It’s the morning after thanksgiving and what more is there to be thankful for than a strong cup of joe. Whether it’s to fuel for a big day on the job or knock the corners off the wheel of the day from a few too many juice boxes at the family gathering… I think we can all agree that coffee is something that we are thankful for today.
This week I’m choosing a coffee that’s close to home (literally). I have a long list of coffee’s I need to get to, but something felt right about reviewing a local favorite. The first coffee I'm putting on the map comes from Roy’s Bakery - partnered with Keweenaw Coffee Works - located way up here in Houghton, MI.
The Roy’s Black and Tan coffee.
This coffee is a South American and Indonesia dark and medium roasted blend. Spicy with dark cocoa notes... That’s just what it says on the packaging. We are not really here for the flavor as much as we are the experience, but it is nice to know what we are getting ourselves into.
As I walk through this review remember. I know nothing. These are my opinions about my personal experience with the brew and you should get out and find out for yourself. Or just trust me and save yourselves some time.
Let’s get started.
For any references to the rating system please refer back to the original post: https://www.nickgedda.com/post/the-roastery
Welcome to The Roastery:
*coffee can reach a maximum point possibility of 44 points*
Phase 1: Packaging
Let’s start with the size of the packaging. Now if you are a person who is on the go from place to place or likes to get lost out in the woods the size of this packaging is perfect. The Black and Tan fits perfectly in your hand and could easily be stored in a backpack. Huge on the gripability and storage scale. The downfall is this coffee comes in a smaller bag which means it’s not your typical long term kitchen coffee. Maybe it would last you a week if you're serious. But as stated. If you are traveling or needed it for the weekend camping brew, then the amount allotted is perfect. This packaging size gets a 2 out of 3.
The Black and Tan comes in a brown paper bag. Not usually my preferred method of coffee packaging, but honestly this coffee feels great when you grab it off the shelf. The only question I have is the durability of the material and the ability to withstand any time in an accidental run in with water. For this coffee I'm willing to put functionality aside because the in hand feel is top notch. 3 out 3 points for texture.
The freshness seal:
The Black and Tan comes pretty tightly sealed. No complaints here. 3 out of 3.
I know I expressed concerns with the amount of coffee this packaging style holds. However, the coffee is really packed in there. This is about as dense as you could get a bag so there was no potential left on the table. Basically the exact opposite of a bag of chips. A small but heavy bag that I would be impressed by at any time, and is probably why it provides such a great in hand experience. 3 out of 3.
The ease of openness:
This is where things got a little hairy. Sure the coffee was fresh and sealed tightly, but it was a real pain in the rump to open. If you’re a little rocky in the morning and crawling to the coffee pot to get the day rolling, this is not a coffee you want to pick a fresh bag of to start the day.
You want to open it without compromising the reseal of the bag, so you have to be gentle enough not to rip it yet still aggressive enough to get the seal open. Sadly I was on the end of the bag rip even after struggling to open it. You could use a scissors but then you couldn't reseal it with the wire fastener. Ease of openness gets a 1 out of 3 from me.
The most important part of the entire packaging. The design. Does it catch your eye off the shelf? I’m a sucker for black so it caught my eye immediately. It definitely is a specific design to Roy's which is appreciated. But I think the effort was low. The sticker is slapped on the bag and not a part of the whole packaging in itself. The design is basic and not hugely differentiating or exciting. I think it fits Roy's overall brand and is a great addition to the bakery. But there is a lot of room for improvement and I would love to see some excitement added into the packaging. Not just be a coffee… but one that really makes me want to own it. Because of the room for improvement I have to go with a 1 out of 3 on design.
Phase 2: Grounds
This is the out of the store, pre brew experience that you should really be engaged in.
Open the bag and take a whiff. Any coffee that isn’t ranking a flat 3 on this should be thrown in the trash immediately. The Black and Tan has a great smell out of the bag. 3 out of 3.
