About half the cups of this low-toned but forceful blend hint at the taste defect called bagginess, a flat, ropey taste green coffee acquires when it has not been fully cured before shipping or stored properly. The cups free of defect display a subdued intensity powered by a spicy, edge-of-astringent pungency.
By Kenneth Davids
October 1st, 1998
Some cups of the sample are marred by a slight but distracting hardness, probably a fault in either drying or storage of the green coffee. The untainted cups are gentle, chocolaty and sweet, with a touch, perhaps, of flowers.
It is a measure of this coffee's complexity that every time I returned to the cup it provoked new adjectives. Winy (the favorite), pungent and smoky, vanilla overtones, and in the finish sweetness, prune and chocolate. The body is rather full for a Kenya, and the cup almost shockingly rich. Like all great Kenyas this one keeps shifting and building complexity from first impression through aftertaste.
An unusually light-bodied, high-toned Guatemala, distinguished by a clean, bright acidity and sweet flowers in the finish. A hint of sweet spice or perhaps chocolate-toned fruitiness resonates under the flowers.
Restrained, low-toned, rather full-bodied, but not flat. In fact, alive with understated nuance: some tobacco tones, a full, dry spice impression that could be called chocolate; perhaps a hint of fruit or wine in the round finish. The aftertaste leaves a balanced memory of chocolate sweetness and dry tobacco.
A natural, vanilla-toned sweetness distinguishes a low-key but lively profile. Nut and spice notes complicate the vanilla sweetness in the aroma, but by finish and aftertaste the vanilla gently (and pleasingly) dominates. Little range or dimension; the vanilla is the main act.
Floral, fruity tones dominate, modulating to a sweet spiciness in the finish. The fruit reasserts itself in the long aftertaste. The fruitiness flirts with the over-the-top lush taste called ferment, but to my palate remains on the fresh, pleasing side of the fruit-ferment line.
The winy acidity characteristic of Kenyas here is pungent and deep, without a trace of fruit or shimmer of berry. It is possible the coffee has faded a bit in storage. Still, a powerful coffee that offers an interesting twist to the Kenya theme.
It is interesting. The solid, rather simple profile is centered on a deep, mouth-filling, pungent richness. Buried in the pungency is an odd but not unpleasant note that I don't quite remember tasting in coffee: a sort of dry saltiness.