As an industry legend, and pioneer…
George Howell began the coffee company that would take on his namesake in 2004. By this time he had already been in the industry since 1974. George sold his first café, The Coffee Connection, along with its other 23 locations, to Starbucks in 1994.
As a visionary in the industry of specialty coffee George Howell was an early adopter of direct trade practices, developing relationships with farmers, financed the first refractometer, and co-founded the Cup of Excellence. This is just a small cross-section of his long, and very impressive coffee resume.
Yet, without further fanfare, lets get to the coffee. I’ve been looking forward to George’s residency at the La Marzocco Café all year, and I felt like a kid on Christmas when they arrived. The bag design is clean and classy. It shows intention, and attention to detail, but doesn’t take away from the coffee. The smell from the bags is what really shines. George Howell sent two different bags, Alchemy, an espresso blend featuring four different origins, and a single origin from Kirinyaga, Kenya.
I decided to start with the Alchemy blend. Straight from the bag it smelled like milk chocolate, only to become even sweeter when ground. The espresso tasted perfectly developed and with a round, smooth body. The notes of chocolate shown through with a slight fruity note I couldn't quite place. The mouthfeel was sticky, like syrup and the pleasant sweetness lingered after each sip.
The Kenya single origin was bright and juicy with notes of plum and dark cherry. I found pulling it a bit longer made the espresso less acidic, but also maintained the unique punchy notes you'd expect from a single origin espresso. With milk this espresso became very sweet, with the cherry notes becoming more of a candy-like flavor.
In the end both espressos were phenomenal. From the bag design, all the way to the flavor. They are extremely drinkable, work well with milk, and stand alone very well. On my rating scale both of these coffees from George Howell score an easy 'Stock It'. Every coffee lover, and even the casual sipper, could appreciate these espressos in any form. Go get you some!
Origins: Costa Rica, Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopia
Brew Ratio: 1:2
Grams In: 18
Grams Out: 38
Duration: 27 - 32 seconds
Origins: Kirinyaga, Kenya
Roast: Medium +
Brew Ratio: 1:2.4
Grams In: 18
Grams Out: 43
Duration:27 - 33 seconds