Donut Bank is an Evansville institution, established nearly 50 years ago. Of course, coffee and donuts go together like bacon and eggs, so they serve my favorite beverage by the gallon on a daily basis. However, I had never tried Donut Bank coffee, and since I broke my donut habit that one college summer when I worked as an assistant baker making literally thousands of donuts every day, I hadn’t been inside Donut Bank in years.
But I did note that they had added espresso drinks to their menu, and I wanted to find out just how serious they were about specialty coffee. Yes, I went to Donut Bank today.
I looked around for a big, shiny 3 group La Marzocco like you might find in a Starbucks, but none was to be seen. Instead, they had a pair of Franke super-automatic espresso machines that reduce making an espresso to pressing a button. My standard coffee is an Americano, so that’s what I ordered. They asked me what size I wanted, and when I inquired about my choices, they indicated 12 oz. or 20 0z. Wow! How much espresso in the 12 oz., I asked? One shot. Hmm, this didn’t sound promising, but I wanted to make an effort, so I asked if I could get my drink with 6.5 oz. of water instead of 12, which was fine.
It was hot, so I wanted several minutes for the coffee to cool to a sipping temperature. When I finally removed the lid and took a sip, I didn’t taste anything. There was something there, reminiscent of coffee, but it was indistinct. I might have been drinking watered-down coffee from a roadside lunch counter and would not have known any different. I took a few more sips, again trying to discern what I could from the coffee, but it just reflected bland, uninteresting and barely perceptible flavors. Undrinkable, by my standards.
Taking the cup home, I was able to determine at least a part of the problem. Their single shot Americano with 6.5 oz. of water clocked in at a measly .8% TDS. This coffee probably should have had at least 1 more shot to at least come up to brewed coffee strength, but as served, it was far too weak. I can only imagine that with a full 12 oz. of water, it would have barely tasted like anything at all!
Based on this experience, we won’t be adding Donut Bank to the Evansville Specialty Coffee Locator. While they have an espresso machine, Donut Bank cannot be considered a destination for specialty coffee aficionados. I’m sure plenty of people enjoy their coffee, just like plenty of people are happy with McDonald’s coffee. It’s just not what we’re about here, though. I’d love to see Donut Bank upgrade their entire approach to espresso, but it probably doesn’t fit their clientele. I hope we can still be friends, Donut Bank. Your blueberry donuts are wonderful.