Three palettes. Three brewing methods. We tasted Saudade Coffee's Portimão roast...and we're asking for more!
Buondi. Nicola. Sical. When you think of coffee in Portugal, these are the brands you know and recognize as some of the country’s most popular coffee producers. And you’ve seen their names all over the country—plastered on coffee cups, cafe umbrellas, napkin holders, beach accessories.
Saudade Coffee brings Portuguese-roasted coffee beans to U.S.
And when you’re missing that early morning bica (coffee) from that quaint Portuguese cafe you fell in love with, coffee lovers can find these brands in specialty Portuguese markets. But now, there’s a new way to “mata saudades” of Portuguese coffee. Saudade Coffee is a Los Angeles-based online coffee company that brings premium coffee — Portuguese style — to the U.S.
Inspired by a trip to Portugal and a longtime aspiration to actively share the Portuguese culture she grew up with, Chantal Barlow, along with her wife and business partner, Tiffany, launched Saudade Coffee. Their imported premium coffee roasted in Portugal features the flavor profiles that first enamored them with Portuguese coffee: The Cascais, a light roast with floral and citrus aromatics; The Lisbon, a bold medium-dark roast with hints of dark chocolate and roasted nuts; and The Portimão, a vibrant medium-dark roast with notes of brown sugar and caramel.
The Algarve in your coffee cup
We had the wonderful opportunity to sample the Portimão roast and are happy to report, it made for one delicious cup of joe…or would that be a cup of João in Portuguese?
“The Portimão” was named after Chantal’s mother’s birthplace, the port city of Portimão located in the Algarve region of Portugal. It promises caramel and brown sugar aromatics for a deep flavor but gentle awakening. Saudade Coffee encourages morning coffee brewers to enhance Portimão’s flavors by preparing it with the pour over method, or alternatively, using a stovetop percolator or French press.
Treat yourself to a batch of Saudade Coffee's Portimão coffee roast in our online Portuguese gift store! And check out our review below to find out how this exquisite blend roasted in Portugal (the best place ever!) matches your palette.
To give you an unbiased review, I invited a few friends of mine to taste a batch of Saudade Coffee with me. They represent a range of coffee preferences and one has previously tasted Portuguese coffee so they're bringing some insider knowledge with them.
Tasting Saudade Coffee's Portimão roast
Let me introduce my wonderful crew and their coffee profiles.
Light Roast - Katie
Katie, my good friend of over five years and my São Miguel travel buddy, enjoys light roast coffee, preferably with notes of fruit and caramel. She seeks out small batch coffee from local roasters in San Diego and takes her coffee with cream, no sugar.
Medium Roast - Gabrielle (me)
Personally, I lean towards medium and medium/dark roast coffee. Robust coffees with natural notes of caramel and berries (not artificial flavoring) are my jam. I take my coffee with a dash of half and half, no sugar. I also enjoy straight espresso with a bit of sugar or cut with milk (aka um café pingado in Portugal).
Dark Roast - Luis
Luis is also a good friend of mine, (and no, he’s not one of the many Luis Filipe’s), who has a penchant for dark roast coffee and espresso. He likes notes of chocolate and smokey undertones. He tops his coffee with a light splash of cream.
To achieve a well-rounded taste test, we prepared Saudade Coffee’s Portimão roast using various methods including pour over, a regular coffee pot, and a stove-top percolator (also called a Moka Pot). Here are the results!
Note: For all preparation methods, we used medium ground coffee beans.
The pour over method resulted in a cup of coffee that was most true to Saudade Coffee’s description of a roast with notes of brown sugar and caramel. When we added a bit of half and half, it brought out a slight chocolatey flavor as well. Our coffee was light in color and not as robust as expected. Overall, it tasted like a light-medium roast coffee.
For this particular preparation method, we also experimented brewing the coffee with fine grounds, which completely enhanced the taste. We were really impressed with the second batch. This cup of coffee was full bodied and robust in taste. It also looked truer to a medium-dark roast. If anything, the brown sugar and caramel flavors were a little less distinct.
Regular Coffee Pot
When brewing the Portimão roast using a good ol’ coffee pot, we ended up with a very full-bodied cup of coffee that left a lingering taste (the good kind) at the back of your tongue. This method also yielded coffee with notes of brown sugar and caramel, though not quite as pronounced as with the pour over method.
Stovetop Percolator (Moka Pot)
Lastly, we prepared the Portimão roast using a stovetop percolator, admittedly a nostalgic way of brewing coffee that, for us, produces inconsistent coffee results. This particular batch was very dark in color and tasted slightly burnt — specifically like lightly burnt caramel. Though still tasty, it overpowered any notes of brown sugar.
By adding a hefty dash of half and half, we ended up with a full-bodied cup of coffee that was creamy and comforting, while slightly sweet with a hint of smokiness.
Portimão is perfect for medium-dark roast lovers
So what's the consensus? Saudade Coffee’s Portimão coffee is a great match for those who enjoy medium and dark roast coffees. If you prefer a light roast, as Katie does, this isn’t for you — unless you’re looking for a real strong cup of coffee on a brisk fall day.
As coffee drinkers who enjoy medium and dark roasts, Luis and I loved this roast! For the most part, we achieved a robust tasting cup of coffee that delivers on the advertised brown sugar and caramel notes. If you drink your coffee black, the Portimão falls closer to medium than dark on the spectrum of coffee roasts.
The Portimão’s delicate sweetness is enhanced when you add milk or half and half. Though if you enjoy flavored creamers, you’ll mask the Portimão’s natural taste.
As we wrapped up our morning of coffee tasting, Luis revealed that “the pour over method was my favorite because it brought out the full-bodied flavor of this coffee the most. I’ve never tasted Portuguese coffee, but I’d definitely drink this again!”
Enjoy Portuguese coffee and support a small business
We’d like to give a big thank you to Saudade Coffee for giving us the chance to enjoy a taste of Portugal with their specialty coffee and share this review with all of you. You can purchase a 12 oz. bag of the Portimão in our online Portuguese gift store or sign up for a monthly subscription at Saudade Coffee.
It makes us incredibly happy to see another small business doing what they love while bringing a little bit of Portugal to your day — or your cup we should say.
Need a new coffee mug to hold your freshly brewed cup of Portimão coffee? These are a few of our favorites on Etsy. If you purchase one, we may receive a small commission for being an affiliate partner. Thank you for supporting small business!