This Yirgacheffe soared straight out of the pack, powered by flowers and spice in the aroma that carried into the cup with charm, depth and vivacity. Not powerful, but certainly intense, the complexity of nuance provoked enthusiastic (if decidedly non-technical) words of tribute: "Wow," wrote one; "sweet & intense -- awesome!" exclaimed another.
By Kenneth Davids
October 1st, 1999
A complete, balanced Ethiopia: sweet, full but light-footed, with a soft, floral-toned acidity. The flowers and citrus are delicate but complex, shimmering over a touch of darker tones. "... A good beginner 's coffee; not too bold ... balanced," wrote one panelist. The beginner 's adjective probably indicates why this attractive coffee failed to provoke a higher rating: It is a bit underpowered, fading quickly in the aftertaste. But I suspect that many American coffee drinkers will love this gentle, roundly nuanced coffee.
I found myself at odds with most of the panel on this balanced, low-key coffee. What I read (and enjoyed) as pleasant chocolate tones others apparently took as earthy or faintly dirty notes. Or so it seems. But everyone enjoyed the deeply dimensioned, nut-toned aroma.
A pleasantly sweet, balanced coffee free of vices but short on virtues: "sweet, not overpowering, but clean and bright," wrote one panelist. Best in the aroma, ornamented by agreeable innuendoes panelists variously described as herb, nut and spice. I found this coffee displayed an impressive chocolaty sweetness if approached with patience, but lacked range and dimension.
A richly high-toned, citrusy coffee shadowed by a faint defect. The aroma is sweet and floral, the cup brisk and lemony but dulled by a slight but persistent hardness. "Bright, juicy and citrusy, but cooled to dry and gritty," complained one panelist.
Panelist opinion was divided whether to call this Limu bland or (as one panelist put it) "comfortable." Most agreed that the aroma tended toward vanilla, berry and chocolate, that the acidity was bright and sweet, and that the cup was agreeably sweet but underpowered, perhaps shadowed by slight vegetal tones.
The nutty, sweet-herbal-toned aroma promised intrigue, but most panelists felt the cup disappointed: the acidity was a touch harsh, the flavor rather rough, the aftertaste astringent. Perhaps too much green, unripe coffee fruit made it to the bag.
Smooth, embellished with delicate fruit and floral tones, and understated -- apparently too understated for the panel. The herbal and spice notes in the aroma faded and turned vaguely tealike as the cup cooled. "Nice but unremarkable," one panelist wrote. "The interesting aroma was somewhat lost in the cup."
Floral notes shimmer above a chocolate-and-spice pungency. "Small but balanced flavor package" wrote one panelist. The "small" in that description may account for the relatively modest rating of this coffee. Or the weakness may reside in the ambiguity of the underlying pungency, which hinted at a slight hardness.
A borderline off-taste marred this otherwise fragrantly complex and intense coffee. The body in particular displayed an impressive tongue-coating, velvety persistence. Nevertheless, subdued but disturbing tones that panelists variously described as rough, harsh or fermented depressed the rating. "This might be a very good dark-roasted coffee," on panelist speculated. "The hardness might mellow out and the intensity of body and flavor develop nicely."
Panelists described a pleasant Ethiopia coffee with hints of citrus, spice, and perhaps something less pleasant: a faint but disturbing undertone described by one panelist as metallic, by another as medicinal, another as baggy or ropelike. Perhaps a slight fault in the drying.
Is this Ethiopia smooth, complex and gently authoritative, or slightly hard, grassy, and astringent? Either the panelists couldn 't make up their minds on this coffee or the coffee couldn 't make up its own mind. "Sweet, caramel, rootbeer," wrote another; but "cooled to unremarkable and astringent." I found this coffee chocolaty and rich on first impression, but a touch hard underneath, with a faintly bitter finish.