As someone who's lived in Montana for almost 8 years, I can say Montanans have especially high standards for coffee. The coffee culture here may not appear as “sophisticated” or developed as Seattle's, but rest assured, Montana is home to some of the best gourmet coffee in the world. In Best Quality Coffee's quest to discover some of the best Montana made coffees, we were excited to come across a local roaster called Valler Coffee, based out of Lincoln, MT. In the following Valler Coffee review, we take a look at one of their most popular offerings: The Rifleman Roast.
Before jumping right into this Valler Coffee review, it's worth mentioning a few details about the company's offerings. Their coffee is:
- Single Origin Coffee
- 100% Organic
- 100% Arabica Beans (why does this matter? See our article about the difference between Arabica and Robusta beans)
- High Mountain Roasted at 5000 feet ( Roasting at high altitudes allows coffee beans to be exposed to hotter temperatures for shorter periods of time The result is a dark roasted coffee bean that's not bitter or burnt. )
Valler Coffee, a family run business, sells only dark roasts. If you're familiar with Third Wave Coffee culture, you'll know the highest quality coffees will typically be light or medium roasted to help preserve the beans natural coffee flavor. Dark roasted beans, due to their increased exposure to heat, will generally produce a more bitter brew. Having said this, it's a rare thing to be able to find a dark roast that isn't bitter AND allows the coffee bean's characteristics to fully express themselves. It's in this area that I think Valler Coffee has found it's sweet spot.
For this review, we sampled their Rifleman Roast which sources its beans from Peru.
Valler Coffee Review: Aroma
As soon as I opened the bag, I was greeted to very deep and and powerful aroma. I could tell this wasn't going to the typical dark roast as I could discern a range of flavors in the coffee's fragrance. I'm one of those coffee lovers that's big on smells and I'm pleased to say that this Rifleman Roast delivered on all counts.
Valler Coffee Review: Taste
I prepared two cups of this coffee; one black and one with cream.
Both cups of this coffee were phenomenal.
I'll get right to the point and say this is one of the smoothest dark roast coffee I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. This Rifelman Roast is so smooth that I think it's comparable to the coveted Kona coffee bean. As I mentioned earlier, it's hard to find a dark roast coffee that tows the line between bitterness and boldness. But this impressive single origin brew does it masterfully and delivers a very robust but clean and refined flavor. I appreciated the purity of flavor from Valler Coffee and felt it was a welcomed change in an era of flavored coffees. Despite this being a dark roast, this coffee is surprisingly bright and offers subtle hints of sweetness. I also really enjoyed the brew's medium body.
I'd recommend this to any dark roast lover who's in search of a more refined coffee experience. Many dark roast lovers I know have a limited palette and are only used to coffee so burnt and strong that it overpowers all other flavors. Valler Coffee is a great way to introduce people in this camp to the world of smooth gourmet dark roasts. I know there are many coffee drinkers out there that actually like the bitterness, but I'm not one of them. This is why I really appreciate what Valler Coffee has done with their Rifleman Roast. It's strong enough to be called a solid dark roast but refined and smooth enough for me to call it Third Wave coffee quality.
As it sit here contemplating a third cup of Valler Coffee for the day, I'm appreciating the time, effort, and care that went into this unassuming bag of very impressive coffee. I'll wrap up this Valler Coffee review by saying it's definitely in a category of it's own when it comes to the best Montana coffees: Highly recommended, and definitely worth a try.
If you're looking for some of Montana's best light and medium roasted coffees, check out Caffeic Coffee.