Texture / Size:
We are looking for fine grounds here. The Black and Tan grounds are great for a brew and would honestly perform best in a pour over. But I think there is some room for improvement. No ones perfect. 2 out of 3.
When you scoop coffee.. You want it to be heaving over the scoop. That’s a simple fact. This coffee has potential, but the packaging shape wont allow that to happen. To get the volume of coffee you need it takes more scoops at a small volume. The grounds are probably set and ready to hold shape in a heaping tablespoon but the tight top hole of the packaging consistently knocks it over. No scoopability. No love. 1 out of 3.
Phase 3: The Brew
I was overly impressed at the smell of the brew in the early process. This was an immediate gold star. Seconds into the drip you are brought to satisfaction from the smell. What an experience. 3 out of 3.
Phase 4: Color
This coffee brewed a bit darker than I would have liked to see. But I think that's just the way the cookie crumbles here. I don’t think the darkness compromised the taste and honestly I would push for a darker brew next time. But keeping consistency this brew didn’t meet the set standard and should be penalized. Knowing my personal preference would still go further in the wrong direction we will meet in the middle and call this a strong 2 out of 3 for the color. An overall nice looking coffee.
Golden rule of coffee color = Pantone #2322c
Phase 5: Flavor
The Black and Tan is your daily driver. The smell of this coffee was a fantastic experience to be a part of, but left me underwhelmed with the taste. It invited me in the door and then left me in the waiting room for an hour. That being said, this is your every morning coffee! It gets the job done! But it’s not something you deliver to impress the in-laws. You want this coffee to be available, but you don’t need it to exist.
I’m anticipating that we see MAYBE a handful of shelf equity coffees in these reviews and just about as many pretty impressive coffees. But most will range from gross to good. The Black and Tan is a coffee you keep in your house and really enjoy, but nothing that stands out among the masses. It’s better than your great value donut shop coffee no doubt, but also not anything worth jumping to spend $5 a cup for. This is a great household coffee. A true daily driver. 2 out of 5 points.
Phase 6: The Reseal
I’ve hinted at this a few times by now because I think it’s what's really let me down the most, and I think it’s important. But being unbiased I want to say a few things about this reseal. Let's start with the positives. This coffee comes in a smaller packaging so if you are going to drink it regularly the fold down of the bag and the wire fastening are going to be just fine. It's easy to do and allows to not have an extra adative in the packaging.
The downfall of this seal is that if you open the bag poorly at the start (like I did…) the reseal can be compromised immediately. Might be better off storing in a ziplock than the original packaging. Also the reseal is not airtight, so you can never really be too sure of the freshness. I'm going to give this a 2 out of 3.
Phase 7 (Last and possibly least) : Shelf Space
Good coffee can be stored discretely and conveniently. This coffee earns that medal. Small and convenient, but again we have a low volume. So you sacrifice a long lasting coffee for the ease of storage. This coffee would perform great in cabinets, backpacks, luggage, any anywhere else you need it. So judging solely on shelf space this coffee gets a 3 out of 3.
The Black and Tan is a solid coffee. It will leave no one disappointed and probably even more so a few people impressed. A fantastic travel coffee, weekend treat, or your everyday coffee with a good book. However it is not your specialty coffee or one you would choose if you wanted to impress. This coffee will leave people satisfied, just not worth making a comment about.
Overall this coffee earned a 31/44 = 7.4 / 10
The strengths of this coffee absolutely lie in the pre drink process. The feel in hand, the smell of the grounds and brew, and the ability to grab and go with it will keep this coffee in play.
The weaknesses sit in the underwhelming taste (relative to the smell), the design off the shelf, and the initial opening and reseal process.
After being put through The Roastery The Black and Tan from Roy’s Bakery in Houghton MI. earns a solid 7.4 overall a really great coffee.
To try the Black and Tan from Roy’s yourself you can order it online through their website, along with their other brews.
Welcome to review one of many.