As is well-documented by now, my 2013 resolution was to broaden my horizons, and there are plenty of roasters that I want to try coffees from in 2013.
Augie’s Coffee Roasters has been on my shortlist for quite a while now; simply based on the amount of positive press I’ve read of them across the Interwebs and the amount of stock that my fellow coffee blogger, The Coffee Adventures, puts in their products.
So you can probably imagine my excitement when Augie’s reached out to me, asking me if I’d be interested in reviewing a few of their coffees. Before I go any further, I want to express my gratitude to the fine folks at Augie’s for their generosity. Many, many thanks.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping a cup of El Salvador El Optimismo, from Augie’s Coffee Roasters in Redlands, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The El Optimismo Farm, produced by Lucia Socorro Martinez de Zepeda, is located in Tecapa-Chinameca and it is part of the department of Usulután. The varieties of coffee that are produced are Bourbon (91%) and Pacas (9%).
El Optimismo won fourth place in the 2012 El Salvador Cup of Excellence, receiving 88.08 points with the Bourbon variety—which is what we’re sipping today.
origin: Tecapa, Chinameca, Usulutan, El Salvador
farm: Finca El Optimismo
elevation: 1750 meters above sea level
The aroma of the El Optimismo blossoms with perfumy flower petals, crisp fruits, and savories. Violet, lilac, and orange blossoms dance in the fumes, while apple, plum, blueberry, and citrus bubble up behind them. There is also plenty of sweet, with notes of buttered pie crust and bakers chocolate.
This cup starts off with a huge blueberry bomb, like a nuclear explosion. An explosion inside of a chocolate factory apparently, because the blueberries are accompanied by a rupture of baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder, and white chocolate syrup. There’s also a belly-warming spiciness up front, like a spiced rum or a brandy.
As it cools down, the mouthfeel gets thick and syrupy and super sticky sweet with big notes of berries, citrus, and tropical fruits. Raspberry and blueberry greet the tip of the tongue first; they are closely followed by super juicy tangerine, mandarin, and nectarine; at the tail end of each sip is the malic acidity of apple, plum, and Bartlett pear, while violet floral aromatics flutter in each sip’s finish.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
My experience with El Salvadoran coffees has always been very middle of the road. I’ve never had a bad one; having said that, though, I’ve never had one that had me shouting from the rooftops.
This one did.
The very first sip of the El Salvador El Optimismo, from Augie’s Coffee Roasters, had me exclaiming, “WOW!” and “WHOA!” and “I LOVE THIS COFFEE!”
I’ve said it a million billion times—natural coffees are unpredictable. Sure, they bring a lot of flavor and complexity, but it can almost be too much. They can be wild and untamed. The El Optimismo embodies everything that can make a natural great. It brims with flavor, it is steeped in complexity, its body has incredible definition, and it has a startling clarity, but it is also shockingly contained. It is very drinkable and very, very delicious.
El Optimismo is the optimum El Salvadoran coffee, and it should not be passed by.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.