I Tasted Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Medium Roast: with photos

by Nigel Ong

I was looking for coffee to review online when Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast came up. I noticed that the coffee has hundreds of positive reviews. On top of that, I have never tried this coffee myself. 

This made me pick up a couple of their roasts and try them out. 

In this post, I will explore the taste notes, aroma, and overall drinking experience of Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast. I will also compare this coffee with other relevant coffee roasts and see if you should give this a try.

About Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast 

Kicking Horse Coffee was founded by Elana Rosenfeld and Leo Johnson in 1996 in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada. From a small, humble operation inside a garage, it has grown into one of Canada’s most beloved coffee roasters. 

Kicking Horse Coffee is known for their unique and playful branding. Each blend has a distinctive name and packaging, which resonates with consumers looking for a high-quality, ethically sourced coffee with personality.

Some of their popular blends include: 

  • Kick Ass: deep, dark, and delicious
  • Smart Ass: bright and fruity
  • Three Sisters: dried fruit, malt, coconut

Each blend has a distinct character, satisfying a range of coffee preferences.

The brand’s popularity can be attributed to its quality and ethical practices. Central to Kicking Horse Coffee’s ethos is its dedication to organic, Fair Trade coffee. 

This means their coffee beans are high quality and grown in a manner that supports the farmers and their communities.

First Impression

My bag of Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast is sturdy, with well-made packaging. The black color packaging and bright red logo make it clear that this is the Lucky Jim roast. 

The bright red logo is shaped like a ball with some stars inside. This reminds me of Dragon Ball. 

The coffee bag comes with what you expect from a proper coffee roaster. There are foldable tabs to help seal the coffee once you open it and a one-way valve to allow carbon dioxide to escape without letting outside air in. 

The seal protects the coffee but is also easy to open. You do not need to pull hard to open the coffee bag, making it easy to access the coffee inside. 

Once opened, the fragrant smell of coffee strikes my nose. It has a decent aroma and clearly indicates that my coffee arrives fresh and well-protected by the packaging.

The coffee smells fresh, with some soft chocolate notes. I also smell a bit of spice, but I am not sure. There are also a bit of nutty notes, perhaps pine nuts.

My coffee arrives as ground coffee, and it is quite coarse. They should work immediately with a French press, pour-over, and good old drip machine. You do need to grind them down a bit if you want to make Espresso.

How Does Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast Taste?

For brewing, I will brew the Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast in three ways:

French Press: French press is a popular, simple brewing style. It makes a murky, full-flavored coffee with many particles. This should allow me to sample the coffee ‘dirty’ in its full flavor.

Pour Over With Filter Paper: Like the French press, the pour-over method brews through filtration instead of immersion. 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 styles.

French Press

I brewed my French press using the Bodum Caffettiera French press. My brewing style and method are based on the recommendations of Illy Coffee.

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

My coffee smells inviting and beautiful, with chocolate and spicy notes. This coffee will be interesting to try. As I pour the coffee out from my French press, I can see that the coffee looks a bit dark in color with some slight transparency.

When I took my first sip, I noticed the overall earthiness of the coffee, with a bit of smoke. Not too much, though.

As the coffee sits inside my mouth, I can pick up a bit of spicy taste, probably nutmeg and cinnamon. It’s not bad at all and adds a bit of dimension of taste to the coffee.

The coffee finishes quite strong, too, leaving an aftertaste of slightly sweet notes on my tongue after I swallow the coffee. The sweetness has the quality of chocolate.

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 360ml of water. 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. 

I could pick up stronger flavor notes from the coffee with less smoke. I can definitely notice the chocolate notes. As I sip, I occasionally notice whiffs of spice. 

I still prefer the French press brew. However, enjoy a cleaner cup of coffee. You prefer the Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast pour-over style.


For Espresso, I relied on my Wacaco Minipresso GR to pull an espresso shot. This is a hand-held, manually-operated espresso maker.

I ground the coffee finer before packing it into the filter basket. Add hot water to the cup, assemble everything, and pump the Espresso. 

The result is a great espresso with rich, thick crema. When I smell the crema, it is lighter, without the charred, smoky smell most dark roast Espresso has. There are also some chocolatey and spicy notes in the crema. 

The coffee itself is not strong nor punchy like your regular Espresso. It is, instead, slightly acidic, with a spicy and nutty twist. 

The Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast makes a good, light, and easy Espresso, especially on a hotter day.

