I Taste Tested Community Coffee Signature Blend Dark Roast, Photos

by Nigel Ong

As much as I enjoy drinking Community Coffee’s Breakfast Blend and American Classic, it carries many other roasts. These include Five-Star Hotel Blend, Cafe Special, or some of their single-origin series. 

One that stands out like a sore thumb is the Signature Blend. As much as I think Community Coffee makes pretty good coffee, how can I say I have reviewed the coffee roaster if I did not try out its signature roast? 

I picked up a bag to relieve myself from this thought.

In this post, I will review the Community Coffee Signature Blend. As usual, I will brew the coffee several ways and sample it with different flavorings. Finally, I compare the coffee with other relevant roasts before deciding who should give this coffee a try.

About Community Coffee Signature Blend

You may have seen Community Coffee readily available on your grocery shelves, but few know its story. Founded by Norman “Cap” Saurage in 1919, it began as an experimental coffee blend sold at downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana grocery stores.

The coffee sold so well that Saurage had to shift his operations to a repurposed barn in 1923. By 1924, business was so brisk that he transitioned from regular grocery business to concentrating solely on coffee.

Today, the brand imports coffee beans from regions such as Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico and roasts the coffee in the US.

Community Coffee is also a proud supporter of our veterans, with programs such as military match programs – they send coffee care packages to active and retired service members to thank them for their service. 

As of today, Community Coffee remains a popular grocery coffee brand, and you can pick one up at major stores near you nationwide. 

First Impression

The Community Coffee Signature Blend I picked up comes in a 12-oz coffee bag. In metric, that’s around 340 grams.

Community Coffee may be more affordable in pricing, but they certainly did not skimp on the packaging. The coffee bag is given a bright red overall color, with a dark gray label to indicate that it’s their Signature Blend. 

You get your regular air-tight packaging, one-way-valve, and foldable tabs to help you reseal the coffee bag after you have opened it. The coffee is also vacuum-packed for good freshness.

What I like the most is that it also suggests a ‘brew before’ date. This easily prevents you from ending up with stale coffee.

Once I opened the seal of the packaging, I enjoyed the fragrance of the coffee. There is a strong dose of smoke and woody notes, with the comforting smell of coffee. The coffee smells like your regular dark roast, comforting and familiar. 

My roast comes as coffee grounds, so I cannot directly compare the coffee beans with others. However, in appearance, the coffee looks pretty dark, consistent with the fact that it is a dark roast.

How Does Community Coffee Signature Blend Taste?

To sample Community Coffee Signature Blend, I will brew it in three ways:

French Press: This brewing style makes a murky, full-flavored coffee with floating particles. This should allow me to sample the coffee in all its ‘glory.’ I expect full flavor and strong flavor with this coffee.

Pour Over With Filter Paper: This method produces a ‘cleaner’ version of the coffee without too much oil and particles floating about. This should help me to sample more of the subtle notes. 

Espresso: Community Coffee Signature Blend is a dark roast, which means trying it as Espresso only makes sense. I look forward to seeing what kind of crema it produces and how intense it is. 

French Press

I started off my brewing with a French press. I relied on my Bodum Caffettiera French press and brewed a 2-cup batch for the French press. 

I used the 1:12 coffee-to-water ratio recommended by Illy Coffee, which is similar to my other coffee reviews.

The aroma is there, signaling the good coffee it is. My kitchen instantly smells of coffee and is very inviting, too. The aroma is coffee-forward, with whiffs of smoke and a woody smell coming in. As I took my first sip, the aroma filled my nostrils, too.

Community Coffee Signature Blend is smoky, with a carbon taste. I do not mean the coffee is bad, but it is a smoky roast. There’s a strong dose of woody notes, too.

However, the coffee tastes smooth and easy to drink, like a medium roast. My palate picked up bittersweet notes, similar to dark chocolate. The coffee also has a bit of sweetness and savoriness, which reminds me of Graham crackers. 

The coffee has a medium finish. The flavor lingers in my mouth, but not as long as some smokier dark roasts. 

Pour Over With Filter Paper

For my pour-over brew, I use the following gear to make my cup of  Community Coffee Signature Blend:

I use the pour-over brewing method from Starbucks. I added 20 grams of ground coffee and slowly poured 360ml of water. I first focused on wetting and blooming the coffee ground when I started. 

Once I covered all areas, I slowly added more water to brew the coffee. It took about 3-4 minutes to brew the coffee.

As expected, the pour-over coffee tastes lighter and cleaner. It is definitely less ‘dirty’ than the French press brew. 

It has less smoke and is also less bitter. This may be because the filter paper removed some coffee oils and particles. The carbon-like taste is also lighter.

I could pick up stronger flavor notes from the coffee with less smoke. I can definitely notice the cocoa notes. As I sip, I occasionally notice whiffs of peanut flavor. This reminds me of Community Coffee’s own Breakfast Blend.

I still prefer the French press brew, although I can see people enjoying pour-overs since they taste clean and light.

