Notting Hill Coffee Roasters Review – May 2014

We found Notting Hill Coffee Roasters ( through one of our IG readers. She mentioned that she was from Delaware and would like to know more about roasters and coffee in her home state. We ordered 2 different 1 pound bags of coffee from Notting Hill Coffee Roasters. The first was an Ethipioan Mocha Harrar (, and the second, a Burundi – Dark. I tasted both coffees, and brought the Harrar to our public tasting; this time at Berry Yo in Arlington Heights, IL.

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We found the experience navigating the Notting Hill Coffee Roasters website to be a little confusing at first. After looking through and finding the Country of Origin page (, we found enough single origin options to choose from. We were thrilled to see that they had our favorite coffee, an Ethiopian Harrar, and at a reasonable price, $13.99 for a pound. The hand written thank you on the invoice was also a nice touch.

We conducted the tasting of the Ethiopian Mocha Harrar from Notting Hill Coffee Roasters with a French Press, as well an AeroPress. With the French Press, we used the following measurements, 6 ounces of water for every 10 grams of coffee (a total of 30 ounces of water and 50 grams of coffee). The water temperature was 200 degrees, and brewed over a 4 minute period (including plunging). Of note, and we will cover this in detail later, both coffees were dark roasts.

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The second is a conversion of the traditional formula. If 10 grams of coffee is used for 6 ounces of water, then 13.333 grams of coffee is used for 8 ounces of water. The AeroPress produces an 8 ounce cup of coffee. The temperature of the water was still 184 degrees to brew the Ethiopian Mocha Harrar from Notting Hill Coffee Roasters. We stirred for 20 seconds and steeped for another 20 seconds, and pressed over a 23 second period. The water temperature was set to 184 degrees. The darker African coffees respond very well to higher temps in the AeroPress. As a point of information, the AeroPress recommends a temperature range of 175-185 degrees depending on the coffee.

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So here is an up-close photo of the Ethiopian Mocha Harrar from Notting Hill Coffee Roasters. It is just past the Medium-Full, and approaching the Full Roast spectrum. We all look for something different in our coffees, and every roaster has a different philosophy in what they try to bring out of their beans. These beans look beautiful and oily, but the darker roast is just a little too much. It masked most of this coffee’s natural scents and flavors. Harrar is known for its blueberry notes (An aside, many African coffees have fruity notes). Unfortunately, the char from the roast took over and smoked out all of the undertones. It would be wonderful to experience these beans in a slightly lighter roast.

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With this close-up photo of the ground Ethiopian Harrar from Notting Hill Coffee Roasters, you can see the darker tones on the coffee grinds.

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The entire panel preferred the AeroPress version of this coffee. The French Press was just too overwhelming in palate for this coffee as it was roasted. We were able to pull just the faintest hint of blueberry on the AeroPress. It was a good, but not great, cup of coffee. We would be interested to see what happens if they lighten up the roast on this coffee slightly.

Special thanks to George C, Pamela W, Allyson J, Bob K, and Sheila H, and the team at Berry Yo for helping us out with this review and sharing a great coffee talk experience.


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