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In a world where coffee roasters are increasingly reaching for flowery phrases to describe their coffees, Driven Coffee is refreshingly plain-spoken and open. They’re also remarkably understated and restrained. We’ve just had the pleasure of sampling Driven’s Impact Espresso Blend, and we can testify that the roaster’s website description does not do the coffee justice.
Yes, you’ll taste notes of walnut and chocolate. Yes, it’s a medium-bodied coffee with a strong finish. Yes, it’s both sweet and smoky — but those flavor notes don’t prepare you for the rich body and bold flavor in the cup. Nor do the words “wonderful aroma” even begin to describe the complex blend of roasted cocoa nibs, rich coffee and earthy spice that meets your nose from the moment you first open the bag.
Driven Coffee’s Impact Espresso is a blend of four coffees with strong flavor profiles of their own. In less experienced hands, those flavors might clash wildly. Instead, the blend highlights the significant notes in each coffee and elevates them to a higher level. Each of the four coffees – Mexican Chiapas, Costa Rica Tarrazu, Sumatra Mandehling and Guatemala Antigua – display varying nuances of chocolate and cocoa, so it’s not surprising that the predominant flavor in the Impact Blend is chocolate. What is surprising is how well-balanced and nuanced the chocolate flavor is. It’s complemented by a honey-fruit sweetness and a subtle peppery spiciness that becomes more pronounced as the cup cools. Each sip ends with a long, smooth finish redolent of roasted walnut tang, leaving your mouth prepped for the next sip.
The quality of the coffee is enough reason to love Driven Coffee, but there’s far more to like about the small specialty roaster. First, Driven sells online, making it easy to order in a supply of your favorite brews. Each order is roasted fresh within 24 hours of shipping. It’s shipped in one-way valve bags, and each bag bears a sticker with the roast date on it so you know how long it’s been since your beans were roasted. Ours arrived seven days post-roast — but it also shipped in the middle of some of the worst winter weather in years, so take that into account. You can order Impact Espresso — or any of their coffees — in sizes ranging from 12 oz. to 50 lbs. — including a real 1 lb. size, which many other roasters don’t offer any longer. They ship via flat rate shipping, so that your entire order ships for one low price.
And there’s still more to like. Driven Coffee’s motto is “Great Coffee, Greater Purpose.” The Minnesota company calls itself a “social enterprise,” an organization that gagues its success by the contributions it can make through their work. The owners have committed to donate 10% of all sales to partner charities, which range from the United Way to campus ministries shaping tomorrow’s leaders. They’re also open to partnering with other charities through their fund-raising program.
Driven Coffee also sells green coffee beans and coffee roasting equipment for those who want to roast their coffee beans to their own preference. If you’re looking for an excellent espresso blend with medium body and complex layers of flavor, Driven Coffee’s Impact Espresso Blend should definitely be on your short list.
Disclosure: Driven Coffee provided us with coffee to review. There was no expectation or remuneration provided for this review.