With Sugar And Sweetener

Next, I experimented with sweeteners, using the following:

  • Brown, coarse sugar 
  • Equal artificial sweetener

I brewed two French press cups of Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast. 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. This is less evident in the Equal cup.

Taste-wise, sugar, and sweetener accentuated the chocolate note and helped cut into some acidity. The sweetness also can stand out without competing with the coffee’s smoke, making the coffee more ‘clear’ and less ‘busy’ in its flavors.

With the Equal. The sweetness seems to come a bit later when I sip my coffee. I’ll get the smoke and earthy note before the sweetness comes in. 

The sweetness also stays for a long time, too long for my liking. It lingers on my palate long after I have swallowed the coffee. The whole experience is less natural, and I prefer the sugared version. 

With Milk And Creamer

Since fat is one of the most common flavorings people add to their coffee, I also tried them out at Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast. I have:

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

I added a shot (about 1 oz or 30ml) of milk into a 180ml cup of coffee. For the Coffee Mate, I added a stick of it to my cup, which is about two teaspoons.

Both milk and creamer turn the coffee murky and brownish. When stirring, I can sense more resistance on my spoon, signaling both milk and creamer to make the coffee thicker in texture.

As I sip, I find the coffee tasting softer and milder, with a rich, milky, creamy taste. The coffee also had a heavier and silkier texture, gliding in my mouth easily. 

This is a medium roast, which means it can handle a good amount of milk and creamer before losing its flavor. Feel free to be liberal with them.


Iced coffee is also quite popular, making me give the Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast a try 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 pouted the content out with the ice. In goes a straw, and I began sipping.

First impression? Not bad. The deep bittersweetness is welcoming, and there is nothing too awful with it, to be honest. Maybe within the bitterness, I can taste some nutty notes, pine nuts, perhaps?

Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast will probably not wow you chilled, but it would not shock you either. A decent package.

Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast vs. Other Kicking Horse Coffee

I have two Kicking Horse coffees with me right now, so I brewed the Lucky Jim Roast and the Grizzly Claw Roast as French press coffee and then sipped them side-by-side.

From here, I can immediately tell that the Grizzly Claw Roast is smoky, intense, and stronger than the Lucky Jim Roast. This makes sense since the Grizzly Claw Roast is dark. 

My palate prefers light and medium-roasted coffee, so I naturally gravitate towards the Lucky Jim Roast instead of the Grizzly Claw. 

Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast vs Medium Roasts

Next, I decided to sip the Lucky Jim Roast with other popular medium roasts I enjoy drinking. I pulled out these medium roasts:

  • Gevalia House Blend
  • Dunkin Original Blend
  • Starbucks House Blend
  • Lavazza Qualita Oro

Similar to how I tested other coffee roasts, I brewed them into French press coffee and then sampled them one after the other.

Lucky Jim Roast may not be the best of the bunch here, but it is competitive. I would rank it ahead of Starbucks and Lavazza’s roasts but behind Gevalia and Dunkin. 

Lucky Jim Roast is smoother and has clarity in flavor compared to the ones from Starbucks and Lavazza. I would like to say this may be from the beans, but I cannot confirm this since my Lucky Jim Roast came in the ground. 

Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast vs Regular Coffee

Finally, I want to compare the Lucky Jim Roast with a regular cup of coffee, especially those $1 cups you can pick up from gas stations or convenience stores.

I got myself a cup of regular Americano from 7-Eleven for comparison here.

The Lucky Jim Roast wins here. The coffee just has a better flavor and a more pleasant finish. The 7-E coffee is bitter, without much character, making it flat and boring.

Is Kicking Horse Coffee Lucky Jim Roast For You?

After brewing and sampling Kicking Horse Coffee’s Lucky Jim Roast, I would say this is medium-roast coffee with a bit of a twist. 

Instead of just going for a comfortable, predictable coffee flavor, I think Kicking Horse Coffee blended some slightly edgy flavors into the coffee. 

To me, these are the spicy and pine notes. Edgy notes usually attract extreme reactions; you either like it or don’t.

The Lucky Jim Roast is perhaps best if you do not mind experiencing some edgy, new flavors in your coffee.

However, suppose you only want a regular, predictable medium roast. In that case, you should stay away from Lucky Jim Coffee. Get those popular blends, such as those from McCafe, Dunkin, Gevalia, and Community Coffee.

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