Looking for a delicious coffee with a purpose? Then your search is over! Julian Coffee is on a mission to brew delicious coffee that doesn’t only taste great, but also goes towards a great cause.
A newer coffee roaster and seller in the coffee market, we got the opportunity to review two single-origin roasts from Julian Coffee, and we were VERY impressed with the quality of the coffee, the company itself, and more.
Meet Julian Coffee: More than A Coffee Roaster
The idea for Julian Coffee was born after a trip to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in 2015. During this expedition, the founder of Julian Coffee, Julian Kimmel, received the opportunity to explore and learn about the coffee industry and history of the island, as well as meet and interact with some of the families who are heavily involved in the cultivation of coffee on the island. It was this trip that inspired Kimmel to create a method to help support these families, as well as promoting the coffee industry in Puerto Rico.
But why is Julian Coffee on a mission to do this in the first place? Historically, Puerto Rico used to stand among the global coffee-production giants, ranking in as the 6th largest coffee cultivator and exporter in the world. Today, the island nation doesn’t even rank amongst the top 50 due to the lack of cultivation and production.
However, upon meeting and seeing the passion behind the Puerto Rican coffee industry, as well as experiencing the rich, delectable coffee produced from the beans grown there, Julian Coffee set out to ensure that Puerto Rican coffee could one day be recognized amongst some of the most highly enjoyed coffees in the world. Over time, this goal also expanded to Fredonia, Columbia and San Luis Esteli, Nicaragua.
Our Brew and review
We got the chance to try out Julian Coffee’s single-origin roasts for ourselves, and we highlighted everything we noticed in this review. For starters, we received two different single-origin coffees to try. Single-origin roasts hold a special place in our hearts because they really allow you to experience the flavors that are unique to the region the coffee is grown in. We got to try Julian Coffee’s Puerto Rican Roast and Columbian Roast for this review.
Adjuntas, Puerto Rico Roast
Julian Coffee has teamed up with a local family, the Melendez family, to collect the coffee beans to make this medium roast. Sourced from the Melendez’s family’s farm specifically, the beans grown in this region, called Adjuntas, are 100% pure Puerto Rican beans grown under the shade of plantain trees at an elevation of about 2,300 feet. The Adjuntas region also has a few flavor traits that are specific to the area, like chocolate, sweet fruitiness, and caramel.
The Melendez family filters through all of the beans, only gathering the ripest, most robust beans to roast. In fact, the family only collects the red, ripe beans to roast instead of also collecting the green, unripe coffee cherries.
As if the coffee itself wasn’t delicious enough, the workers who grow and gather the beans are also paid well-deserved, well-earned U.S. wages, and are actually some of the highest-paid coffee pickers in the world. From the wages to the strong relationships between the roasters and the farmers, this Adjuntas roast is one of the most delicious, high-quality coffees cultivated in Puerto Rico.
What does it taste like?
When it comes to flavor, the Adjuntas roast is PACKED with mouth-watering flavor that will perk you up in the morning and leave your taste buds satisfied. Part of the reason why this flavor is so savory is because only the red, ripe coffee cherries are collected to create this specialty coffee.
In fact, the specific arabica beans that the Melendez family uses are the caturra arabica beans. These beans are roasted to a light-medium roast level, making it a well-balanced, low-acidity roast to enjoy either on it’s own, or paired with creamer/sweetener.
Fredonia, Columbia Roast
Another savory medium ground roast, Julian’s roast from Fredonia, Columbia is grown in the Andes mountains in the region of Antioquia at about 5,400 feet in elevation. Specifically collected from the Acevedo coffee farm near Fredonia, a family-owned and run hacienda, all of the beans for the Fredonia roast are hand-picked and hand-selected, taking out any unripe or mutated beans.
This Columbian roast is made primarily from the red, ripe cherries of the Castillo de Rosario arabica beans. Growing some of the highest quality organic coffee beans possible. Every bag of Fredonia purchased goes towards supporting the farmers and pickers who collect the beans.
what does it taste like?
For starters, this roast is a medium-darker roast, meaning that it’s full of flavor, full-bodied, but still has a well-balanced acidity. With notes of rich, succulent chocolate, the Fredonia roast is low in acidity and isn’t too overwhelming in caffeine content.
In addition, we noticed how flavorful these beans were simply from the fact that they’re grown at such a high elevation. Growing the coffee at an elevation of 5,400 feet is beneficial to the flavor development within the beans themselves–primarily because the elevation forces the beans to produce more amino acids and enzymes as they grow. These acids and enzymes create that “coffee” flavor, and give that extra punch of caffeine that so many people enjoy in their morning cup of joe.
Things We Like
To grind or not to grind?
