- Five pound bag of whole bean coffee.
- A smooth and full-bodied shot, rich and creamy with notes of dark chocolate and hints of spice.
- USDA Organic; Fair Trade; Shade Grown for bird safety; Kosher
- Air vaccuum packaging to ensure freshness.
- Slow-roasted in our green-o-vated beanplant in Raleigh, NC.
Hard to find excellent decaf beans on Amazon.
I purchased these when there was a deal a few weeks ago, and have been brewing both espresso and drip coffee with them and a caffeinated variety by the same company. This review is for the Larry’s Beans Fair Trade Organic Decaf Espresso.
The first thing to say about Larry’s Beans is that they are all packaged quite well in individual boxes which contain the air-tight bag of beans. This makes them easy to stack in a warehouse, and also prevents warehouse employees from inadvertently slicing open the bag when unloading a crate or larger package.
When I received the beans, I immediately fished out some freezer bags and prepared to portion out the beans. I opened the sealed bag and the beans smelled OK; the smell wasn’t overpowering but it was not what I would consider “gourmet.” It’s not old or musty smelling like some of the other “gourmet” decaf bean roasters represented here on Amazon, but it’s also not top shelf.
Although the beans are evenly roasted, I would definitely not call it Espresso roast. The roast is more reminiscent of a mild breakfast roast – medium brown, not the dark black I expect when I think of espresso. Also, the beans are very small – clearly not a premium batch of beans. I expect a “gourmet” bean to accurately represent the style of roast, and for the beans to be large, although uniform in size. Neither were the case with these beans.
When portioning the beans into 1lb freezer bags, I found that the beans really aren’t oily at all. I surmise that this has to be due to the water process used to decaffeinate the beans, although I don’t know this to be a fact. I expect a “gourmet” bean to be oily enough to leave a clear film on the inside of the freezer bags I package them in, and this didn’t accomplish that feat.
As you can see, the initial impressions of the look and smell of the beans were only mediocre, not outstanding like the price should suggest. Now, on to the flavor.
Fresh out of the 5lb bag, I hand-ground enough of the beans for a couple of shots of espresso. Yes, I have a counter-mounted hand grinder that can also be used to make flour from grains! Anyway, I ran the ground coffee through my pump espresso maker, and what came out the other side had no crema, although the shots themselves didn’t taste horrible. The flavor was reminiscent of unsweetened cocoa, with astringent, grapeskin-like qualities that struck me as quite bitter for the mild roast.
I have since made pots of drip decaf with this bean, and combined it with a caffeinated version from Larry’s Beans, and it’s passable (carried by the excellent quality of the caffeinated beans, I’m sure), although still not what I would consider worth the price. I haven’t found any excellent decaf beans on Amazon, yet, so I will move on to another variety once this batch is gone.
I won’t drink anything else
Good tasting decaf
– good crema
– good taste
– water processed decaf
The decaf espresso’s at Amazon seem to come and go. Everytime I try to reorder one they don’t seem to carry it anymore. That being said, I’ve tried a lot of decaf espressos. Larry’s has a great taste and uses a water process for deaffeination (which I prefer over the other chemical processes). Why decaf? Well I drink a few quad lattes a day (love the taste) and the caffeine starts getting to me. I mix regular espresso beans with decaf espresso beans to create a half and half mixture. I have also found the Larry’s regular espresso to be a good tasting product.