Everything happens in the higher registers here, and a lot does. A wonderful, dry/sweet complex, almost effervescent, lifts the heart of this light, bright coffee. An amazing range of grace notes shimmer in the higher registers: dry chocolate, herb, even a suggestion of vanilla in the finish. I had to strain to find a hint of Red Sea gaminess amid all the aromatic action; it may have shown up in the long, subtly complex aftertaste. Hard to believe so much complexity made it through the decaffeination process. Perhaps a good Yemen coffee is so intense that the muting effect of decaffeination actually helps by mellowing it a bit.
By Kenneth Davids
January 1st, 1998
One of the most successful Mocha-Javas in the cupping, this one opens with a shiver of rank Red Sea wildness, which almost immediately gives way to a swelling, lyrical fruitiness that persists sweetly and richly through the high-toned finish. A hint of the rankness resurfaces in the aftertaste. The pleasure here is almost entirely in the complex top of the profile; the bottom is a bit weak and underpowered.
Clean and decisive profile, but a bit too much wallop and not quite enough tickle. Little sweetness or nuance. Some dimension, but a rather hard, winy (not fruity) acidity dominates, sitting on the rest of the profile.
The strength of this excellent Mocha-Java is in the full, rich body and complex bottom. The low notes remain alive, complicating and deepening through the finish. Not much lift or sweetness at the top, however. The only grace notes I detected were a touch of carbon and some heavy pruniness.
A rather complex dark-roast cup. Clear carbon, but the roast was conducted with enough deliberation to preserve some richness and a touch of sweetness. The most engaging complication was in the dry center of the profile: a pruny, complex pungency that read as chocolate in the aroma. The carbon reasserted itself in the aftertaste.
Once again, a rather flat astringency, a sort of strident monotone, dominates the center of the profile, abetted in this case by a touch of carbony sharpness. Some fruit and sweetness, though the grace notes tend toward the tobacco and herb.
A rather rough ride. The first impression is complex, but not entirely pleasantly so: a hard, ropey sensation sits on the profile. Behind and around the hard center a bracing, fruity richness opens, but we never get completely out from under the hardness, which, among other things, seems to depress the sweetness in the fruit.
This coffee was roasted so darkly and probably at such high temperatures that little was left to taste except overwhelming carbon plus a hint of high, singing sweetness that emerged in aroma and finish. The green coffee the roastmaster started with may well have been excellent, but the roast certainly wasn't.