A complex, subtly nuanced coffee, light-bodied but softly and sweetly acidy, embellished with fruit and pronounced chocolate tones. I tasted papaya in the finish. "Deep & lush," wrote one panelist on aroma. "Slight tobacco. Leafy." Apparently balance and seductive grace notes carried this delicate coffee to the top of the ratings.
By Kenneth Davids
August 1st, 1999
A striking one-third of the panelists described the aftertaste of this sweet, clean, fruit-toned coffee as "resonant," a seldom-chosen term. That response may suggest why this coffee scored the second-highest rating in the cupping despite its limited nuance. It displayed impressive dimension, an echoing space around and behind initial sensation.
This complex, fruity, softly intense coffee unleashed a torrent of description from the panel. On aroma: "sweet cocoa, dried cherries"; "very strong & fruity." Descriptions of acidity included sweet, floral, fruity. Body: buttery yet light. Cup: fruity, sweet, "strong honey notes, very nice, very different." The odd intensity of this coffee, arresting yet restrained, disturbed two panelists: "Some may call this coffee pleasingly complex, but I find it a little wild," declared one. Count me in the pleasingly complex camp. I loved this coffee.
Lots of praise for the fruity nose, but the cup failed to excite and the aftertaste disappointed. Overall, panelists found little to either condemn or admire. I felt the coffee had been cleanly processed but still emerged flat.
A promising coffee shadowed by inconsistency. The good cups: sweet, full, deep, but alive with a pleasing shimmer of acidity. The bad: full and sweet but monotoned, flat, with a disturbing hint of astringency in aftertaste.
An intriguing, complexly nuanced coffee that suffered from inconsistency. Panelists responded positively to its richly nutty aroma and sweet floral and fruit notes. A disturbing astringency surfaced in some cups, however, depressing the final rating.
Distinct chocolate or sweet cocoa notes provide the main intrigue in this soft, fragrant coffee. "Buttery toffee, love it!" exclaimed one panelist. The rather thinnish body is probably what relegated this nicely nuanced coffee to the middle of the ratings.
A wildly inconsistent coffee. A taste defect, probably ferment, ran intermittently through the sample, popping up here and there with varying degrees of intensity, ruining a sweet, bright, nut-toned cup. Five panelists considered the defect sufficiently pervasive to dismiss the sample. Five more objected more generally, their complaints ranging from "rough" to "unrefined."
The subtle balance of sweetness, acidity and softly ingratiating fruit notes are promising for espresso. The thin, underdeveloped body and herbal and grassy notes are not. Grassiness is a typical sign of a coffee rushed from processing to cupping table. Perhaps, with longer repose, this coffee will round out and lose its green edge.
I have to assume that our sample of this generally understated, rich, but rather inert coffee was dramatically inconsistent. I detected a teasing, off-again, on-again defect in my sample, probably hard ferment. I wasn 't alone: "dusty; something funky," wrote another. Others found their sample simply bland or "non-descript." Two admired their samples, however, responding positively to the round, rich promise of the clean upside of the profile.
A full though monotoned coffee with a fruity but rather inert sweetness. Two panelists suspected from the flat profile that the coffee was from last year 's crop ("Oldish; past crop?"). In fact, this is a current crop coffee. I also suspect storage problems of some kind: The "sourish undertone" that one cupper complained about tasted like bagginess to me, a fault that often comes from contact with moisture after processing.
"Inconsistent, dull sweetness," reported one cupper, which pretty much summed up consensus on this coffee, although a couple of panelists admired its soft fruit, peach-like tones. Three of us detected an outright defect, probably hard ferment.