I was allowed to test and vote!
Everything was packed for the vacation and we were just about to leave, when the postwoman puts the latest issue of the crema magazine in my mailbox. Perfect timing, because as a passenger you have plenty of time on a road trip through Europe. On page 26, I’m already on the top topic of the issue: Espresso of the year 2020 – readers’ choice crema. The first 150 crema readers who register are allowed to participate. The last few years I’ve always been late. That should finally be different this time. I have ordered the package with the six best-placed espressi from the last 12 months from the crema section “Bohnen, die lohnen” for € 35 plus shipping costs and I can vote on the best espresso in 2020. Just the description of the coffees was mouth watering, like: Colombian coffee beans – strawberry explosion with a hint of cassis and a sweet finish with a little vanilla; or full body with blood orange, jasmine and a little raspberry, followed by chocolate and praline.
So while others are rather sad at the end of their vacation, I was full of anticipation for 6 x 250 g espresso pleasure. My espresso machine, the evaluation sheet and a pen were ready: because every coffee should meet the criteria: appearance of the beans, sensory characteristics of the beans, espresso crema, espresso sensory characteristics, espresso aromas and espresso taste with points between 1 (bad) and 10 (such a coffee can only be created by God himself) be evaluated.
So here is my top 6. In the summary below you will also find out which espresso the crema readers have chosen.
My No. 6: Otto
When I read through the description of the points to be awarded, I assumed that none of the six best coffees of a year could even get less than 6 points. Especially not when you read through the funny descriptions, like 5 (enough to pass as espresso), 4 (yes, looks like espresso) 3.5 (from here it gets less nice), 2 (brewing water), 1.5 (Is that art or can it go away). I was wrong – this espresso must have been smuggled in by the crema team to ensure that the evaluation forms are actually filled out after a tasting. On average, the espresso received 3 points from me (hopefully my machine will forgive me for that). It is the darkest roasted test coffee. The packaging says nothing about the origin of the beans. I only gave 1 point for the espresso aroma and the taste – Sorry, the espresso smells burnt and is really inedible. I hope one of my neighbors will have mercy. NEXT
My No. 5: Autostrada
The coffee comes in aluminum-free plastic packaging, but unfortunately you cannot reseal the bag. The beans come from Brazil, India and Uganda. When I hear the name, I inevitably think of the espresso you get at Italian motorway rest stops. The crema is good and in fact that’s the full load of Autostrada. The espresso gets an extra point from me for making me smile. Viva Italia! Anyone who likes dark Italian roasts and likes to drink their very strong bitter espresso with sugar will be happy with this coffee. Personally, I think a good espresso has to taste without sugar and not be bitter. It tastes nutty and chocolaty – but it’s dark chocolate;) Works as a mochaccino base or in combination with cream.
My No. 4: Romeo
The packaging makes you want to open it. Beans from Indonesia, Cuba, Rwanda and Guatemala of various listed varieties. Unfortunately, the packaging cannot just be put down and resealed. The name Romeo also promises an Italian espresso. When I open the bag and see beans that are slightly oily, I’m a little scared. But I have to say, the beans smell good, make a fine-pored crema (best crema in the test) and the espresso tastes good. For this it received an average of 7 points from me (good espresso with slight deductions). I would have liked a slightly lighter roast. Then maybe I would have tasted more of the indicated fruity plum aroma. However, the coffee is definitely caramel notes and I can taste light tobacco notes from the Cuban beans. After the espresso you definitely have your eyes open. I am wondering how Julia von Caroma tastes.
My No. 3: Huehuetenango
Roastery: Turm Kaffee
I tested the coffee from Guatemala first because I like single origin coffees and the black paper coffee bag just looks like a typical 3rd wave roastery. There is very detailed information about the coffee and the bag is resealable. The beans look great, smell very chocolate, the crema looks great and the espresso tastes very full-bodied chocolate. Tastes good pure and in combination with milk. Even if I’m a big chocolate fan, I miss soemthing unique to become the espresso of the year.
My No. 2: Hansebrand
Roastery: Union Kaffee
Almost on par with No. 3 is a balanced classic espresso blend from Brazil, Sumatra and India. The beans are vigorously roasted, have a good crema and you get a full load of chocolate. Works straight as an espresso and has enough power for a cappuccino or a glass of latte macchiato. There are deduction points from me for the non-resealable packaging and no information about the Arabica varieties, farms or coffee processing.
My No. 1: El Paraiso
Roastery: Hoppenworth & Ploch
In fact, the second coffee in my test. I was accordingly sad that the four other test coffees no longer tickled my taste buds. This coffee really has a lot: a resealable packaging with an aroma valve and lots of information about the coffee. The beans are the lightest roasted of all in the test, smell very interesting and the espresso keeps what the description in the crema promises; it is a taste bomb with many different flavors such as strawberry, cassis and vanilla. I also like to drink a second and third cup of this coffee. No doubt – this is my number 1!
The winner is …
If you don’t have the crema magazine at home, you are probably wondering which espresso actually won. I was curious about that for a few weeks. Then the magazine finally lands in my mailbox and I can write this last paragraph. So out of sheer curiosity I turn to pages 26/27 to see which coffee won and, above all, how my number 6 performed. I was more than surprised. The placements are almost in reverse order !!! Autostrada (my No. 5) won, followed by Otto (my No. 6), Romeo (my No. 4), then Huehuetenango (my No. 3), followed by Otto (my No. 6), and Hansebrand (mine No. 2) and in last place is my winning coffee El Paraiso.
How can that be? Admittedly, compared to my very different ratings, all coffees in the crema are very close to each other with an average of 7.05 – 7.52 points, but there are clear differences in quality. While at Hoppenworth & Ploch a team around Kilian Seger, the German roasting master of 2018, roast coffee, Dinzler rather roasts to a larger mass. Well, such roasters are obviously more likely to appeal to crema readers than award-winning specialty coffee roasters.
My conclusion: It was interesting to have tested it once. But for the price and for the fact that I have already drunk significantly better coffees at various coffee roasters in Germany, I would not take part again.