By Kenneth Davids
June 2nd, 2003
A quintessential Kenya: sweetly and richly acidy, the cup complicated by the crisp, complex, dry fruit notes characteristic of Kenyas: grapefruit, black currant, black cherry. The finish is dryly tart but clean.
Aging apparently tamed the acidity and turned it low-key but vibrant. Rich, cherry and red-wine notes hint at chocolate with patient drinking. A shadow bitterness can be taken as either marring or balancing the opulence of the fruit.
Lovely balanced, low-toned, bittersweet, richly understated cup. A slightly darker-than-supermarket-norm roast mellows the acidity nicely and nudges the fruit toward chocolate. The finish is a touch bitter.
Apparently the blender who created this faux Kona aimed at a richly sweet, winy, roundly fruit-toned cup. He or she largely succeeded, though the success is marred by very mild but flavor-flattening mildew tones.
A fine monsooned Malabar with the usual low acidity and heavy body of this exotic origin, but here, in a skillfully executed light-roast style, unusually sweet with complex nuance: low-toned cantaloupe-like fruit and a pungent, gingery mustiness that easily reads as nut, and, with imagination, as malty toned chocolate.
Sweet, mid-toned, with a lively but unobtrusive acidity. Distinct vanilla notes in both aroma and cup and richly dry fruit notes, dried apricot or plum, in the cup. The finish is rich but rather astringent and heavy.
This coffee provides about half the virtue of a great Sumatra: the full body and low-toned profile are here, but the vibrant dimension and complex nuance are missing. The cup is a bit monotoned and heavy rather than rich. Some bittersweet chocolate in the finish.
Either the green coffee was not up to the dark roast style, or the roast was conducted too aggressively: the roast dominates, producing a pungent and bitterly monotoned cup, with little to no nuance. The cup rounds and softens a bit as it cools, turning tenuously bittersweet.
An example of what coffee professionals call a dirty or uneven coffee. At best nutty, midtoned, rather monotoned, without much bounce or resilience. At worst some cups displayed a rather unpleasant ferment while others were woody and cloyingly peanutty.