As an admittedly huge coffee fan from the Pacific Northwest and Special Forces soldier it was only a matter of time before I tried De Espresso Liber’s coffee beans. First off for those unfamiliar with Special Forces their traditional motto is “De Oppresso Liber”, which means to free the oppressed and is in reference to SF’s roots in unconventional warfare. So right off the bat De Espresso Liber wins the award for best small business name and that comes with a considerable amount of bias.
De Espresso Liber is a small Special Forces Veteran owned company based out of Lacey Washington whose goal is “to provide you with the same coffee experience he[owner] discovered overseas, at the coffee’s point of origin”. They offer many single origin beans as well superbly crafted blends. Of particular note are their various Memorial Roasts, dedicated to Warriors who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and brothers in arms. In addition to getting some top quality small batch roasted coffee you get the opportunity to support some truly worthy foundations and charities supporting the Special Forces community.
Enough of the background lets talk about the coffee. I was graciously sent the Guatemala Single origin in a medium roast and the Nicaragua Single origin in a dark roast. First off it’s worth noting that I received the beans within days of their roasting on 01 September 2015. That may not seem like a big deal but as with so many things in life, freshness matters. You should ideally start using your coffee beans two days after they are roasted to get maximum flavor and to an extent value. The beans arrived in the standard recycled paper coffee bags you’d expect when buying bulk coffee however in this case the bag is emblazoned with De Espresso Liber’s catchy logo, also a play on the Special Forces Regimental crest. In addition there is a stamp showing the all important roast date and degree of roast. Running a small business is tough, with narrow profit margins. Its nice to know that despite overhead you’ll get what you paid for freshly roasted coffee, the proof is stamped on the bag.
Coffee is definitely one of those things in life, which you get out what you put in. Even that’s an overly simplistic statement, the process involved is nearly as important as the ingredients. I had excellent results with both the Nicaragua SO and the Guatemala SO using either a pour-over technique or an aero-press. That isn’t to say the never descaled Mr. Coffee in your break-room won’t make a decent cup but to really appreciate these beans you need to do your part. I don’t doubt they would have both made excellent espresso shots however my espresso maker has yet to be unpacked from a recent deployment. The Guatemala in a medium roast was bright and complex; I won’t bore you with tasting notes but suffice to say it makes for an excellent way to start your day. The Nicaragua due to its dark roast was bold and somewhat smoky, perfect for French roast or Vienna drinkers. I would highly suggest sticking with a lesser degree of roast with beans of this quality, save the darkest roasts for your local Ch-arbucks.
So what are you getting when you order from De Espresso Liber? I can tell you, you’re getting consistently high quality small batch roasted coffee, purchased through various growers and co-ops who abide by fair trade practices. I was impressed with the consistency of each roast, there weren’t light beans or burnt beans, they were all uniformly roasted to the same degree, which is no small feat for a small batch roaster. If you want to experience unique single origins and blends from different growing regions while supporting small businesses both here and abroad then you have to check out the offerings from De Espresso Liber.
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