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Review #119: Rubato Coffee Lab

Name of Roaster: Rubato Coffee Lab

Location of Roaster (City, State, Country): Columbus Grove, Ohio

Type of Roast (Light, Medium, Dark): Medium Brewing Method (Drip, Chemex, AeroPress, etc.): AeroPress Time Between Purchase and Brewing (Ballpark is fine): Eight Days

Winter Hymn

Origin of Beans: Kenya/Colombia

Price: $16 (10 oz.)

Aroma: The beans provided scents of deep, rich chocolate brownie batter, ganache, devil’s food cake, and honeyed graham. The grind offered softer but brighter notes, with notes of baking spices, caramel, and potato chip mixed in with the aforementioned scents.

Flavor Profile: Arriving mid-palate and medium-bodied, the tip of the tongue livened with citrus and caramel, followed by Fuji apple, pear, sharp cocoa nibs, cinnamon stick, tart pomegranate, and an undercurrent of medium grade dark chocolate. Sides get a melange of orange, lime, and lemon peel. Finish is clean, with aromatics of chocolate cocoa.

Overall Impression (What did you think of it? Anything else we should know?): A surprisingly robust blend that takes chances rather than playing it safe, we thoroughly enjoyed Winter Hymn, as it roused us on a cold, blustery day. Fruit-forward with buoyant acidity, this is a stand-alone sipper or one to be taken with a savory item.


Origin of Beans: Gedeb, Ethiopia

Price: $18 (10 oz.)

Aroma: Scents of chocolate wafer, mixed berry jam, fruit punch, kiwi, and an undercurrent of chocolate syrup showed upon tearing open the bag. We loved the aromatics after grinding the beans, with soft chocolate cake batter, as well as muddled strawberry, raspberry, and melon, appearing.

Flavor Profile: With a low-to-mid-palate entry and austere complexion, the sip showed a mix of muddled dark fruits, including plum, blackberry, and ripened raspberry, over a spiced dark chocolate base. The sides of the tongue catch jackfruit and cantaloupe, while the tip of the tongue gets red apple, guava, steel-fermented pinot grigio, and orange peel. Slight black peppercorn was noted on the finish.

Overall Impression (What did you think of it? Anything else we should know?): We were fans of this coffee's nuance and broad profile. Pairing well with both savory and sweet items, the coffee is meant for those seeking a more adventurous sip, as it is a touch acidic for traditional profiles, but not overpoweringly so. We highly recommend this cup.

Proyecto Cabañas

Origin of Beans: Santa Barbara, Honduras

Price: $18 (10 oz.)

Aroma: Notes of soft crushed raspberry, aromatic chocolate cake, rich ganache, and chocolate truffle appeared when we tore open the bag, while delicate, sharp chocolate, mixed berry compote, and chocolate wafer appeared on the grind.

Flavor Profile: The sip showcased a medium body, juicy and lush. Notes of tropical punch, mango, grapefruit, and guava floated above a dry dark chocolate base. The sides of the tongue grab lime and orange, while the tip of the tongue received raspberry, tangerine, ripe melon, and kiwi. The finish was balanced, with fruit-forward aromatics and acidity, followed by a chocolate cake base.

Overall Impression (What did you think of it? Anything else we should know?): Yet another solid entry from Rubato, this is a cup to enjoyed either paired or as a standalone cup. Again, the profile leans acidic, but not to the point of souring the sip. Rather, it remains eminently quaffable for those who enjoy a more acidic-leaning cup.

Kichwa Tembo AA

Origin of Beans: Various Farms, Kenya

Price: $17 (10 oz.)

Aroma:lime, dark chocolate syrup, graham cracker, saltine, honeydew melon. Mixed berry jam on the grind, along with chocolate frosting, the chocolate wafer, and a hint of rhubarb showing.

Flavor Profile: This coffee is full-bodied, with a high entry on the palate, hitting the roof and sides of tongue before dropping on the center. Fruit-forward, we found vibrant notes of pear, honeysuckle, orange, lime, grapefruit, and tangerine. The sip was light, dancing across the tongue with bright acidity, but the finishing aromatics were of soft chocolate ganache. The acidity was very strong on the front end, and the sides and front of tongue received a zip of sharp lime, but the finish was balanced.

Overall Impression (What did you think of it? Anything else we should know?): The acidity of this cup places it outside the realm of the all-day sippers, but this is a fun morning cup that would hit the taste buds with a bit of electricity. If you're looking for extremely bright flavors and a more acidic roast, this is the one for you. If you're seeking something a little less wild, try the Chelbesa or Proyecto Cabañas.

Final Score (1-10, with 10 being the best cup of coffee in your life):

Winter Hymn: 7.9

Chelbesa: 8.3

Proyecto Cabañas: 8.3

Kichwa Tembo AA: 8.0 Where to Buy: Rubato Coffee Lab

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