• Rating: [rating:4.5/5]

You’d think it should be easy to make a great blend from outstanding origin coffees… say, if you had your pick of a series of Central American Cup of Excellence winners. It simply isn’t so. Coffees of this caliber are not only outstanding representations of origin, they tend toward the intense side of the coffee experience. Not only is it a challenge to marry such flavors, it’d be something of a travesty [and certainly an expensive mistake] to get it wrong.

Fortunately the folks at Intelligentsia Coffee got it right. Their La Corona blend not only marries the flavors of COE winners from Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, it creates a balanced and nuanced fusion of flavors and aromas — even textures — and through it all maintains a sweet, clean cup that is unmistakably Central American.

This blend is roasted a deep chestnut hue, and is spotted with bits of oil that have certainly migrated to the surface post-roast. Just-ground, the experience begins with intense flower and spice aroma [I’d call it rose hips and cloves] revealed as sweetly bright and fruit-filled acidity… with layers of flavors that shimmer from dark cherry to bittersweet chocolate. Carrying and embracing it all is a velvet-soft body [I think it’s the Nicaraguan talkin’] that leads to a sweet and honeyed finish. Kudos to Doug Zell and Geoff Watts on this complex, nuanced cup. It’s a winner.

Highly recommended.

Intelligentsia Coffee can be found on the web at www.intelligenstiacoffee.com.

Notes: I had the pleasure of meeting Doug and Geoff at an espresso event they hosted at their spanking-new roasting facility in Chicago a few years ago. I was impressed then by their enthusiasm and passion for great coffee, and I still am. Intelligentsia is making waves on the coffee scene, in Chicagoland and beyond.

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