- Rating: [rating:4.5/5]
We all know the too-common tale of a heady, distinctive origin coffee that’s muted into oblivion by a heavy-handed roast… This is no such tale. Instead it’s a story about a rather nifty coffee that Ancora Coffee Roasters has made extraordinary by a deeper roast that’s genuinely artful.
Kenya’s fertile Nyeri district consistently produces very high quality coffees — rich berry flavors, lively acidity and a distinctively African winey tang in the cup — and all despite pervasive corruption at nearly all levels of coffee production. It takes bold and belligerently stubborn coffee farmers to continue to nurture their crops in spite of it all, and, fortunately for us, just such broad-shouldered farmers are apparently in good supply.
Ancora begins with a “Fine Cup” lot; coffee judged to be of especially good character (very often the result of special preparation and sorting to make it so). And then they roast the hell out it. No, really… this coffee is deeply roasted — well into second crack — and the roasted beans are rosewood-hued and glistening with surface oils. The result is amazing: intensely aromatic, decidedly sweet and deliciously tart. It’s aroma is sweet chocolate and candy apples with a hint of sandalwood. It’s acidity is not lost — not in the least, despite the deep roast — instead it’s been carefully distilled into a subtly dry, shimmering presence. It’s flavors are complex and nuanced: tart green apple and grapefruit give way to sweet chocolate, enveloped in its smooth, medium body and oh-so-sweet caramelly finish.
This is a stunning cup and among the best of new crop African coffees I’ve tasted this year. It’s also a great example of how artful roasting can make a coffee more than the sum of its origins.