I tasted Green Mountain Coffee Dark Magic Roast: Review, Photos

by Nigel Ong

Green Mountain Coffee may be one of the more affordable coffee options on your grocery shelves but never discount the roaster. 

My previous review of the Green Mountain Breakfast Blend is surprisingly quite pleasant, which made me think of trying another of its roasts again, this time the Dark Magic Dark Roast. 

In this post, I brew the Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast in three ways before sampling the coffee black and with flavorings. I will also compare it with other relevant coffee in my collection before deciding if you should try this coffee.

About Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, created by Bob Stiller in 1981, started as a small café near a ski resort in Vermont, MA. It grew into a big name in the fancy coffee world. 

2006 Green Mountain bought Keurig, changing the game with their one-cup Keurig brewers and K-cups. This move made the company really famous.

Green Mountain is part of a big group that includes drinks like Dr. Pepper, 7Up, and Schweppes. Green Mountain offers a wide range of coffees from different places and tastes. Some are light and fruity, others are strong and dark. 

As for their Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast, the company marketed it as part of their dark roast lineups. Green Mountain also claims that the roast is rich, full-bodied, and has a deep, satisfying flavor. 

How true is the claim? We will see about it later when we start tasting it. 

First Impression

The bright green color of my Green Mountain Dark Magic roast is very eye-catching. I can probably see it 100 yards away. The flavor description is simple, fast, and to the point. I believe this helps buyers make quick decisions.

The Dark Magic Roast is a 9 out of 12 on its intensity scale. This means it is a dark roast, but not dark to the point that it tastes like an espresso roast. Some flavor notes claimed on the packaging include:

  • Bold
  • Deep
  • Intense

These are just general descriptions of the coffee without specific flavor notes. Let’s see what my tongue can pick up later during cupping (tasting) time. 

The coffee bag comes with foldable tabs to help seal the coffee once you open it. A one-way valve also allows carbon dioxide to escape without letting outside air in. 

These are expected from a proper coffee bag, the Green Mountain delivered, despite the lower selling price. 

Once I opened the coffee, my nose was greeted with the fragrant smell of coffee. The intense fragrance will instantly give you the impression that it is a dark roast. 

It is intense, with notes of carbon and wood. I pleasantly mean these notes. There is also some buttery smell, but I am not sure. 

My coffee is in ground form, so I cannot see the beans’ quality. The coffee ground is also quite coarse. 

The ground should work immediately with a French press, pour-over, and good old drip machine. 

How Does Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast Taste?

For brewing, I will go back to the usual three methods with the Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast. They are:

French Press: This brewing style makes a murky, full-flavored coffee with floating particles. This should allow me to sample the coffee in its full flavor.

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: Espresso is coffee in one of its most concentrated forms. I look forward to tasting new flavors I could not detect in regular brewing forms. 

French Press

I turned to my trusty Bodum Caffettiera French press. I retained the same brewing process for my other reviews.

I use 15 grams of coffee and 180ml of hot water at around 185°F (about 85°C). After stirring the coffee ground, I let the coffee brew for 4 minutes before pouring.

This roast does not hide itself – my coffee smells deep and smoky as I brew it. From the smell alone, I can see this coffee giving me a strong, dark, intense taste. As I pour the coffee out, it is dark in color with some slight transparency.

I immediately get a strong, intense flavor as I draw in my first sip. This coffee does not hold back on the initial punch – it is smoky, with rich, earthy bitterness.

There are also a bit of buttery notes, which is rather enjoyable. As I drank along, I also picked up a bit of fresh wood taste. I am not sure what wood it is, but I may take a guess and say pine or cedar. 

The coffee finishes strong, too, leaving an aftertaste of slightly buttery notes on my tongue tip after I swallow down the coffee. 

Pour Over With Filter Paper

For my pour-over brew, I use the following gear:

I use the pour-over brewing method from Starbucks. I added 20 grams of ground coffee and slowly poured in 360ml of water, taking about 3-4 minutes to pour all my hot water.

As expected, the pour-over coffee tastes lighter and cleaner. It is definitely less ‘dirty’ than the French press brew. The coffee is also less smoky, woody, and intense. This may be because the filter paper removed some coffee oils and particles. 

I could pick up stronger flavor notes with the smoky and woody notes removed. The buttery notes are more obvious here, and some spice too. 

If you enjoy a cleaner, less murky cup of coffee, pour-over will work very well for you. As for me, I still prefer the French press brew since it is more intense and ‘dirty.’

Espresso

The coffee ground is too rough for espresso machines, so I ground my Dark Magic Roast into finer grounds. Then, I packed the coffee grounds into the filter basket and loaded it into my Wacaco Minipresso GR

This is a hand-held, manually-operated espresso maker. Then I add in hot water and pump out my Espresso. 

