By Kenneth Davids
April 2nd, 2004
An understated coffee that rewards attention to its gentle virtues. Sweetly balanced roastiness and rich papaya-toned fruit in the aroma; in the cup delicately complex and quietly lush with low-toned, carnal fruit: apricot and papaya.
Delicately rich, with a shimmer of flowers in the aroma, pear deepening toward cherry and chocolate in the cup. Sweet, softly complex finish. The sample I cupped probably was delivered slightly stale from the restaurant; a fresh sample of the same coffee might well merit a higher rating.
Sweet, balanced, round, with a hint of roastiness and a subtle, shifting bouquet of flowers, fresh leather, spice and apricot that deepen toward chocolate in the cup. As the cup cools it simplifies slightly, turning the fruit a touch shallow and tart.
Rather simple aroma but fine, deep, roasty dimension with distinct dark chocolate notes. In the cup roundly roasty with a tickle of acidity and chocolate and prune-toned fruit. A touch sharp when hot but softens and sweetens as it cools.
Elegant, balanced dark roast: Comfortably sweet with a shimmer of acidity and a hint of roastiness. The bittersweet chocolate and pineapple notes in the aroma deepen and round congenially in the cup.
Balanced and roundly high-toned. Slightly roasty, gently acidy. Papaya and fresh leather notes in the aroma; papaya and dark chocolate in the cup. A tickle of astringency in the long finish.
Impressively complex ultra-dark roast: The roast tones are sweet and rather restrained in the aroma, complicated by fresh leather and apricot. In the cup they turn rich, full-throated and bittersweet. The finish is a touch heavy and astringent, inevitable in a roast this dark.
Roasty and sweetly and gently charred, with a hint of fermented fruit that under the influence of the roast suggests a spicily aromatic chocolate - imagine bittersweet chocolate stored in charred cedar. Rich finish with a tingle of astringency.
The chicory in this moderately dark-roasted blend announces itself tactfully but distinctly in the peppery mouthfeel, spicy, resiny notes (think rosemary stored in a scorched cedar box), with a hint of round, slightly, salty fruit underneath - Chinese salt plums perhaps.
The cup gives an impression of both thinness and richness. Overripe fruit - peaches perhaps - settle toward an agreeable but pungent chocolate. Two cups of five were bitter, suggesting that the pleasant intrigue of overripe-fruit-cum-chocolate was induced by a slightly fermented component to the blend.
Predictable ultra-dark roast: intense and pungent with an edge of charred cedar in the aroma; in the cup thin in mouthfeel and sweetly charred, with a mildly astringent finish that lovers of this style of roast will find bracing.