By Kenneth Davids
March 1st, 2000
Dry but not acidy, dominated by a pleasantly smoky-toned cocoa sensation that sweetens toward chocolate in the finish. As usual, the Swiss Water Process simultaneously deepens and dampens taste: The body is full but the flavor understated.
A symphony at the top of the profile: The acidy is sweetly ingratiating, the cup pleasingly light, delicately alive with fruit and floral tones. Flowers and citrus linger in the long, clean aftertaste. Not much in the bass range, however, except a smoky, pungent twist. Drink it hot; the splendid aromatics vanish quickly, leaving behind only pungent silence.
A pleasant, if odd-tasting, Kenya: full body, very little acidity, dominated by a sweet, rounded agreeably spicy flavor that suggests cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, even chicory. The most recognizable Kenya characteristic of this coffee is a deep, ringing dimension.
An uneven coffee, heartbreakingly uneven, given that some of the cups are extraordinary: exhilarating floral tones are balanced by a dry pungency, all wrapped in a comforting, enveloping sweetness. Other cups, however, lack the floral sweetness and are merely pungent bordering on bitter.
A subdued but gently satisfying Sumatra: clean, dry, low-toned fruit is bracketed by a shimmer of flowers at the top of the profile and a hint of pungency toward the bottom. Light-bodied and perhaps a bit shallow in dimension.
Bright rather than brisk. A classic combination of high-toned sweetness and gently dry acidity, animated by floral top notes. Only a faint touch of greenness or grassiness mars an otherwise fine American-style breakfast cup.
The bittersweet tang of the dark roast almost overwhelms the coffee, but agreeable if subdued wine-toned fruit notes survive. The finish flirts with the burned rubber sensation of faulty roasting, but the innate sweetness of the coffee prevails and turns the dubious taste vaguely but agreeably chocolate.