"An absolutely mind-blowing coffee" for co-cupper Andy Newbom (93). "Utterly pure yet soaringly intense," for Ken (97). "Say fruit ten times," Andy reports, and then he does, mainly variations of grapefruit, apricot and melon with green apple and Bartlett pear thrown in for the finish. For Ken that entire nuance is wrapped up in the extraordinary, singular explosion of cedary, pungently sweet berry, the quintessential Bourbon character. The acidity is enveloped in sweetness; in Andy's colorful language it "startles and snuggles all at once." For mouthfeel Andy suggests "crème fraîche Meyer lemon chiffon"; Ken sticks with a pedestrian "syrupy." Ken awarded a perfect 10 to the long, balanced, deeply flavor-saturated finish.
By Kenneth Davids
July 5th, 2009
Co-cupper Andy Newbom (94) admired this pungent yet lushly sweet Bourbon slightly more than Ken (92) did. Certainly Andy found more ways to describe its engaging contrast of lush sweetness and almost savory spice. For Andy "root beer, lemon peel" in the aroma, "fruit leather" in the acidity; a "complex blend of tangerine and cinnamon oil, clarified butter and sweet red pepper rounding into guava and gooseberry" in the cup, plus "hints of cocoa nib." The finish impressively resolved the pungent/sweet paradox running through the profile: "astoundingly clear and bell-toned" for Andy; "long, sweetly flavor-saturated" for Ken.
Same admiring scores from Ken (93) and co-cupper Andy Newbom (93) for this smoothly complete, complexly balanced coffee. "Sweet fruit and spice" in the aroma for Andy, which provokes ideas of "stewed jasmine and apricots." Ken finds flowers and apricot also, along with a little pungent note he calls butterscotch. The acidity is "smoothly delicate" for Ken, "luxurious and suave" for Andy, who suggests the acidity "combined the best of both red and golden apples." Refined flavor with a fine balance of dry and sweet fruit tones. Andy elaborates with an avalanche of allusions to apricot, casaba melon and "touches of red currant and candied grapefruit." Rich, deep, "long and glorious" (Andy) finish.
Both Ken (93) and co-cupper Andy Newbom (92) admired the deep, profoundly fruit-toned character of this coffee. "Very sweet, richly but discreetly fruity coffee" for Ken, displaying "butter, honey, nut, aromatic wood, night flowers, a hint of herb." Andy read more excitement and less discretion in the fruit character, in which (prepare yourself) "a menage a trois of raisins, dates and butterscotch got together with tangerine, clover honey and some lemons and raspberries and threw the sexiest block part ever." Incidentally, sweetly bright acidity, "round and juicy" (Andy) mouthfeel, and a finish that resolved the profile with profound sweetness and "the slightest hint of savory complexity" (also Andy).
Co-cupper Andy Newbom (92) and Ken (91) both found ways to admire this Kenya. Andy's descriptors circle enthusiastically around flowers and citrus; "gardenia and lemon-blossom" in the aroma, "pears - orange butter and complex mild citrus" together with "gardenia and rose" in the cup. Ken reported parallel, if more generalized, descriptors of black currant, blackberry and hints of lemon, aromatic wood and night flowers. The mouthfeel was "fat and silky" for Ken, "creamy and fruity" for Andy. Ken was slightly disappointed by what he felt was a slight astringent imbalance in the finish, which for Andy was "long ... smooth and lingered romantically."
Both co-cupper Andy Newbom (90) and Ken (90) emphasized the crisp acidity and balanced structure of this aromatically rather quiet coffee. "Exquisite crisp green-apple acidity with a touch of kiwi skin" and a "nicely smooth mouthfeel with a bit of a fruit leather feeling" for Andy, who found the green apple carrying into the flavor. For Ken the gently acidy tendency in the flavor suggested dry berry and lemon; both Andy and Ken noted a hint of cocoa nib, a vegetable-toned chocolate. More green apple in the finish for Andy while Ken simply describes a pleasing tart sweetness.
"It's sweet," reports co-cupper Andy Newbom (90); Ken (90) agrees, though Ken is most impressed by the way sweetness is balanced by a deep pungency. Perhaps that's what Andy is describing when he cites "Warm peaches and apple blossoms with hints of dark cherry" in the aroma. Lemon figures prominently in Andy's descriptors of acidity and cup, tart berry in Ken's. Both find suggestions of cocoa nibs, chocolate, and cassis. Andy finds "an intriguing lavender ... note" in a finish that Ken describes more generally as "sweet, rich and deep."
For Ken (90) and co-cupper Andy Newbom (88) "A classic and lovely El Salvador Bourbon with an intriguing twist at the end" (Andy). Pre-twist, Ken's more general descriptions emphasize dry raisiny fruit, nut, and flowers, whereas Andy's descriptors are more specific, not to mention more extravagant: "sweet dried nectarines and hibiscus" in the aroma, "flavors of stone fruits with apricot leading, hints of yellow pear and apple, a touch of soft lemonosity" in the cup, "honey ... chocolate ... peach" in the finish. As the cup cooled the twist at the end emerged. The hints of nut that Ken cited blossomed into a very explicit, dominating nut character with notes that Andy identified as "cashew and almond."
For co-cupper Andy Newbom (88) "dried peaches and a hint of prunes struggle to open into dark chocolate" in the cup. For Ken (89) the sweet dried fruit notes actually make it to dark chocolate, albeit a "berry-toned" version. Similarly, Ken tastes the good side of the finish, citing "long, deep, dry berry notes," whereas for Andy an attractive "dried fruit sweetness" in the finish was compromised by "hard mineral fruit notes." Both noted a "soft citrus" [Andy] acidity and a full but slightly rough mouthfeel.
Co-cupper Andy Newbom (91) found much to praise (and describe) in this "complex and serious" (Andy) coffee: spice, vanilla and chocolate in the aroma, peach and grape influence in the balanced acidity, more spice and molasses together with lemon and orange zest notes in the cup. "Full and sensual" mouthfeel. Ken's (88) notes suggest he agreed with Andy on the seriousness of this coffee but harbored some reservations about its complexity. Ken found it "crisp, quiet, intense," with night flowers and dry berry notes in the cup and a simple though rich finish.
Enthusiastic co-cupper Andy Newbom (89) found this deep, chocolate-leaning coffee luxurious ("sweet and heavy lidded aroma"), balanced ("all-over tongue-hugger"), and complex ("smooth and sultry dark chocolate ... with a hint of lemon/orange and a dash of florals)." Ken (88) noted a pungent fruit that definitely suggested a nut- and peach-toned dark chocolate, but found a bit less complexity than did Andy.
Plush, extravagant fruit aromatics. Co-cupper Andy Newbom (89) praised the "absolutely glorious citrus and heavy florals" in the aroma; Ken (88) a - "lush fruit, flowers, a hint of cocoa." For both the acidity was delicate and clean, the mouthfeel "buttery" (Andy). Andy energetically reported on flavor: "high notes of lemon and grapefruit that explode into raw cocoa." However, both Ken and Andy found a slight hard sensation haunting cup and finish, dampening the explosive aromatics.