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Caracolillo Coffee Mills "House Blend 1"

July 16, 2006
Bob Yellin

This coffee was roasted, cupped blind twice, as described below, and rested for about 12 hours prior to formal cupping. Then it was rested a minimum of 2 more days prior to brewing and pulling espresso shots. For more information on my sample roaster and method, see our reference page.

This coffee is a blend from Caracolillo Coffee Mills, Inc. (CCM), a third generation, family-owned-and-operated business founded in 1936 and based in Tampa, Florida. They call these beans their "House Blend 1", say that it's their number one seller, and other than stating that it is blended from 100% Arabica beans, there's no other origin information available. They say that it is designed for a lighter "American" or Vienna roast level so although those two roast levels are quite different from one another, as I understand them, I roasted the beans twice, once to a point between 1st and 2nd crack, (my understanding of "American") and to a "light Vienna" level just up to 2nd crack to produce a very slight amount of oil on the surface of the beans after a day or two of rest.

I must admit that I was surprised at the high quality of the lighter roast. When asked to cup this coffee for a company that claims to have "the lowest prices on the Internet", my expectations were not high and I was ready for anything! But I cupped the coffee against two other excellent Centrals, a Costa Rican and a Mexican and then again against a fine Panamanian coffee and this blend showed itself to be a high quality, very respectable submission.

There's nothing unique or extraordinary here and that is just exactly what this coffee is purported to be - a good tasting, aromatic house blend, reminiscent of a mild Central or South American coffee. Its dry aroma is sweet and classic and those qualities transfer accurately to the cup. It's well balanced with coconut and caramel flavors, some toasted hazelnut, and a small portion of citrus for highlights. It has medium body and adequate acidity for milk drinks.

I didn't care for the darker roast. At that level, it turns a bit woody with some slight bitterness and some of the sweetness is lost. This was readily apparent when I tried it as a straight-shot espresso. But then, I don't think that this coffee was designed as an espresso blend so that's neither here nor there. In general, this is a very pleasant coffee to use as a house blend when the neighbors drop by for a cup.

Dry fragrance: 4.1
Wet Aroma: 4.2
Flavor: 7.5
Finish: 7.5
Acidity: 7.4
Body: 7.6
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 88.3

  • Lighter Roasts: Recommended. At this level the cup is very pleasant and classic.
  • Darker Roasts: At Full City, it becomes more woody and slighlly bitter - not recommended.
  • As Espresso: This is not an espresso blend.


UPDATED: July 16, 2006