, he only sent a half-pound of (so what?) the "renowned" Black Cat. I mean who gives a ...
Moment! They print the roast date on the bag. Hmmm. That's novel.
A week post-roast it hit the Mazzer on espresso fine. Into the Oscar pf which, uncharacteristically, had been much idle for the past three months. Mental gyrations.... 1/2 pound is eight ounces times 28 grams/oz., divided by 17 grams per double shot plus a small loss factor for the grinder... damn. Not many shots in a half pound.... better pay attention. Not much room for goofing up here.
First shot chokes out the Oscar pump like Michigan chokes in a Kombat ring with Appalachian State. I am not talking accidental ristretto, either. I'm talking 11 drops in 50-seconds. Need to get the next one right! Muscle memory don't fail me now. A tweak on the Maz; grind; dose; light tap, tamp, polish, wipe. Lock. Pump on.
Ba-da bing. 1.8-oz in 25 seconds, crema atop crema, no snake bite - cut and run - beauty. I know by looking that whatever I pulled is as good as it'll be. And it was good.
We are talking dark, rich, sweet and moderately complex. This stuff was was dark bitterweet, chocolate-on, plus, I swear, a hint of cherries. If it had been pipe tobacco I'd have said is had a slight topping of cherry juice. I humilitated the Black Cat by making a cappuccino with it; the cappa was fine but the espresso bled thru and said, not quietly, "You're wasting me in milk, you fool."
Next shot, just like the one before, right down the hatch. The taste held for at least 30-minutes.
Don't roast your own? Don't miss Black Cat. This stuff would TOTALLY KILL in a mokapot and needless to say, it's monster for espresso. Price? Dunno - the stuff was a gift. I only wonder, why didn't he gift me a coupla pounds even though I begged that he send no coffee? Damn. Maybe Cobe-Winston DID lissen. My bad.
Price: $12.95 per pound. Really, not out of bounds. They do ship as well. Intelligentsia is a Chicago coffee roaster. They have 3 coffee houses in the area. Just recently opened up a roasting facility in California because they get so many orders from the West coast and want to be able to deliver the beans closer to roasting. (I've talked with the owner.)
The Black Cat is their default espresso bean, the one they use in the coffee shops. If you think it's good straight, try it in an iced Americano. It'll blow you away.
Here's how I make mine: Half a glass of ice, the espresso shot on top, a little water to top off. Dash of cream. Half a packet of splenda. It's all kinds of caramel, roasted nuts, and richness.
Think the Black Cat is good? Wait till you try their only other espresso option, the Kid-O. I think it might even be better.
Great hit! How does this compare to Jerry's Electric Chair Blend?
I ordered a half lb from him last week, and its almost gone already
Compare Intelligensia Black Cat (IBC) to Electric Chair Blend (ECB)? Tough one, there. Oh Jeez - put me on the spot, why doncha?
OK. Here goes. It's like apples and oranges to me - or maybe diamonds and gold. At half the price and half the complexity it's hard to match the Cat to the Chair. I speculate that MrJerry makes relatively small quantities of something that I already know is very unusual; Intelligensia probably roasts more BC Blend in a in a month than MrJerry roasts ECB in a year.
Here I speak in weirdly relative terms... I would call ECB very much a boutique/specialty coffee next to IBC's far more commercial espresso blend. If MrJ decided to make a ton or so of ECB/month I suspect he'd have to cut his price to sell it, which means he'd have to reduce the bean expense and/or the labor that it takes to buy for, mix and roast ECB. Since I am totally guessing here, I hope MrJerry will expand, concur, disagree or whip my 2% lowfat.
Conclusion - ECB is not trying to play in the same arena as IBC. Different worlds.
Yeah, Black Cat is always in our cabinet. I'm never out of it. It's sold in a couple of supermarkets by us.
Sometimes I stop at their shop on the way home from work and pick it up no more than 2 days after roast. And the smell in the car on the way home is awesome.
There's another local roaster in town over by Loyola University named Metropolis where you can pick up their Espresso blend called "Redline" (named after the "el" train nearby) sometimes on the same day it was roasted.
It's kinda got a quirky taste to it (maybe it's just me) but worth checking out. They also sell it green (greenline).
Anyway, I'm lucky to have two roasters that I can stop at anytime I want some quality beans.
im about a week into the black cat. I drink a cup in the morning via french press. Its awesome. The aroma fills up the entire office. The taste is a little strong and nutty, but thats what I love. The dried fruit at the end is extremely pleasant and not overpowering.