• Rating: [rating:3.5/5]

The Green Mountain tasting series continues, this time a coffee with which I have no experience at all — Zimbabwe AA — and so I have no preconceptions about what to expect.

Oh sure, it’s an African coffee, so I’m ready for something that’s probably bright, and could be winey; or it might be gamey and wild. Perhaps you see what I mean: the coffees of Africa are just so varied there’s no telling what might be found in the cup.

Zimbabwe is a South African nation that remains torn by political strife, racial tension and political repression at the hands of Robert Mugabe, its uber-ruler for twenty years. For all that, the landscape remains one of Africa’s jewels; its wilderness preserves harbor some of the rarest of Africa’s critters, like the black rhino, and Victoria Falls certainly ranks well among the many places vying for “Eighth Wonder of the World”.

Now, about that coffee…

The Zimbabwe AA is one of Green Mountain’s Exotic Origins coffees, which are all of them treated with a gentle roast. The Zimbabwe, however, gets a treatment that’s more of a Full City than City; a chestnut brown roast, no wrinkles to the bean surface at all, and you’ll find the occasional bead or two of oil migrated to the surface.

Just ground, the fragrance of this bean is fruit and spice; I get more than hint of strawberry, and a little whiff of vanilla before deeper, more persistent notes of resinous clove announce themselves. Brewed, the aroma turns to a pleasant if unassuming woodiness; most of the fruit notes are subdued, save for a subtle dark cherry undercurrent which fades rapidly as the cup cools.

This coffee offers a brooding sensation on the palate; its flavors are redolent of pungent sandalwood and leather, with hints of a deep, red, mineral-laced burgundy. While the brew’s body is unassuming, it’s finish is long, very long… dry, tannic and smokey peat.

This ain’t no breakfast cup, and it’s not an all-day drinker. Inspired by its finish, this is a brew fit for remembrance. Serve it as you would a single-malt… seal a well-spent day in memory, or recall those days gone by.

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