I've never been to Philadelphia...
but I hear its Always Sunny, and the cheesesteaks are to die for. Yet, apparently the City of Brotherly Love is also the home of the growing coffee company La Colombe. My first experience with their coffee was visiting my sister in Chicago. It was June, it was humid, and I couldn't fathom ordering a hot coffee. I ended up with an iced latte, a rare occurrence for me. I am glad now that I've had the chance to try La Colombe as I'd prefer it, hot and fresh from a La Marzocco.
La Colombe was founded twenty years ago on the principle that, "Americans deserve better coffee". Like many specialty roasters they take great care in sourcing and roasting their coffees. They've also worked on innovating in the industry by developing, testing, and releasing the ever popular Draft Latte. You'll find those on shelves around the country, and even on tap at their cafes.
Out of the two coffees I started with the Nizza blend. When I first cracked it open I noticed that it was roasted quite a bit darker than my usual go-to coffees. There was even a bit of oil on the surface of some of the beans, which is a byproduct of darker roasts. The box listed the flavor notes as "Nutty, Caramel", and the odd addition of "Renowned". I'm not sure what renowned tastes like, but the nutty and caramel flavors come through.
There is a distinct roasty flavor that I tend to shy away from, but it makes a latte reminiscent of those I had in Italy prior to falling into specialty coffee. I did note that one of the regions in this blend is Congo, which is known mostly for the growing of robusta. Which I think is why the espresso itself has very little acidity, and a lingering dark chocolate bitterness, but that classical Italian flavor.
The Fishtown blend was a bit more of what I look for in an espresso blend. The roast is substantially lighter, and it includes an Ethiopian coffee which I always love for their fruity, acidic nature. As a straight espresso the notes of bergamot, caramel, and stonefruit hit your tongue in different places. With milk this coffee turns more into a mixture of caramel and white peach. The sweetness is mild enough to have the coffee come through, and with the texture from the steamed milk its like drinking a warm milk shake.
In the end these are both very different coffees. Even though the Nizza blend isn't one I would recommend to my fellow third wavers, they both have their merits. These coffees are both worth a try, but I'd roll into your local La Colombe cafe before committing to an entire bag. These coffees score a 'Try It' on my rating scale.
Origins: Brazil, Congo, Colombia, Nicaragua
Brew Ratio: 1:2
Grams In: 16
Grams Out: 32
Duration: 22 seconds
Origins: Ethiopia, Brazil, & Colombia
Brew Ratio: 1:2+
Grams In: 17.5
Grams Out: 38
Duration: 26 - 28 seconds