Product review: La Colombe Torrefaction Phocea

La Colombe Torrefaction Phocea caught my eye walking through Whole Foods one day while I was looking for a second bag of coffee for the winner of our last contest.  Stark, high contrast packing combined with an intriguing name was sufficient to grab my eye. As I delved further, I found that the bag I gravitated to was recommended to be brewed via French Press which has been my chosen extraction method of late.  Great job guys and gals, you snagged my inner coffee nerd by grinder.  I was sold.  Now I was torn between reviewing this bag or the bag of Cafe Kreyol's dark roast I picked up but I decided that it would be good to review another company's brew for the sake of variety.  I mean would it be fair to review another Cafe Kreyol product like I did last time?  Of course this means that whomever wins the Cafe Kreyol brew needs to report back to me with their impressions... I've got to know if I should buy it again.

La Colombe was founded by two friends in Philadelphia, PA.  After the initial introduction of 4 "classic" brews, their company grew and now includes 4 cafes in New York, Philly, Chicago and Seoul.  Interesting take away while doing research on the company, they have 3 cafes in Seoul where they only have one in Chicago and two in Philly.  I'd be interested to hear from the company why that is and how they came to be in the South Korean market...  Like most of the companies you will find in Whole Foods, they focus on ethically sourcing of their beans and ethical business practices so for those of you who like to support the little guy, you can rest your mind at ease.

But I digress. La Colombe Torrefaction Phocea, in all their intriguing glory presented a good product and it was then to see if it met muster.  Initial sniff impressions were great. The beans had a heady aroma with rich notes and earthy tones.  It was the first brew I've had recently that the smell really made me excited.  The other brews were aromatic but, there was something about this one.  And as the saying goes, first impressions are everything.  I decided to brew two batches in my presses. One batch in my one cup Bodum press and one in my 8 cup press.  Both yielded similar results with a nice texture with plenty of oils extracted from the bean.  This brew was heavier than the last two I tried. Nice muddy notes with just the right amount of heaviness.  There was a faint note of chocolate with virtually no acidity at all.  Where the Boca Java brew from last week was on the light side of dark, this was on the heavy side of dark.  It's not quite to the level of a smoky Italian roast and had just the right mix to keep it well balanced.  It had a really full mouth feel to it with an almost velvety texture.  I would imagine it would pair well with a nice cinnamon or chocolate scone.  With some brews I find myself pacing myself unconsciously whereas with this one, I had to force myself to slow down.  If you can't tell, I really enjoyed it.  

I would definitely buy this La Colombe's Phocea again. In fact, it might even earn a place on my short list of regular buys.  I might try adding just another scoop of beans to my mix (I did 4 scoops of unground beans to 16 oz of water) just to spice it up a little more to see the results.

Definitely check out this coffee if you like a good dark roast with minimal smoke.  You may find you like it as much as I do.  Excuse me while I go brew another press.

For more great product reviews you can find them here on my site.  As always, please let us know what you think in the comment section below.


  1. I'm glad you got to try it! By the way, did you ever draw a winner for the mug drawing??

    1. The winners were indeed selected. They were announced here:

      Sadly you weren't one of them but take heart! There will be more contests in the upcoming months


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