Free is not free at all!
About a month ago, i was checking my email when I was pleasantly surprised to received an email from SeatleCoffeeGear.com with an awsome coffee coupon. Just on a side note, I subscribed to SeatleCoffeeGear on youtube channel because I love the video review that they do on their equiptments. So I click on the link and added two bags of 12oz coffee to my cart and proceeded to check out. All I had to do was paying a $5 shipping fee. The coffee was from Cafe Umbria which did get a thumb up review from SeatleCoffeeGear youtube channel which was the reason why I even consider getting it. However they did mentioned that the coffee was roasted quite dark but I was not too bother by this because I thought that it would be in no way as dark as starbuck coffee.
About three days later, the two bags of coffee arrived neatly packed inside of a nice USPS flat rate box; kudo to the seatlecoffeegear team for a nice packing and shipping job! I had order two blend, one made specifically for drip type of brewing (Arco Trusso I think was the name of the blend) while the other one is made specifically for espresso (their classical blend I think). In the description on the packaging, they mentioned their inspiration is in Italian type of roast. When I opend the coffee package so that I can put it into a bell jar for storage, I was not pleasantly surprising by the amount of oil that are on the beans plus the roast level, in another word, very very dark; and on top of that, a lot of the beans were fragmented which tell me that most likely, the coffee used was not of high quality specialty grade. The aroma is typical smell of darkly roasted coffee, similar to what you would get from starbuck. I was very disapointed even before making coffee with these beans because of the bad signs just by from observational standpoint.
I did however, went ahead and tried to brew an espresso using my Nuova Simonelli Musica and decided to grind the coffee using my Mazzer Super Jolly. I misjudged the grind setting and ended up choking the machine several times because I have never worked with such a dark blend before. I finally, I did mananged to get a decent looking espresso. No tiger sriping on this one but just a thin layer of crema which is the best that you would expect from a stale coffee. The aroma was approachable but nothing intriguing, the taste was extremely bitter however! I had to add ton of sugar to it and only then It did taste a bit nice.
I ended up using all of these coffee for only large milk drink with ton of sugar added. I needed these for two weeks because I did not have time to roast my own coffee. Also, my father who love dark roasted coffee did say that these taste good to him; he mainly drink espresso with a high quantity of sugar added. So this incidence did teach me a hard less, if it is too good to be true, it probably is! Granted, I only lost $5 dollars in shipping but the coffee was very ordinary and nothing to write home about. Next time, If I'm in a crunch, I would better turn to roaste as I know for sure I would not go wrong!