I continue my quest for the perfect-for-me stovetop espresso bean. This bag is Peaks Coffee Company‘s Compass Espresso.
My fantasy demi-tasse[WT] in the morning is a light espresso that is probably too sweet, an espresso version of the Arabic coffee I was once served, hopefully with the the same hint of cardamom but not necessarily.
Compass Espresso is not it.
These are almost certainly robusta (Coffea canephora) beans, commonly used for instant, espresso, and as a filler in coffee blends due primarily their being much cheaper. Their primary positive benefit is having nearly twice the caffeine. (Also because they are less acid and more bitter than arabica beans, so they can theoretically be used to balance milder beans. But it is almost always really because they are cheaper.)
The interesting thing about robusta beans is they are brown even when they are ‘green’. Arabica beans are a beigey-green before roasting, with considerable variation in colour depending how dry they are. The colour after roasting for both can be deceiving. Looking into this bag I would not qualify it as a light roast, but as the beans were brown to begin with I really cannot guess the roast from appearance; I would have guessed an American Roast.
I have no clue why North Americans assume espresso must be made from burnt black beans and result in a muck whose flavour would wake the dead. “Intense!” “Bracing!” “Bold!” More like a splash of battery acid across the tongue as far as the flavour. Compass Espresso subscribes to this stereotype, alas, even though it is far from the usual smouldering remains sold as custom roasts.
So this will be relegated to coarse grinds for the presses, to flavour milk. And I will continue my quest for the barely-roasted beans of my dreams, which produce a light brew which wakes me gently and does not require taming of its bitterness with heavy doses of dairy.