Pig Iron Roasters was started by Lit Espresso Bar owner Joe Agnoletti early last year. The name reflects the roaster’s love for their vintage, rebuilt Probat roaster, with which they are hoping to differentiate themselves. Joe and sister Nicole had a strong run so far with their shops that were Toronto’s only Stumptown serving shop. Certainly I have noticed their passion for coffee and their progression in the quality of their product, and I want to wish them luck in their new venture, but I am sad to see them drop Stumptown from their menu as Toronto continues to have less availability to quality American roasters. Anyhow, for those who have made a visit to Lit during the last several months, you will notice that they are exclusively serving their own Pig Iron coffee.
What I have Tasted So Far
I had the pleasure of going into the shop early this month, and tasting a coffee and an espresso, both which were well prepared by the barista. In our conversation, my impression was that roast profiles are still being adjusted as experience is gained, and the roasting team continues to improve. I also commend them on having a limited selection of coffee origins, as they have preferred to go with quality. Their current roasting goals have been to go light on their roasts, which has resulted in crisp acidity in both their coffee and espresso. I also left with two bags of coffee, an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Birhanhu and their Espresso Blend, named Steel Wheel.
Early Overall Impressions of the Coffee
Based on tasting all these coffees, as well as impressions from others who I shared the coffee with, my general impression was generally favourable for a roasting team that has not had years of experience. The coffees had good balanced acidity and a some unique taste nuance coming through from what I took to be the bean, combining with nice clarity and cleanliness, although touches of woodiness occasionally showed up. My complaints were a nose which was on the milder side that could benefit from a fuller aroma, and a lack of layered complexity and sweetness in the roast. Nothing I am raving about, but certainly something that I will revisit in half an year to see how it has progressed.
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