Sidecar Coffee Roasters – Apr 2014 Coffee Review

We came to find Sidecar Coffee Roasters (, Cedar Falls IA, thanks to our community of readers. YDCS is taking our tastings in several different directions. We asked the readers which states they were from (“State of Confusion” doesn’t count), and would they tell us about their preferred roaster, OR if they don’t have one, would they like us to help them find one? The response was HUGE, especially from the people on Instagram.

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We ordered three coffees from Sidecar Coffee Roasters; their Kenya Kabare, Kick-Start Espresso, and the Papua New Guinea Kunjin ( What you may not know about our coffee tasting process is that we always order 2-3 different 1-pound bags at a time. We expect that the product will be solid, but we want to tell a particular story of one from the grouping. We also have begun performing group tastings to get a more well-rounded opinion of the coffee we taste.

The coffee arrived from Sidecar Coffee Roasters just 3-4 days after our order. We love when roasters stamp the roast date onto the bags. A roasted-to-order coffee delivered within 72 hours of the roasting is really a treat that you should let your palate experience. The espresso was a lighter roast than we expected (just past medium), but after we spoke with Jed at Sidecar Coffee Roasters, any preconceived notions were quickly put to bed. We kept the Kick-Start espresso in-house, and it was very good. The crema we extracted was citrusy and solid. We also kept the Kenya Kabare back, and let the group focus on the Papua New Guinea. The Kenya was also a solid coffee, and I prefer African single origins anyway…so yeah.

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The Papua New Guinea Kunjin from Sidecar Coffee Roasters is beautiful; delicately roasted just beyond a second crack, and this coffee smelled of candied nuts throughout the entire tasting process. We conducted this test with 7 individuals. Every last one of us experienced the nutty fragrance and taste. Some of us also detected an earthy richness that balanced out the sweetness. The bouquet possessed much more of the sugary side of sweetness. Not overpowering, but so very inviting.

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We conducted the tasting with a French Press, and an AeroPress. With the French Press, we used the following measurements, 6 ounces of water for every 10 grams of coffee. The French Press produced a wonderfully syrupy cup of coffee, potent and sweet. The water temperature was 200 degrees, and brewed over a 4 minute period.

We also used an AeroPress, and used 2 different settings…

The first, an AeroPress standard “espresso shot”. Those measurements turn out to be 20 grams of coffee for 8 ounces of water. 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.

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 Papua New Guinea Kunjin from Sidecar Coffee Roasters.

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So the group enjoyed the coffee brewed both ways, but preferred the AeroPress brew to the French Press. That said, it was split almost down the middle as to whether they wanted the Papua New Guinea from Sidecar Coffee Roasters brewed traditionally or as an Aeropress “espresso shot”. Either way, the group recommends that you check out Sidecar Coffee Roasters. You won’t be disappointed with their coffee.

Special Thanks to Terri, Peg, Evie, Ken, Diane, Erik, and Paul for joining us for this tasting and for their feedback for this review.

– @Chi_Coffee_Guy

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