Espresso

I do not have an espresso machine at home. Instead, I relied on my Wacaco Minipresso GR and used it to pull out a shot. The coffee ground is coarse, so I first ground it to a finer consistency. 

The result is an espresso with rich, thick crema. The crema has a smoke-forward and earthy smell. I was able to pick up some woody notes, too. 

The Espresso tastes bold and satisfying. It punches my palate with bitterness and smoke and then disappears slightly, revealing some cocoa notes. The crema especially has a strong cocoa flavor, obscured slightly by the smoke.

If you may, consider slowly sipping the Community Coffee Signature Blend espresso instead of gulping it in. It is not too strong to the point you want to do that. As you sip, draw in some air, crema, and coffee together for the best taste and flavor.

With Sugar And Sweetener

The most common way people flavor their coffee is with sugar and some artificial sweeteners. I prepped both here. 

I made two full cups of French press brew. I added two drops of Equal artificial sweetener for the first Community Coffee Signature Blend cup, with a stick of brown cane sugar on the other.

Regular sugar helps to make the coffee silkier and slightly shinier on the outside. I think it also makes the coffee smoother to drink. As for the Equal, I think it does the same, too.

My only issue with using sweetening flavoring is the coffee itself. It is a smoky coffee; to me, the coffee notes do not jive well with sweeteners. 

To my palate, I dislike how the sweetness and the smoky flavors tend to ‘fight’ each other, causing the coffee to taste odd. This is more pronounced with Equal than with regular sugar. 

Equal is also worse on the finish, too. There’s a long, sweet aftertaste lingering on my palate. The latter is probably more of a characteristic of Aspartame (the sweetening ingredient in Equal) and not the coffee.

With Milk And Creamer

Many people also enjoy milk with their coffee. Two most common ways to do this? Milk and non-dairy creamers. 

I used whole, fresh, UHT cow’s milk here. I added a milk shot (about 1 oz or 30ml) into my Community Coffee Signature Blend coffee. For the creamer, I added a stick of Coffee Mate creamer.

Both milk and creamer instantly turn the coffee brownish, making it look appetizing. I was tempted to add more fat but stopped to ensure I used the same amount as my other coffee recipes. 

Both also made the coffee a little silkier and thicker. The texture made the coffee glide in my mouth smoothly. I actually enjoyed playing and swishing the coffee in my mouth.

Flavor-wise, this coffee has enough in it to handle some milk. It softens the coffee but does not drown away its flavor. 

This is the advantage of dark roasts, which makes me greatly enjoy them as milk – they can take a lot of the creamy and rich notes of milk without losing its flavor.

However, of the two, I prefer the natural taste of milk. Creamers may be fine, but they lack the ‘body’ and ‘depth’ of creaminess that milk can provide.

Community Coffee Signature Blend vs Other Community Coffee Roasts

Aside from the Community Coffee Signature Blend, I have some other Community Coffee roasts in the stash. I decided to sample them together.

My palate prefers light and medium roasted coffee, naturally making me prefer the American Roast and Breakfast Blend. 

However, as milk coffee increases, the playing level becomes more even. The milked version of the Community Coffee Signature Blend may be the best, thanks to its deeply smoky notes blending well with the rich, creamy notes of milk.

Community Coffee Signature Blend vs. Popular Dark Roasts

I brewed coffee from these dark roasts and then sipped them side by side with the Major Dickason Blend:

From these roasts, I do have to say that Peet’s Major Dickason is the best of all. It has some smoke, but not too much. It is a dark, smoky roast, but the type I can sip and enjoy slowly, black. 

You certainly do not have to suck it down like an espresso. This is one point the Signature Blend cannot compete with. On its own, I think the coffee is a bit too intense for me to enjoy slowly.

Community Coffee Signature Blend vs Regular Coffee

I picked up a cup of regular Americano from a 7-Eleven. The idea is to compare my Community Coffee Signature Blend coffee with a regular cup of joe, especially those $1 coffees you can get from gas stations or convenience stores.

Let’s say the Signature Blend trumps your regular coffee. It has depth in flavor and a great aroma. It should leave you satisfied and fill your craving for your coffee. 

Regular gas stations or convenience store coffee should not be able to match this. They usually taste flat and have a strong earthy taste. Some may also taste watery, lacking flavor.

The difference is night and day. You’ll notice the differences even if you sip both coffee blindfolded.

Is Community Coffee Signature Blend For You?

This is how I would sum up Community Coffee Signature Blend: It is a regular, dark roast with no noticeable edges in taste. 

This is not a weakness – there is niceness in comfort, as the coffee you sip does not surprise you with odd, edgy flavors. Community Coffee blended this to satisfy as many palates as possible and not offend anyone. 

The Signature Blend is for those who enjoy dark roasts but at the same time just want something comfortable and ‘normal.’ I can imagine this coffee being something you sip down in the afternoon to beat the slump after lunch.

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