New Espresso Week: Tandem Coffee Roasters

It's new espresso week; which means it's my favorite part of the week. This week's coffee is brought to you by Tandem Coffee Roasters out of Portland, ME. This is a review of the Time and Temp Espresso blend. As with all my espresso reviews we are looking at how this coffee performs with milk. The reason for this is that by the numbers 60% of coffee sold within coffee shops in the U.S. are espresso based drinks; and a majority of those are milk based. I.E. latte's, cortados and the ever so perfect, cappuccino.

What is a proper cappuccino?

In case you're new to this site I'm going to break down what a proper cappuccino is, and not the drink that you are served at the Green Mermaid. The cappuccino is the drink that tells all. If I walk into a new cafe and I see a variety of sizes offered for the cappuccino then I know I need to find a different coffee shop. When people ask me how to find a good coffee shop, I of course tell them to use the BikeALatte Coffee Shop Finder or look to the menu and see what size they offer the cappuccino. The cappuccino should be one size, 5.1 oz or 150 ml. Now most U.S. cafes using the imperial system will serve a 6oz drink. This should essentially be a 5 or 6 oz latte. That's right no dry foam, no weird rule of thirds. Just a beautifully steamed milk thats foamy creamy and balances perfectly with the espresso. The cap has become the staple in barista competitions as a way to show case your coffee in milk. It also has become my coffee obsession.

The Recipe

As with all new coffee's that I get I start with the more modern normale bordering close to the lungo shot. Which is essentially a 1:2 recipe.

  1. 18.5 grams of coffee
  2. 201 degrees water temp
  3. 26 sec pull
  4. 40 gram beverage

At first taste it didn't really sit well in the milk. The coffee was overly bright and lacked that solid base to give the acidity something to dance on. Thus I pulled another shot and ran it through the refractometer. As you can see by the image on the left I was only extracting 18.8% out of the coffee. I tighten the grind up pushed the pull to 31 secs and got a TDS of 8.9. Which resulted in 20.17%  extraction rate. The coffee became sweeter but still lacked that solid base. Last week we brewed the Anodyne Espresso which had a very solid base but lacked acidity and sweetness. Where I feel the this coffee by Tandem is the opposite; lots of acidity or sweetness without the base. If we were to blend the two we would have quite the coffee.

Pulling Ristretto

  • 18.5 grams of coffee
  • 201 degrees water temp
  • 28 sec pull
  • 22 gram beverage

In order to pull a ristretto I had to push my Baratza Forte as tight as it can go (Mostly because it's time for new burs). But I did end up with a TDS of 15.76 resulting in a 19.42% extraction rate. The ristretto was much better in the cap than the normale\lungo. With a shorter volume shot it did seem to balance the acidity better in milk. This was the recipe that stuck with for the remainder of the coffee. According to Tandem's website the blend is a mixture of Ethiopia Sidamo, Colombia Las Brisas. Both of which produce a more floral taste. Hence the higher acidity and lack of a base. You can find a nice Colombian that can act like your traditional Brazil or Indian base coffee, however this coffee was not that. But when pulled short it made for a very excellent cap, but requires a more delicate touch. Unlike the Anodyne coffee this one doesn't leave a lot of room for error. But when you get it right it creates for an amazing cap.

Humidity Struggles

One issue that affected me really being able to dial this coffee in was the humidity or lack there of here in Colorado. With the coffee coming from a humid climate like Portland, ME; the coffee changed widely over the couple of weeks that I drank it. Even being in an airtight container I was having to redial my shots almost daily. This is definitely one coffee that I would like to enjoy in the cafe with a barista that knows it and nows how to make it shine. Plus any coffee company that has a bicycle theme is def onto something good!

Ordering Info

Ready to step up your espresso game to a more 'barista' level coffee. Click the image to the left or right here ----> Tandem Coffee Roasters

Have a favorite coffee you’d like us to review? Leave a comment below

*Note – We do not receive these coffee’s for free nor are we asked to review them. We pay full price and receive no kick back if you decide to buy them yourself. But if you would like to tell the roaster you heard about it from us it would be greatly appreciated.