Reviews for January 4th, 2006

Review Date: Jan 2006

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The scent of blueberry fills the room simply in the act of grinding this explosively fragrant coffee. Blueberry continues richly to dominate the wet aroma, nuanced by hints of other low-acid fruit – peach perhaps, and chocolate. In the cup the fruit inclines more toward wine and a lush, minty chocolate, but the blueberry reasserts itself in the finish. Only in the long finish is there a hint of the serendipitous ferment responsible for much of this aromatic excitement. Probably as close to a perfect example of this coffee type as this imperfect world allows, tactfully roasted.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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Pure yet extravagant notes of coffee fruit and flowers themselves carry with breathtaking simplicity from aroma into the sweetly acidy cup. I don’t recall having experienced the taste of the coffee fruit (think sweetly tart cherries) and the voluptuous scent of the coffee flower (jasmine) so distinctly and so intensely. The slightly astringent finish and turn toward ripe tomato as the cup cools reveals that, at this writing, the coffee is perhaps a bit young, but drink it now because tomorrow it will be out the roaster door. Nominated by reader Herman Reichold who calls it “one of – if not the – best coffees I have had the pleasure to drink.”

Review Date: Jan 2006

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A big, deep, simple gesture of a coffee. Roundly resonant aroma with fresh-cut cedar and semi-sweet chocolate notes. Reveals a slight bitter edge in the cup, but remains fundamentally deep, rich and full-bodied, complicated by continuing cedar and raisin-toned dark chocolate notes.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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In the aroma the earthy scent of moist fallen leaves and sweet grapefruit, with a hint of semi-sweet chocolate. In the cup I couldn’t find the chocolate, but the fresh-turned, leafy earth tones and the sweet grapefruit intensified. The earth tones remain soft and free of hardness in the long, sweet finish. This is one of several Van Houtte coffees cited by reader Carolyn Jones, who simply testifies that Van Houtte has “awesome coffee!”

Review Date: Jan 2006

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A wonderfully deeply dimensioned coffee. Low-toned, resonant aroma complicated by vanilla, caramel and chocolate notes. In the cup roundly bittersweet, big-bodied, simple but lush. With patience vanilla and dark chocolate notes re-emerge. The finish is sweet and rich, though marred by a mild but distinct astringency. Reader Steve Prenzlauer nominated The Groovy Mind roasting company generally for its coffee quality and devotion to organic and Fair-Trade principles.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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Richly mid-toned aroma with sweet earth notes complicated by hints of caramel, chocolate and Mediterranean herbs. In the cup a lush sweetness envelopes intensified chocolate and caramel notes and continuing sweet earth and pungent herb tones, with a hint of grapefruity citrus. This complexity fades rather quickly in an otherwise pleasant finish. Nominating reader Al Welker cites this coffee as “very special giving a mellow low acid cup when roasted medium.”

Review Date: Jan 2006

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Impressively round, deep aroma with semi-sweet chocolate and hints of blueberry and fresh-cup cedar. Quiets in the cup, but the pleasing complex of semi-sweet chocolate, cedar and blueberry persists. Blueberry dominates the in the richly sweet though slightly astringent finish.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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Delicately fruity aroma, sweet cherry with a hint of chocolate. In the cup sweet, rich, surprisingly full-bodied, with a dry, wine-toned black currant fruit and a slight burned undercurrent. Sweetly rich short finish, but a hint of burned astringency shadows the long. This was the highest rated of three Starbucks coffees nominated and reviewed for this article.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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I found myself using the term “delicate” several times in describing this coffee: delicate coffee fruit tones in the aroma, delicate but smooth mouthfeel, and a delicately complex flavor: nuts, dried fruit (raisins perhaps) with hints of wine and semi-sweet chocolate. Roaster Bob Baker nominated this coffee, citing its “sweet, honey laden cup.”

Review Date: Jan 2006

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Intense aroma, very sweet in impression, with round blueberry, fresh leather and cedar notes. In the cup the roast turns the blueberry toward a rich chocolate, but also seems to develop an astringent edge to the cup. In the finish the lovely blueberry chocolate barely makes itself heard above the persistent astringency.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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A coffee whose uncompromisingly earthy character requires the same reorientation of conventional taste as do peaty malt whiskies. Distinct moist fallen leaf notes in the aroma with hints of sweet fruit ferment that with some imagination read as chocolate. In the cup the fallen leaf tones turn distinctly humus-like with continued hints of a sort of fermented chocolate. Medium body, syrupy mouthfeel. The chocolate notes persist in the finish, softening and complicating a hardish astringency.

Review Date: Jan 2006

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Delicate but intense aroma: sandalwood, hints of cherryish fruit. In the cup lean in mouthfeel; the aromatic wood notes settle toward chocolate while the fruit displays a distinct and pleasant grapefruit twist. The chocolate and fruit persist only momentarily in the finish before they are lost in astringency. Reader Frank Baker nominated this coffee as “a quintessential Sumatra, absolutely the best I have ever tasted.”