The pros: Trader Joe's Ecuador Vilcabamba Small Lot Coffee is more medium than medium light with lots of flavor and acidity than say Trader Joe's Santa Alina which is more on the smooth side.
The cons: The small lot varieties might have more product inconsistencies than other more widely available varieties. This might also be a limited run product as well, so if you try it and like it, you might want to stock up.
There has been a pretty seismic shift in Trader Joe's coffees. Previously, if you were a light roast drinker, you were out of luck. Trader Joe's aisle of coffee included medium, medium, dark and extra dark. Only recently with the addition of Trader Joe's Lys Kaffe did light roast drinkers get any product that would appeal to their taste buds.
To be fair, coffee is something very taste specific. I remember bringing my Dad Starbuck's one time and he lovingly referred to it as "perked dirt." Joking comments aside, one person's like can be another one's disdain. So to be fair, when I was in college I was all about the light roasts. Now, college was more than a decade ago, my tastes have shifted into a more medium brew. However, my husband does not share my appreciation of a good medium brew. He considers Café Bustelo to be a "light brew." So in my household, our taste preference run in extremes.
This is a brew that I would reach for, but a dark roast drinker might not enjoy this much. The beans are clearly light to medium roast. They are also very dry looking with no visible oil. This reminded me of a more lightly roasted Trader Joe's Tarrazu with the balance, but there is more bright acidity here. Overall, if you are a fan of both light and medium, this might be a good choice to reach for. While this was nice in the morning, it was also a good middle of the day pick me up.
For $8.99 for a 12 ounce package, this is priced about the same as another recent addition to the coffee aisle: Trader Joe's Santa Alina Coffee. Trader Joe's seems to prefer bags for any small lot variety. Most other coffees are available in canisters. Overall, I liked it. The small lot varieties are priced higher than other varieties, but not in the league of Trader Joe's Kona or Geisha Coffee. As a solid middle ground between the inexpensive and the pricey, these are a good balance that are worth paying a bit more.
Here is the visual rundown of what you get when you buy Trader Joe's Ecuador Vilcabamba Small Lot Coffee:
How Trader Joe's describes this product and how to prepare this:
After being brewed you get:
Would I buy this again? Yes, I like both Trader Joe's Santa Alina and Trader Joe's Ecuador Vilcabamba. Reach for the Santa Alina if you want medium creamy flavor, but the Vilcabamba if you want a light roasted morning or middle of the day pick me up with a bit of acidity.
Want to see more items I've reviewed from Trader Joe's? Click on Thoughts & Reviews of Trader Joe’s for a searchable list.
Did you try it? Let me know what you think in the comments section!
Jenice McAlevy says
Yeah! I live in Vilcabamba and love the light roast coffee. Of course, many of the locals drink the super dark roast stuff. "Perked dirt!" Glad the rest of the world's enjoying some good, Vilca goodness.
I tried this coffee. The most beautiful, large and perfectly formed beans I’ve seen. None were cracked. Here’s my question: How to determine the roast date of Trader Joe’s Coffees? A “best by” date tells me nothing. I suspect the beans I tried, with a best by date of 5/25/18 and purchased August 7 were not fresh from the roaster. (I live in Chicago.) The taste of this coffee or any coffee is completely dependent on the roast date, whether it’s flushed with nitrogen or not.
Hey Rich! I just looked at every coffee in my home: TJ's Organic Breakfast Blend, TJ's Pinon, and TJ's Honey Processed Organic Nicaraguan Coffee. Here is what I observed: none of them had a roast date, The Organic Breakfast did not have a best by date, the Honey Roasted Nicaraguan's best buy date is 7/26/18 (which is the newest coffee to TJ's shelves), and the Pinon is 6 months from now. Pinon is the one currently sold that is pre-ground. Everything else is sold whole bean. Based on what you are telling me, it sounds like the Best Buy date (for whole coffee) is about a year out. At best it's a guess, that the whole bean coffee was (hopefully roasted before being bagged and shipped) at or around the same month and day as the best buy month and day. I looked into it and came up with no hint as to how that is determined. Wish I had a better answer to give you.