Coffee cademy

An In-depth Guide to the Profiles in the Coffee Explorer Kit

At Driftaway Coffee, we offer five different taste profiles because there isn’t one perfect way to roast or enjoy every coffee. Our Fruity, Classic, Balanced, Bold and Extra Bold Profiles use different roast levels to showcase a variety of characteristics. This lets us highlight the best parts of coffees from all over the world, and offer customers who have different preferences a range of tastes. Here’s a look at each of our coffee profiles, including where the coffees usually come from, how we roast them and what they normally taste like.

Fruity Profile: Showcasing Origin Characteristics in East African Coffees

Our Fruity Profile is the lightest roast we offer, and as such, showcases the origin characteristics — or terroir — of the coffee. We like to use this with fruit forward and floral coffees and let their natural flavors shine.


Rwanda COOPAC Gishamwana Island – RWO

Almost all of our Fruity Profile coffees come from East Africa:

  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • Burundi
  • Tanzania
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Our very first Fruity Profile coffee was Kenya Nyeria Gatomboya AA. While we’ve had many different Fruity Profile coffees since, we constantly look for ones that are similar to this initial one. Most often, we have coffees with flavors that fall into three broad categories:

  • fruity notes (e.g. citrus, stone fruit, apple, berry, etc.)
  • floral notes (e.g. chamomile, lemongrass, black tea, jasmine, etc.)
  • sweet notes (e.g. brown sugar, vanilla, honey, etc.)

These nuanced and fun flavors truly shine when our Fruity Profile coffees are brewed with a manual pour-over. The control that pour-overs allow maximizes the complexity in the Profile’s flavors.

Classic Profile: Offering a Time-Tested Roast Coffee Drinkers Love

Our Classic Profile is modeled after the traditional roast that many coffee drinkers in the United States have grown to love. When most people think of coffee, this is what they think of. It’s the flavor in coffee ice cream, coffee milk and many people’s mugs of coffee.

This profile is a medium roast. It’s a little darker than our Balanced Profile, but it still lets a coffee’s origin characteristics shine.


Costa Rica La Angostura Tarrazu – COR

We like to use our Classic Profile on coffees from classic coffee-growing countries. The coffees we roast this way come from Central and South America:

  • Brazil
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Colombia

In addition to the processing method, our Classic Profile coffees sometimes also feature abbreviations like “SHB” or “EP.” These are abbreviations that tell us more about how the coffee was grown and processed. For instance, “SHG” stands for “strictly high grown,” and “EP” is short for “European Processed” — which means the beans have been sorted by hand. These abbreviations are usually only used in the Americas, as the coffee industry in the South Pacific and Africa developed differently. Even if producers elsewhere have coffees that are grown or processed the same way, they normally won’t include these particular abbreviations.

(You’ll also find these abbreviations on some Balanced and Bold Profile coffees that come from Central and South America.)

Classic Profile coffees feature lots of mild and sweet flavors. Some predominant ones are:

  • nuts (e.g. walnut, roasted almond, peanut, general nuttiness, etc.)
  • sweets (e.g. toffee, honey, caramel, brown sugar, cane sugar, etc.)
  • chocolates (e.g. dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, cocoa, etc.)

These coffees are extremely versatile, and work well as espresso or drip, and they’re always crowd-pleasers.

Balanced Profile: Bringing Origin and Roast Flavors Together

Our Balanced Profile is a light-medium roast – a little darker than our Fruity Profile. At this roast level, origin characteristics are well balanced with roast flavors. We’ll sometimes describe it as a cross between the Fruity and Classic Profiles.


Nicaragua Mama Mina – NIM

Many of our Balanced Profile coffees come from the same Central and South American countries as our Classic Profile coffees:

  • Peru
  • Nicaragua
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Brazil
  • El Salvador

Because the taste of the Balanced draws both from a coffee’s origin and roast, this Profile has the greatest diversity in flavors. Our Balanced Profile coffees often feature chocolate flavors with bright notes (from perceived acidity). The quintessential Balanced Profile coffee is one from Guatemala, where high altitudes create rich and complex flavors. Some of the general flavors we’ve had in Balanced Coffees include:

  • chocolates (e.g. milk chocolate, cocoa, dark chocolate, etc.)
  • sweets (e.g. caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, etc.)
  • citrus (e.g. lime, grapefruit skin, lemon, etc.)
  • other fruits (e.g. raisin, apple, peach, etc.)
  • other flavors (e.g. cedar, cola, floral, rhubarb, etc.)

Bold Profile: Providing a Rich Body and Bold Flavors

Our Bold Profile is actually a medium-dark roast, and delivers the big body and long finish that some coffee drinkers love.

For this Profile, we select coffees from all over the world, including Peru, Nicaragua, Burundi, Uganda and Papua New Guinea. Because this profile is dominated by roast characteristics, we’re able to use a wide variety of coffees.

Sometimes, these coffee’s origin characteristics are simply well-suited for a dark, strong roast. Other times, we’ve showcased versatile coffees that could otherwise shine as a Fruity or Balanced Profile coffee at a lighter roast.


Guatemala San Pedro La Laguna – GUE

Our Bold Profile often has notes of:

  • Chocolates (e.g. dark chocolate, cocoa, dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, etc.)
  • Sweets (e.g. caramel, maple syrup, dates, toffee, etc.)
  • Other flavors (e.g. orange, raisin, pepper, almond, etc.)

With these flavors and a lot of body, our Bold Profile coffees brew great, rich cups of coffee and excellent espresso.

The Extra Bold Profile is a relative newcomer to the family – at a dark roast level, it’s the darkest we go. We introduced it in response to some Bold Profile fans who asked for a coffee that’s even bolder. So, we decided it was time to explore darker roasts, and have been having a great time experimenting with taking coffees into the truly dark territory.

The longer you roast a coffee at higher temperatures, the more you favor deeper, heavier flavors like smoked caramel or toast, while covering up any nuances that reveal origin, like floral and fruit notes.

For this reason, we can cast the net much wider for the Extra Bold Profile, sourcing from many different areas of the world, such as Burundi, Guatemala, Kenya and Mexico. What matters most is that the coffee can take the heat – poor choices for dark roasts will often taste papery and thin, so we take a lot of care to make sure to choose coffees that can take on those smoky notes while still maintaining sweetness and complexity.

For the first Extra Bold, we selected the Kamira from Ngozi, Burundi, previously featured as a Fruity Profile. At a light roast, it’s a very floral and fruity coffee, but roasted much darker, those flavors disappear and instead it develops some deep and delicious flavors of roast: it had an aroma of baking spices, and tasted like dark chocolate and cola – a perfect fit for this Extra Bold Profile.

Other flavors that fit this Extra Bold Profile:

  • Chocolates (e.g. dark chocolate, cocoa, Baker’s chocolate, etc.)
  • Sweets (e.g. smoked caramel, molasses, toffee, etc.)
  • Other flavors (e.g. winter spices, roasted nuts, cola, etc.)

The Extra Bold will often have an even heavier body than the Bold Profile, and along with these bittersweet flavors, it’s perfect in a French press, as espresso or drip.

Find the Roast Profile(s) You love

If you’re looking for a roast profile you love, try out our coffee Explorer Kit. It includes a selection of each of these roast profiles, so you can see what you think of each. Let us know what one(s) you like, and we’ll gladly send you more.

Scott

Scott is a professional writer for Driftaway Coffee. He worked as a barista for eight years, but today prefers to enjoy his beverages from the other side of the counter. When not drinking Driftaway Coffee, Scott usually has a mug of his own roasted coffee nearby.

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