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New Coffees October 2019 (Part 2)

New Coffees October 2019 (Part 2)

by Tom Wilkinson

1.Colombia - Luz Chasoy, Finca Bella Vista

Honey process / Colombia and Caturra Arabicas/ 1904m

Farmer Dona Luz Mila manages her family farm Bella Vista (beautiful view) deep within an indigenous reserve in the municipality of Buesaco which was home to the northernmost part of the famous Inca Empire. Unusually for Colombian coffee, she honey processes all of her lots; in this case under specially created greenhouses for up to 30 days to create extra flavour and complexity. The result is well worth the extra effort! At Dark Woods we are privileged to have regular access to some exceptional Colombian coffees and our house filter from El Jordan is easily my most drunk and widely enjoyed brew. I love the clarity of flavour and exceptional balance that this origin is capable of and though this is traditionally accentuated by the choice of washed processing, here we have the opportunity to present something with a little more fruit and it's all down the hard work of Dona and her team.

As a filter coffee expect complex and fruity acidity that is juicy and incredibly clean, reminding me of both soft clementine and zesty lime. The body is silky and there is a lovely sticky sweetness that resembles golden syrup. Brewed as espresso it is medium bodied with a mouth watering brightness and plenty of supporting sweetness. There is also is a delicious spicy, cakiness in both the a flavour and aroma that I really love (think allspice, tea loaf and date laden sticky toffee pudding)  that translates into an incredibly comforting and super-sweet milk flat white or latte.

Tasting notes - Clementine, golden syrup, allspice, lime

Suitable for - All brewing methods

2.El Salvador - Finca Pena Redonda

Honey process / 100% Pacamara Arabica/ 1500-1550m

I was extremely pleased to see this coffee arrive as their naturally processed example from last year was one of my highlights of 2018. Despite suffering from rocky and challenging terrain, farmer Carlos Mauricio Lemus Landaverde has proved a capable ambassador for the quality potential for this region. He farms around 4 acres of Pacamara, 4 of Pacas and 3/4 acre of Borubon here and his coffees have placed in El Salvador's annual Cup of Excellence competition 4 years running. Pacamara is a hybrid of the Pacas and Maragoygpe varietal and tends to produce large, dense beans with a distinct sweet/savoury character.

Right from the off I found this coffee exceptionally easy to work across a variety of brewing methods. It is syrupy-sweet and full bodied with a moderate and characterful acidity that reminded me of damson, even carrying a hint of the floral/perfume quality found in this mellow autumn fruit. In the cup also expect sweet milk chocolate and a candied nuttiness that to me is reminiscent of hazelnut brittle. I must admit that unlike with past Pacamaras or Maragogypes that we've stocked, I don't detect much in the way of the variety's fabled savoury edge but in milk it's possible that there is a hint of salted caramel (though this may of course have been wishful thinking!) This coffee makes an extremely delicious espresso pairs really well with milk and I recommend it highly as a guest coffee that will offer a point of difference without resorting to excessive fruitiness to do so.

Tasting Notes - Damson, chocolate, hazelnut brittle, syrupy

Suitable for - All brewing methods

3.Yemen - Mohammed Mosleh Ghalab

Honey process / 100% Pacamara Arabica/ 1500-1550m

We are delighted to offer the first of two single farmer micro-lots from Yemen which are both in their own way exceptional examples of this famous and historically significant coffee growing region. Arguably the first place where coffee was ever deliberately cultivated, the high-altitude and steeply terraced farms of Yemen produced coffee that was then traded by the Ottamans into Europe and ultimately drove a culture and a consumption that led to the spread of coffee cultivation world wide. The Yemeni port of Al Mokha was the gateway to the Arabic coffee world and it gave its name to the mocha, now a popular combination of chocolate and coffee that is consumed around the globe. The Arabic word "qawha" meaning wine is seen as the derivation of the term "coffee" and even the chosen name for our most consumed species of coffee (arabica) speaks to its ancient ties to this region.  Coffee from the Yemen is wild and heady, rich in both in body and in cultural history - it is a must-try for coffee lovers and epicureans everywhere!

Classically winey, spicy and complex this Yemeni coffee is all these things and more. Expect generous soft fruit, satsuma, apple cider and a hint of bready spice that reminds me of freshly baked cinnamon buns. There is a lot going on in this coffee but due to the incredibly clean processing and moderate acidity, it's also surprisingly easy drinking. Each brew seems to bring a little something different to the fore but it's always full, sweet and really well-balanced. It's always been difficult to source exceptional Yememi coffee and this is especially true at the present given the troubled political situation but this single farmer example from Mohammed Mosleh Ghalab is just such a coffee. This is absolutely one of my favourite ever single estate coffees and though necessarily expensive I'd say that for the historical context and sheer deliciousness it nevertheless offers great value for curious consumers.

Tasting notes - Strawberry, satsuma, cinnamon bun, apple cider

Suitable for - All brewing methods

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