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Cannonball Organic Espresso by Reunion Island

29 Jan

Adam over at Reunion Island Coffee hooked me up with 3 bags of Cannonball Organic Espresso blend at the beginning of this week to put their newest espresso blend “Cannonball Organic” through rigorous testing.

Cannonball Organic Espresso

Cannonball Organic Espresso

I was really, really excited to have enough coffee to try whatever I felt like and do the first in-depth review (formally) for this site.

So, naturally, I took his advice when he advised this pulled better at higher temperature because of the “coffees from the Jinotega region of Nicaragua, northwestern Sumatra and Sidamo in Ethiopia” noted from the Reunion Island website.

This only acted as a starting point however, and I took the time to pull straight shots of this from 93°C  to 96°C. On top of this, I experimented with different doses and grind settings on the Mazzer.

The results were… well… interesting. I was really impressed by this coffee, but not without the frustration of dialling this one in (grind, temperature, dose).

Because this is a really delicate coffee and doesn’t have a traditional Brazil base, it was somewhat finicky. I was nearly discouraged by they first few shots, but keep going. I brewed one at 94°, the 95°, then 96°… and BAM. Berries! And lots of it.

I found this one to be excellent at a really specific parameter, and that is 96°C with a ~20 gram dose and a grind size to accommodate for a ~28-30 second pull. Not exactly cafe friendly for here in Newfoundland where they just “lock and load” (but that’s another story).

So this was a pretty delicious blend as a straight shot, I was impressed. Tasting notes were similar to what’s listed on the Reunion Island site, except I hardly found any orange.

Cannonball in the cup. Double shot, with some tiger mottling.

Cannonball in the cup. Double shot, with some tiger mottling.

Straight Shot
My notes were: loads of berry components, some stone fruit and a nice syrupy body. Floral components in the aroma and hints of chocolate all around*. Fairly sweet, but balanced by an apple-like acidity.
[*all around meaning in the cup and on the aroma]

In Milk
When I turned this into a 6oz cappuccino, I found it to be nice and sweet and a lot more of the chocolate components were noticeable.  The more delicate notes became muted however.

The americano was interesting. When I pulled the shot into ~7oz of hot water, I found it to open up a little. I found some cinnamon components, earthiness, and a certain dryness. Definitely a winner on this front.

Whew! We are almost at the end here. My final numbers for this are going to be as follows….
Straight: Great, 8.5/10
In Milk: Decent, 7.5/10
Americano: Great as well, 9/ 10

Total 100 point score of 90/100.
I was pretty impressed with this coffee, and therefore I corrected this up a little to 90/100.

If you are going to try and do this up, just be more careful with your brew time/ temp/ dose and treat it right!
When it’s on, it’s really on! Berries, stone fruit, and some jam-like notes. You’ll know if you hit the spot.


– Matt