Tugboat Coffee – Feb 2014 Coffee Review

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So Christmas came in February this year… We arrived home from a day out and about to find an unexpected shipment from Tugboat Coffee (http://www.tugboatcoffee.com/) on our door this week. Another local roaster in the Chicago market; they launched in 2013 and are based in Addison, IL. We actually met Erik Barkley several weeks ago while in a local coffeehouse, and he followed up with us before we could reach out to him. While trading emails to discuss this review, he invited YDCS to meet him at the Tugboat Coffee roastery, and have coffeetalk.

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Tugboat uses a Probat roaster that has been modified, and can handle up to 25 pounds of coffee at any one time. In addition to owning Tugboat, Erik is also the Master Roaster, carefully selecting all coffees for his young company. They only keep 10 barrels of green coffee beans on the floor, representing Africa, Indonesia, Central and South America.

Tugboat shipped us an Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (http://www.tugboatcoffee.com/#!product/prd1/770897391/fair-trade-organic-ethiopian-yirgacheffe), and that is what we will review. At $14.50 for a 16 oz bag, and a flat $5.00 shipping for all orders (no matter how much you order at once) Tugboat prices their coffee very competitively.

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When we opened the bag for the first time, immediate scents of cherry greeted us, followed by subtle spice and butter notes. The more that we lingered over the bag throughout the tasting, the cherry took on an almost candied scent, like maraschino cherries; Sweet, but not overbearing.

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A medium roast to a beautiful and almost peaberry coffee bean, the oils were present, but not dominant. It was a slightly darker color than a cinnamon roast.

When ground, the Yirgacheffe from Tugboat Coffee took on a dark chocolate scent, alluring and strong. Our mouths were watering from just smelling the dry grinds prior to roasting.

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We tasted this coffee using a variable temperature electric v60 kettle and pour over station. Brewed on a fine setting, and at 198 degrees, we tasted 2 different cups at 20 grams of coffee and 12 ounces of water each.

During the tasting, fruit notes took over, with blackberry and currant highlights. It was medium-bodied, well-balanced, and clean tasting. It didn’t linger on your palate, which only made us want to keep drinking. The Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from Tugboat Coffee almost invited you to keep drinking and drinking.

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Of particular note, even though we brewed this using a paper filter, a good portion of the oils translated through into the cup. That was a very pleasant surprise, adding an unexpectedly fuller taste to the coffee.

We are fans of all coffee here at Your Daily Coffee Shot, but we are partial to African coffees. This Yirgacheffe could easily become a staple. Kudos to Tugboat Coffee for creating this gem and delivering their product and service at a reasonable price for caffeine addicts and coffee lovers.

Special thanks to Mr. Dan Lancaster for joining YDCS for this tasting and review.


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