The result is a great espresso with rich, thick crema. When I smell the crema, the crema is intense, with a deep, smoky flavor that espresso drinkers will love. The wood aroma is also promising. 

The Espresso is strong, bold, and surprisingly creamy. This could be because of the buttery notes in the coffee itself. It punches hard on the palate but not to the point of your regular espresso roasts. 

The Dark Magic Roast can be a casual espresso you sip in the evenings if you want something less strong. I think it will also do well as an affogato or macchiato.

With Sugar And Sweetener

Next, I try to flavor the coffee sweet, using the following:

I first brewed two cups of Dark Magic Roast, French press style. Then, I added a stick of brown sugar to the first cup and two drops of Equal to the other. 

On the appearance, the sugar added a bit of shine to the coffee. It also made it a bit thicker, with better texture. The shine and texture change is more pronounced with the cup with sugar inside. 

Taste-wise, sugar and sweetener accentuated the buttery note. However, the same problem made me dislike having the Dark Magic Roast with sugar. 

Dark roasts are usually smoky, and when I add sweeteners to the coffee, I sense that the sweetness is trying hard to mask the smoke, which results in a rather weird taste. It seems like the smoke and the sweetness are fighting each other. 

This is worse with Equal. It also has a slightly more synthetic taste, which made the coffee worse, at least to my palate.

With Milk And Creamer

After sweeteners, the next flavoring to try is with fat. For this, I prepped some of these to try out with my Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast:

  • Whole, fresh, UHT cow’s milk 
  • Coffee-Mate coffee creamer

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

Both milk and creamer made the coffee a little silkier and thicker. The coffee has more play and seems heartier to drink, too. 

Taste-wise, both made the coffee softer, and the milk made the coffee more enjoyable. This is probably because I get a strong dose of fat from the milk and coffee flavor. 

One thing I enjoy about dark roasts is how well they go with milk. It has a strong flavor, meaning it can take in some milk dilution and retain its original flavor. The Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast definitely feels the same here. 

Iced

Finally, I thought I’d play with the temperature and try the Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast chilled. 

I brewed a concentrated cup of French press coffee, using half the amount of water only. Then, I poured the coffee into a shaker and filled the shaker to the brim with ice. 

After a good shake, I poured everything into a glass. In goes a straw, and I began sipping.

First impression? Not bad. The deep bitter taste is nice, and I enjoyed it with my iced Americano. I can also taste some of the buttery notes too. 

However, replacing a good cup of proper iced Americano made from espresso shots is not good enough.

Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast vs Popular Dark Roasts

For comparison, I thought I’d start with the dark roasts since the Dark Magic Roast is one. I lined up some dark roasts to compare against the Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast. They are:

I brewed all this coffee using my French press and then sipped them side by side.

After trying it all, I would say the Dark Magic Roast is not the best on the list. However, to say that it is the worst will not be fair. 

Its intense yet buttery and creamy note helps it to stand out against more ‘regular dark roasts, such as the Community Coffee Signature Dark Roast. 

The Dark Magic Roast has more aroma and flavor than the Death Wish Coffee. This is understandable since the Death Wish Coffee blends Arabica and Robusta beans.  

However, it is less satisfying than the Major Dickason Roast and the Grizzly Claw Roast. These are outstanding dark roasts, which I think have more satisfaction, flavor, and clarity than the Dark Magic Roast. 

With milk, I would still say that Major Dickason stands out as the best, with the Grizzly Claw coming second. The Dark Magic Roast should be third here.

Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast vs Regular Coffee

Finally, I picked up a cup of regular Americano from the most regular of places, a 7-Eleven. Then, I sipped it side by side with my Dark Magic Roast

The idea is to compare my Dark Magic Roast with a regular cup of joe, especially those $1 coffees you can get from gas stations or convenience stores.

Undoubtedly, the Dark Magic Roast wins here, hands down. It just tastes much better, with more flavor depth and finish. It gives me more satisfying sips, too. 

On the other hand, the regular coffee tastes flat with uncharacteristic bitterness. The coffee also seems watery, suggesting underbrewing. 

Is Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast For You?

As a start, dark roasts are not for everyone. They are intense and bold and may punch your palate too hard, so you cannot enjoy them. I belong to this camp, preferring light and medium roasts.

However, I like my dark roasts with milk. Dark roasts can take in the creamy and slightly sweet flavors from them yet maintain their flavor integrity.

With the Green Mountain Dark Magic Roast, I would recommend you try it this way: to me, it tastes the best hot, with fresh milk. 

If you are a dark roast lover, the Dark Magic Roast will be a nice addition to your coffee collection, perhaps as a daily beater coffee. The kind you brew, sip to power up, and then get on with your day.

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