Product Review Special: Black Dog Coffee

In the comments to this post on coffee, Jeanne mentioned Black Dog Coffee, a small roaster in tiny Summit Point, WV. (Summit Point is probably best-known for its raceway, if it’s known for anything at all.) It’s sold at the Saturday morning Charles Town, WV farmer’s market and at the Sunday morning Biz Market over on the other side of the mountain from where I live. Shortly after Jeanne’s tip, I made it over to Charles Town on a Saturday morning to see what was up.

Black Dog roasts coffee regularly. So regularly, that they basically roast when you order (if you order through their website). They’re so dedicated to customer service, they deliver weekly to residents of Winchester, VA, Jefferson County, WV and Clarke County.

I’m delighted to report that the coffee is good. Damn good. Some of the best I’ve ever had. You know how once in a blue moon you go to a restaurant or a coffee house and the coffee is so rich, full-flavored and rounded in the mouth, it barely needs any sweetener or dairy? This is that coffee. And it’s affordable and roasted right in my area, which makes it kick even more ass.

I’ve tried three varieties so far: Panama Berlina Estate, Ethiopian Harrar Horse, and Guatemala Huehueyenango. All balanced, all excellent, all thoroughly satisfying. I grind it right before I brew it–only as much as I need for that morning’s pot–and then use filtered water with these beans. They are outstanding. I’m astonished by how good they are. They also smell unbelievable when they’re brewing.

I like these coffees so much, I’m bummed that I currently have a surfeit of coffee in the larder. (I have a big 2-lb bag from Costco, some Trader Joe’s French Roast, some Starbucks Gazebo Blend and some other random Starbucks coffee sitting around.) I am loathe to buy more Black Dog until I eliminate at least two of these from my pantry. I might give in before then, though, because these Black Dog coffees are so excellent. They’re impossible to resist.

If you are in Jefferson County and you want to try a cup before you commit, go to one of the above markets where Black Dog vends and you can usually sample two varieties before you purchase. Or, try visiting the Cookie Cones Cafe in Ranson, WV; they sell Black Dog coffee brewed to Black Dog specifications.

By the way, I noticed on a recent trip to Common Market in Frederick, MD that they carry Counter Culture Coffee. I haven’t bought it there because I am so thrilled with the Black Dog beans, and I’d prefer to support a roaster right in my backyard. But it’s an alternative if you don’t want to ship in the Counter Culture beans. Unlike most coffees, the Counter Culture bags are stamped with the date they’re roasted, so you know they’re fresh.


About this entry