This is the next round of Level Ground coffee review, last time their Columbia coffee was a surprise. This time I have a bag of Bolivia whole bean and will it be equally be surprisingly good or bad?
Since the last review, I’ve done some researches on Level Ground Trading as they are marketing the products as “local” in grocery stores and places like Ten Thousand Villages around Vancouver.
These folks in Victoria work with smaller farmers/co-op around the world and promote fair and ethical trading. The company attempts to adhere to the highest level of green initiative of “reduce, reuse and recycle” to minimize their impact to earth. While all these are great, what makes Level Ground so memorable to me is the transparency – they published their purchase order on their site for the public to see; so now I know how much of my bag of Bolivian coffee will go to the farmer and the community. 👍 I can’t give enough thumbs up for the effort and that really means something to me.
Anyways… this is not an advert for Level Ground 😉
This bag of Bolivia coffee is a medium roast; upon opening the bag, I cannot detect anything out of the ordinary, the beans are equally sized and roasted in light/medium brown. There are a few broken pieces at the bottom, otherwise the beans are mostly dry and not oily. Overall, there are almost no defects and this is specialty coffee (grade 1) grade in my opinion.
The beans go through usual batteries of my burr grinder at setting 6.5, Aeropress and the Gooseneck kettle. The ground to water ratio today is 1:10, meaning I am using 20g of ground for 200g of hot water. I am using the reverse Aeropress with a metal filter for a full immersive brewing over a 90 sec timer.
The crema bubbles up as soon as the reaction started to happen, this is a good indication the freshness of the beans. Even at the pre-infusing stage, a dark chocolate-like smell is noticeable; as I am filling up to 200g mark, that chocolate smell is joining a lighter, citric aroma. (did I over/under extract and it turns sour??? 🤔)
When the timer is up, and I press down on the plunger – this dark brownish cup of liquid will be the subject of tasting today.
Without a doubt, this is a nice cup of Joe. It smells great with strong scent of dark chocolate with a hint of citrus. But.. this is similar to the profiles from the Columbian I tested? After the first few sip, I can tell there is a subtle difference. The Bolivia is not as bold/strong compare to Columbia. It is lighter in general and the citrus is more apparent. It is slightly more of the fruity/citrus end, and I can imagine it can turn sour easily if not prepped properly 😒. On a side note, both Columbia and Bolivia are well balanced and have a light chocolatey after taste in the mouth.
I have to confirm with Level Ground on this… I think Level Ground is designing its coffees with a dominant chocolate/caramel profile as their base (more popular??). Depending on the region and roast, there are different levels of boldness and “local specialties” from that area or processing/washing to add to the base. This is like adding local seasoning and cooking methods to a common dish that results in something completely different.
As a smaller producer, I think this is a great strategy so that the coffee is able to be marketed to the general public (ie. people love Sumatra) and will not be too distinct that would upset some people. Nonetheless, I have a good idea of the flavor profiles from many coffee producing regions and this coffee does not upset me. While there is nothing wrong being consistent, but I hope to taste something completely new in the future.
I would give this a 9/10 because it is a lighter cup over the Columbia. I am enjoying the Bolivia as much as the Columbia as my daily morning routine.
I just received a bag of Level Ground Tanzania whole bean and stay tune for my next review on that.