An exceptionally luxuriant cup, from the deep, vibrant bottom to the lush but muted acidity. I particularly admire this coffee's dimension, the way it continues to develop in waves of gentle revelation from aroma through finish. The problem: as the coffee cools the fruit tones turn slightly overripe and gamey. The positive fruit and complexity come from the same place as the suspect gaminess, of course: One of the blend components is probably a small-grower, hand-processed coffee, probably either an Indonesia Sulawesi or Ethiopia.
By Kenneth Davids
December 1st, 1997
Solid from top to bottom. The power in the lower ranges is particularly impressive for a coffee brought to a medium roast. Don't look for tickle, inspiration or sweetness, however. The grace notes, if any, tend toward herb or tobacco.
The exhilaratingly bright, complexly winy acidity turns slightly hard and herbal as it settles on the palate, limiting the vivacity of the first impression. As the coffee cools the profile relaxes, allowing some rich sweetness to emerge behind the acidity.
Rich, round, complete. The aroma in particular displayed an impressive range, from sweet nut tones through a dark pungency. This pleasing bittersweet balance prevailed through to finish. A good example of a coffee brought to a darkish roast style tactfully enough to avoid carbon while maintaining sweetness. Little discernible acidity, but enough to keep the profile from going flat.
Hints of carbon mar an otherwise expansive profile: Sweet, light nuance at the top with a touch of wine in the acidity; suggestions of dark-roast pungency near the bottom. The complexity fades and carbon dominates in the aftertaste.
A dark-roast on the dry side. Preserves some of the bright, acidy tones of lighter roasts, balancing them with prune and tobacco in the mid ranges. No carbon, but not much sweetness either. Good range from top to middle of the profile, but short on depth and dimension.
Bean-size aside, everything in this coffee walks the middle, from the subdued vanilla-nut complex in the aroma, through the clear but unemphatic acidity in the cup, to the clean aftertaste. Unfortunately, no resonance at the bottom of the profile, no shimmers at the top, no development in the finish. Satisfying but limited.
The elements of the dark-roast complex -- sweetness, pungency and carbon -- all work together smoothly here until the aftertaste, when carbon tones linger past any memory of sweetness. Until that moment, this coffee achieves an unassuming dark-roast completeness.
Dominated by a pruny, rather heavy pungency at the heart of the profile, livened by only a faint shimmer of acidity. Not quite enough sweetness to balance the pungency or acidity to brighten it. The grace notes tend toward the dry and herbal.