Scarlet City Coffee Roasting

Like sometimes happens when ordering coffee through the internet you end up in a spot where an order doesn't make it to you when you thought it would for one reason or another. In this case I had placed an order, but the roaster was out of that particular coffee so they had to wait if a replacement would be fine, and that is how I found myself this weekend without any coffee. There are others here that will go without for a while, and I do understand why as tomorrow when my order should arrive I will be swiming in coffee, but I also live in a an area with lots of local roasters.

Speaking to the fact that I have lots of local roasters in my area there had been one that I have wanted to try out for a while now, Scarlet City Coffee Roasting out of Oakland CA. The main reason for my interest in this roaster is largely just because at one of the grocery stores that I visit often it's the only coffee that has the roasted date on it, plus there is a variety of little comments from the roaster written on the back just saying thanks for buying the coffee, see below. This is how I ended up with a bag of Warp Drive Espresso.

Before picking up this bag of coffee there was really nothing I knew of this roaster or the head roaster Jen St. Hilaire at all just that it was local and fresh, which is really good enough for me to try out. Upon a little further reading over at the roaster's website,, I have come to find out that Ms St. Hilaire has quite the history in specialty coffee. She begun her career in coffee at Espresso Vivace in 1995 and by the time she left in 1999 was the head roaster/account manager there. Then she turned around and helped Ecco Cafe in Santa Rosa, CA get off the ground until now finally turning to creating her own roasting company in addition to doing consulting work.

Not bad credientials for a roaster!

If you search their site a little you will also find their 'Roasting Philosophy' page and it sounds to be a lot like the Espresso Vivace roasting style. Basically what she says she does is that she is trying to hit that nice middle ground in roasting, where the coffee is not going to be sour from under roasting or bitter from over roasting. And this espresso blend that I got really shows that.

So basically I believe that this Warp Drive espresso is kind of her take on Vita blend by Espresso Vivace. There are a few reasons why I believe this to be the case, the espresso first of all is just like the description on the back of the bag says, "medium/dark" roast, just a few specks of oil on the beans and then it's a chocolate nuanced espresso. I also believe that like Vivace this espresso blend probably has a little bit of high quality robusta in it. I have not confirmed or denied this, but due to the bite that espresso has in milk to easily cut through it and the gobs of crema that it has I would be surprised if it didn't.

It's a real nice blend that like I holds up really well in milk and I think it's something that is lacking in a lot of other espresso blends out there. It also appears to be very easy to pull in my machine, as I have just been dosing at 18 grams at about medium temp and nothing appears to be lacking in the shot.

I would really encourage anyone that is a fan of Espresso Vivace to check out some of her coffee, I have a feeling that her other espresso blend Lightspeed is probably more like Dolce and I shall have to try it sometime in the future.

It should also be noted that Jen St Hilaire is very focused on women's issues in coffee, and tries to support woman owned farms and groups as well. So that is deffinately a plus to see in such a male dominated industry like this one.

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