Monday, March 10, 2014

Eight O'Clock Central Highlands

 I deride Eight O'Clock coffees a lot. For a while, it was shorthand for the pseudo-good stuff, only suitable for people who want to look like they know what they're doing with coffee.

Its not a coffee hipster brand, kind of like the Strokes or Imagine Dragons of coffee. Its cheap, but it comes in whole bean! It also has a market share and saturation that probably keeps its price down.

When I first got my press, I started buying some of its simpler blends because it was what I could afford at the time. Still, its affordability is a big part of its appeal.

Back during the coffee spree, I started to second guess myself for the Turkish coffee, and grabbed this.

Its a Rain Forest Alliance, ecologically sustainable, blah, blah blah, (keep reading the corporate assurances...) coffee from Central America.

http://www.eightoclock.com/central-highlands-rainforest-alliance-coffee

I was more interested in the flavor profile, and I had recently had a coffee representative from the one of major coffee maker companies talk about how surprised she was by their coffees. I also have another friend that is often impressed by Eight O'Clock.

I thought I would give it another shot. I've used it for espresso, and I just don't like it there. Somehow, it makes a weird, acidic shot that makes my mouth hurt.

For discussion purposes, I took it back to my beginnings with this coffee and put it in the French Press.

This is a dark roast with spikes of flavor through a predominately mellow flavor on the tongue. It is spicy but not in an overwhelmingly peppery or cinnamon kind of way. Black pepper comes to mind in the way it activates the tongue. I don't get the cocoa described by the company, but it does remind me of the softness I find in coffees that are heavily cocoa. Again, it goes to that mellowness.

I did use this coffee to make Turkish and Vietnamese coffees, but I buried the coffee under so much sugar, sweetened condensed milk or other stuff that I cannot adequately describe coffee because of it. The French Press is simply the best way to get to the coffee. There's very little filtering, no removal of essential oils, no trickery because of pressure or crema.

Eight O'Clock seems to be re-branding, and they are trying some new things for their company to meet a certain market share.

Would I get Central Highlands again, sure. Am I enjoying it now? Yes. This is a good coffee if you want to surprise your coworkers who aren't big, serious coffee drinkers, or a good one for your group of friends who just don't know better. Sometimes, its just not worth wasting the good, good stuff. Its a bit like the Magnum coffees that are made more for the commercial market rather than specific palates. However, I might snag the African Plains coffee if it is ever released in whole bean.

This is a coffee that will most certainly do.