coffee reviews

Bean Juice Review: Skaut

Skaut Coffee Roasters, Portland, OR
Hawk’s Nest – Medium Roast, Guatemala Single Origin
Tasting Notes: Smooth, Balanced, Nutty
Method: Pour over

The Look

My first impressions of Skaut is the blurb on the back. For a moment I thought, Is this a New York roasting company? But no, of course not, it’s local. The story is just about Hawk’s Nest, New York, which is fine, I suppose. It means almost nothing to me, as it is little more than a blurb about a place and not indicative of the coffee itself. It’s fine!

I wasn’t super impressed with the roast date, being nearly a month ago. That indicates to me that people aren’t buying these as much as other brands. Doesn’t mean too much though, as there are a lot of different brands to purchase from.

The thing that got me, though, was the glaringly obvious error or wrong label on the front of the package. You’ll notice that it says this is a 3lb bag. It’s not. It’s a 12oz bag. I weighed the beans myself because I thought I was going crazy. (To be fair, it is a perfect 340g, so good work on that weight.) I do think the fact that it said 3lbs influenced my decision to buy it, for a excellent price-to-pound ratio. What can I say, it was early, and my frontal lobe hadn’t fully activated.

I just now noticed that the edge of the label is camouflage, which is really not my thing, but whatever.

The Info

The Skaut website kind of annoys me. I want to learn more about the people making the coffee and their About page says “Meet the Makers,” but then you don’t actually meet the makers. They just talk about the coffee story. There’s just little blurbs at the bottom. Again with the blurbs!

But then! I did a little digging and found that you can pick up the beans at Pips & Bounce. Pips & Bounce? Why would you pick up coffee beans at a ping pong place featured on Shark Tank?

That’s when it clicked: the founder of Skaut is Eugene Jung, aka one-half of the duo that started Pips & Bounce. So, perhaps the lack of bios on the Skaut About page is because Eugene doesn’t want to draw too much attention to himself and his Shark Tank fame.

That said, I would still like to know a LOT more about the whole setup. Where do they roast? Inside Pips & Bounce? How do they get their beans? “Guatemala Single Origin” could mean so many things. Are they part of a coop? What’s the deal, bro?

I was able to find a bit of information about the coffee cultivation process, which is nice, but I want to know about the people growing it. I want to make sure that the coffee is ethically obtained. Just add some more blurbs, dude, about the people growing your coffee for you.

I did also find that Skaut has only been around for around three years, in its current incarnation at least. So they’re pushing and fighting their way for a stake in the wide variety of very excellent roasters in Portland. Good luck!

The Taste

Taste-wise, it has the nutty and smooth profile it says it does. It’s easy to drink and not trying anything bold or fruity or tangy. It’s veering slightly into ash tastes for me, but thankfully not enough to be put off by it. I suspect future cups won’t feature that as much. I might try brewing with the French press next time, as I bet this will lend itself better to an immersion brew, though that might also release more of the ashy taste.

Overall, a pleasant cup with some warm nutty notes, if a little ashy. I wish it was a 3lb bag for the same price. Oh well. 6/10