• Rating: [rating:3/5]

This is the story about a coffee that got its big break: a spiffy new package — with birds and butterflies and lots and lots of green leaves — and brand new positioning in the organic aisle of your local supermarket. It had the look. But on the inside… really it was just the same ol’ bean. A little earthy. A little nutty. A little sweet. And just a touch confused.

It’s also a little cracked. Literally. There’s a lot of broken beans in the bag, and from their crispy edges I’d say that’s pre-roast breakage, and not a question of handling post-roast. And while its label reads, “light to medium roast,” it’s full-on, full-city; there’s no shortage of surface oil on these beans.

Just ground its fragrance offers a fair amount of chocolate, spice and just a whiff of bitter fruit… Cranberry? Sour cherry? It’s a tough call. And a brief one, as its aroma while brewing quickly shifts from fruit of any sort to a tug of war between notes of cocoa and wet tree bark. In the cup, much of the cocoa remains, but a battle wages, still: there’s rooty flavors and peaty flavors and eventually, as the cup cools, just as most every flavor loses ground to pine resin roast notes, it’s saved by a finish that fairly oozes sweet caramel.

If coffees were plot-lines it would be a cliche: the cup that wanted to have it all — to be everything to everyone and really make its mark on the world — and that on the brink of losing everything discovers a moment of sincere sweetness that’s almost startling.

Recommended… with faint praise, but a romantic’s optimism.

More: coffee | coffee review | tasting tasting | sumatra

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