Though we’re huge advocates of purchasing whole bean coffee to grind at home, we do realize that not every coffee lover has access to a grinder. There are advantages and disadvantages to both whole bean and ground coffee, but you won’t have to worry about those too much with Julian, because you can have it both ways!
Julian offers whole bean as well as ground coffee to accommodate those who can’t grind their own coffee at home, allowing you to choose how manual your grinding/brewing process is.
Of course, we absolutely love the mission behind Julian Coffee’s reason for roasting coffee in the first place. It can be easy to enjoy the coffee itself without necessarily considering the hands who have grown and cultivated it, and Julian’s primary goal is to support the workers who dedicate their time and energy to producing some of the highest quality coffee that money can buy.
We know that it can be easy for coffee roasters to promote quantity over quality when it comes to cultivating coffee, and Julian Coffee’s main concerns are promoting the overall quality of life for their own workers, as well as growing coffee that can add value to the lives of those who drink it. In fact, Julian Coffee even has an overall goal that it’s working towards: financially supporting all of the people who rely on the coffee industry to feed their families.
Catering for cafes
Not only does Julian Coffee sell bags of coffee for those who want to brew at home, but they also offer commercial coffee to roasters as well! If you’re looking to supply your business with a large batch of coffee, you can purchase a 5lb bag of unroasted coffee beans to roast and brew yourself.
We enjoy this option because it’s a method that reinforces Julian Coffee’s mission to promote the coffee culture in smaller-ranking coffee-producing countries. Not to mention that it also allows for roasters to experiment with different roasting techniques and flavor profiles.
Though we didn’t get the chance to review these ourselves, Julian Coffee actually does offer options for the coffee lovers who primarily brew with Keurigs! Offering K-Cup options for it’s Puerto Rican, Columbian, and Nicaraguan roasts, Julian Coffee sells 24-packs of these cups to allow consumers the luxury of enjoying Julian’s single-origin coffee at the simple push of a button: no extra grinding or brewing stress included.
Things to improve
The Grind Size availability
One critique that we’ve seen regarding Julian Coffee doesn’t necessarily address the flavor or freshness of the coffee itself, but the size of the ground coffee. When ordering a bag of ground Julian Coffee, there’s no way to select how fine or how coarse you’d like the grind to be, so Julian just keeps things simple with a medium-sized grind: not too fine, not too coarse.
This is another reason why we recommend having a coffee grinder to have more control over the size of the grind, and which brewing methods you can utilize for each size.
More Single-Origin Options
Another thing that would take Julian Coffee from good to great is having more explicitly single-origin option to choose from instead of just a Puerto Rican, Columbian roast, and Nicaraguan roast. Though both of these roasts are spectacular, it would offer consumers another reason to invest themselves into Julian Coffee, especially coffee drinkers who are wanting to expand their palate towards more single-origin coffees.
Julian Coffee has already created a simple yet effective way to bring more awareness and attention to these three coffee-production countries by exclusively roasting single-origin coffees. Through selecting specific areas/regions in each country, the individual flavors within the coffee will speak for themselves as far as identifying the unique qualities of each region.
Brewing Tips & Tricks
After we took a second to analyze our list of things we enjoy and minor things that could be improved, we thought it would be helpful to list out a few pointers when it comes to brewing with Julian Coffee. These are a few things we recommend with Julian specifically, as well with single-origin coffee brands in general.
Tip #1: whole Beans, Wholesome Flavor
We recommend purchasing single-origin coffee in whole bean form if possible. Not only is whole bean coffee fresher, but that freshness will last longer and preserve better in comparison to ground coffee.
Since Julian Coffee has unique flavor profiles from the specific regions that the beans are grown in, we recommend purchasing whole bean coffee from Julian so that those unique yet subtle flavor differences can be preserved.
Tip #2: Brewing for the best flavors
To really enjoy the specific flavors within single-origin coffee, it’s important to choose your brewing method carefully to best highlight those unique flavors within the beans. The slower, longer brewing processes will best extract these flavor profiles, such as a pour-over, french press, and cold-brewing options.
If you have a grinder at home and can purchase Julian Coffee in whole bean form, then you should have an incredible amount of flexibility and accessibility when it comes to trying new brewing methods and experimenting with how those different methods bring out the inner flavors in each single-origin roast.
Julian Coffee is a fantastic option for the coffee lover who is looking to begin expanding and maturing their coffee palate. Since Julian primarily sells single-origin coffee from only three regions, coffee lovers can begin to taste, categorize, and understand the different notes of flavors that result from coffee beans grown in different regions through different cultivation and processing methods.
From cultivation, to care for their workers, to the finished coffee brewed into your cup, Julian Coffee takes great care to ensure that each bag of coffee collected and roasted leaves you craving a second cup with every sip.