Review: Homestead Coffee Roasters’ Dead Man’s Brew
When I first heard about former NHL goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin’s curious love affair with coffee, I was a teen who had yet tasted the black stuff. Aside from having a name that is fun to say, Khabibulin was rumored to have consumed more than ten pots of coffee per day. One announcer stated Khabibulin consumed fourteen pots. (The same announcer stated the team trainer drilled holes into his skates to drain the sweat from the side effects of the coffee consumption.) He admitted to having coffee between periods of play.
It is a wonder that after four-hundred-plus posts, we never reviewed the coffee that is almost always brewing at the offices of creakybottombracket.com. While we have put other roasts in the grinder, we have always stocked the shelf with at least one bag of beans of the neighborhood roaster. Homestead Coffee Roasters, a place we know and love, creates one of the darkest, tastiest, and strongest dark roast beans we have tried.
How to describe Dead Man’s Brew in an article? Per the label the beans are a blend of three regions of the coffee globe: Honduras, Flores, and Sumatra. The beans come from a mixed elevation between 1,000 – 1,500 meters and contain a combination of Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, and Typica beans. After roasting them in the Italian way, the beans come out caramelized and oily.
I have found several procedures that produce flavorful results for Dead Man’s Brew. The best by date is not a suggestion. Among brewers the suggestion that grinding beans approximately two weeks after roasting is ideal. Using a burr grinder is the recommended device, but any grinder will produce better flavor than beans purchased ground. The burr grinder at the office is set to 18 when brewing pour over coffee, 28 when opting for French press. We typically go with one heaping tablespoon of beans per cup of water; you will find that ratio creep up as you become addicted to the flavors. The cups are also taken black.
Those flavors are what keep drinkers of Dead Man’s Brew coming back. The strong and smoky taste is what comes through initially. What develop are two outstanding, lasting flavors: chocolate milk and pepper. The lingering taste of chocolate is the part that keeps the sips coming. That taste is what one seeks cup after cup. At the end of each tasting are little sparkly effects. That is the moment the pepper comes in. Think of this as a chocolate bar with peppers in a cup. We don’t realize how we have let our ratios slip higher and higher until we access Homestead General Store’s version of Dead Man’s. Unofficially our coffee cup cards have been used on Dead Man’s Brew.
How we handle the copious amounts of consumed Dead Man’s Brew is an immediate glass of chocolate milk. The marriage of Dead Man’s and chocolate milk – particularly malted chocolate milk served in a glass available nearby – establishes the perfect pairing. And because we go through so many pounds of Dead Man’s, we regularly take up their offering of five-pound bags of beans. You said two weeks was the perfect consumption time, I thought? That is a correct. The five-pound bag is usually sacked by the two-week mark. Because of that consumption rate, we move constantly, talk quickly, and immediately cite dehydration when dropped off the back of a group ride. It’s a fair trade off, if we are honest.
Do yourself a favor and sample a box of Homestead Coffee Roasters’ Dead Man’s Brew. We don’t think we will reach the level of Nikolai Khabibulin’s coffee consumption rate – if for any other reason that he also smoked in between periods – but perhaps he had his hands on early bags of Dead Man’s Brew. There have been times when local restaurants have offered coffee as a dessert and initially turned down due to the hour of the day. But when it is stated the coffee is Dead Man’s, it becomes worth the jolt.