First off, I bought this coffee with my own money, I am not being compensated for my time. The prep products I feature are ones that I also purchased.
I tried the coffee two ways, normally brewed and cold brewed. I purchased the coffee whole bean, not ground. Here’s how I prepared it:
I purchased the beans whole and ground them immediately before brewing. The water was heated in an electric kettle. The fresh-ground beans were added to a french press, and just-under-boiling water was added on top of the grounds. This was allowed to brew for between 4 and 6 minutes (I shot for 5 exactly, but 30 seconds can get away from you here and there) before being poured into a mug or thermos.
For the cold brew, I ground twice the amount of beans for the same amount of water, but the water was unheated. Once the grounds were added, it was capped off and placed in the fridge for 24 hours. I always tasted them unaltered, but put varying amounts of 2% milk and Splenda sweetener in them. Something about cold brew just begs to doctored a little. Maybe it’s just me.
I tried them in the following order
Day 1 & 2 – Medium, hot brewed then cold
Day 3 & 4 – Dark, hot brewed then cold
Day 5 & 6 – French Vanilla, hot brewed then cold
Day 7 & 8 – Maple Bacon, hot brewed then cold
Day 9 & 10 – French Toast, hot brewed then cold
Day 11 – French Toast, hot (I’ll explain below)
First off: Medium and Dark Roast
*I never want to be as relaxed as that skeleton looks
Why did I buy the normal, standard roasts when the whole thing that caught my eye was the flavored coffees? Because I’m a believer in having a point of reference. In science, it’s called having a control group. If I try a flavor and there is an aspect of it that I find unpalatable, is that a part of the flavor or of the base coffee? Without a point of reference, I have no idea. Now, onto the tasting notes.
The Medium Roast was good. I consider it about the same as Black Rifle’s AK-47 roast, which is not an insult. If you can tell the difference between Folger’s and higher quality coffee, you should be able to appreciate this. Not a lot to say about it, it’s just good.
The Dark Roast was much the same as the Medium, just darker and more ‘roast-y’ in flavor. I’m personally a fan of these flavor aspects, so I enjoyed it more than the Medium.
Next: French Vanilla
*My hand grinder is on the left, a small stainless coffee cup on the right, with my 16 oz travel mug behind it
The French Vanilla was purchased for much the same reason as the Medium & Dark Roasts. Vanilla is a vary basic, simple flavor, easy to produce and easy to discern, another point of reference.
The normal brew was a little disappointing. It just tasted like the medium. It smelled great, but there wasn’t much vanilla in the taste. I’m glad that I decided to clod brew all these flavors, because the cold brewed French Vanilla actually had some vanilla flavor to it. Add a little sweetener and a touch of milk, and it more than made up for my earlier disappointment.
Up Next: Maple Bacon
*pic taken on a potato, probably a Russet, based on the color filter
I purchased this flavor because on the Bones Coffee website, this one is listed as their best flavor. I’m not one to follow the crowd and go with the flow just because everyone is doing it, but I do want to know what they know.
The hot brew was not as disappointing as the French Vanilla hot, I could actually taste a difference between it and and the plain medium roast. I can see why this is the most popular flavor, it lacked a certain sharpness that the previous three roasts (and most coffee, to be honest) had. That was probably more from the ‘maple’ than the ‘bacon’. Then again, maybe it’s popular due to the label and the name, more than any real taste. As with the French Vanilla, the cold brew revealed much more of the flavoring than the hot. Even with more of the Maple Bacon flavor on display, I could tell that this won’t be my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, it was as good or better than the vanilla, but it just didn’t hit me as the best that Bones could make. I do recommend getting it if you were to get a sample pack, though. This one did have the best smell of the 5, for sure.
Finally: French Toast
*Never trust a skinny chef
Why did I get this flavor? I was drawn in by S’Morey Time and convinced by Jacked O’Lantern but, as you can probably tell, I didn’t get either of those flavors. There are good reasons for the other 4 flavors, benchmarks and the crowd favorite, but on this 5th and final flavor, the one I have complete freedom to get what I want, what did I get? French Toast. Why? Because I’m an idiot. When I was selecting flavors for my 5-pack sampler I saw this one. As I was scrolling through the site, looking at the flavors, I lost my way and kind of forgot what had brought me there. This is what I ended up with.
Why did I try this one 3 days in a row where as I only did the others 2 days? Because when I was grinding the beans for this flavor’s hot brew, I screwed up and made a really weak batch. I could taste the flavor of the coffee, but I had deviated from the process I used to test all the other flavors and to not re-do this flavor would invalidate the whole process.
I will say this, though: French Toast has the most discernible flavor of the three. Even when hot brewed, the french toast flavoring slips through. It really remind me of French Toast Crunch cereal. Yep, this stuff. I’d actually call this one a success. Not that the other flavors aren’t good, or that I didn’t like any of the other ones, but this one seems to really taste like what it’s supposed to the most. I won’t be purchasing a full 16 oz bag of this flavor, but I’m glad that I stumbled into it. Not the greatest smell, but that’s only because the other flavors are incredible. French Toast smell >>> Pretty much any other company’s coffee.
Basically, it comes to this: Bones Coffee Co. roasts good coffee. Period. They roast it as you order it. None of the coffee is roasted and sitting on a shelf for a week, or a month, or even a day waiting to be ordered. You order it, then they roast it, then it ships to you. If you want to buy some good, quality coffee, Bones is a solid choice. If you want to get goofy and order some wacky flavors, that’s kind of their specialty.
Will I be buying more of their coffee? Yes. I plan on getting another 5 pack soon.