Gear Review: The Chain Breaker

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Not your typical review, but a review nonetheless. The first thing we triathletes need before any training can be contemplated is COFFEE! Learn how to make espresso for early morning workouts.

Being that I have no business giving reviews on bike components since I spend so much time on the bike, I thought I would instead be well qualified for a review such as this since I require only the best espresso for any type of cognizant activity upon waking up.

I was pleasantly surprised when our good friends at referred 53x11 Coffee to me.  One thing led to another and I received three, one pound bags of coffee in the mail.

53x11 Coffee is based in Tucson, Arizona.  Their website is They also run a little 'bed and breakfast for cyclists' called The Cycling House where they give staffed tours of the countryside.  I'm just waiting for a chance to do a review on that!

The Product

The Chain Breaker


The Maker

53x11 Coffee

The Price


The Rating


The Skinny

I never believed that my Starbuck's espresso bean could be rivaled.  The Chain Breaker is a veritable opponent.

The bean hunt
Over the years, I have tried many, many a bean.  Arabica, Caribou, Starbucks, local coffee shops (Cheryl's Daily Grind being one) and mail order to name a few.  Starbucks is the clear winner as far as espresso beans.  Now I will disclaim that I do not drink straight espresso...not too much of a man for that plus I don't want all that hair on my chest.  I like my espresso a little foo-foo'ed up in top Mocha form.  So the review will reflect my special recipe for using espresso beans that I have perfected over the years.

About 'The Chain Breaker'
The website specifically states "The Chain Breaker is here for those who feel the need for chain breaking speed. This is a darker roast made up of beans from three different regions. It is full bodied and smooth with a nice kick. It's also 100% Fair Trade and 100% Organic." That's all fine and dandy. 

The price is $11.95 per pound.  I pay $10.45 for Starbucks beans.  So the price is not too much of an issue.  No more than an extra $4.00 per month if you go through beans like I do.  Of course if you drink coffee like Stan the Java Man in the MadTV episodes, it may be a consideration.

Don't run out!
For someone like me who tells their wife that "I'm getting low on beans" as I then use the last of the bag, using the 'Coffee Club' delivery service that they have available would be a great option rather then risk having a morning with just 'normal' coffee.

But really...
An espresso bean really comes down to taste and aroma.  That's all that matters.  The Chain Breaker does not disappoint.

The above video is pretty much the bulk of the review.  Below are some supplemental pictures.

Close-ups on the bean.  Left is The Chain Breaker, Right is Starbucks


Yummy!  Taste testing has confirmed that The Chain Breaker is an excellent espresso bean worthy of your distinguishing palate.




The Chain Breaker -  




Bean Aroma

Great!  It has the pungent, skunk-like aroma inherent of good espresso beans.


Very dark, black.  No hints of brown which would indicate a bad roast, or more of a 'coffee' roast.


The oiliness comes from the darker roast, it is also an indicator of freshness from my experience.  When the beans lose their oiliness, they have lost their freshness.  Typically this happens a week or two after opening a fresh bag.  If you search the web on espresso beans, being oily is a requirement!

Ground Aroma





The beans made an excellent coffee.


At $11.95, this is not much of a difference compared to my local bean.
Overall   Close enough to a '5'.
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date: May 17, 2007