Canopy Blend
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A few months ago, Rogers Park’s coffee scene very suddenly got a whole lot better and a whole lot more legit with the addition of Sol Cafe (which I’ll be reviewing soon), just to the east of the Howard Street Red Line stop. Since then, Rogers Park improved even more with the addition of Ellipsis Cafe (which I’ll also be reviewing in the very near future).

Sol currently alternates their coffee selection between Bow Truss Coffee Company and Passion House Coffee Roasters, which is pretty darn cool. So, as a special preview of the Sol review, today I’m checking out their current Bow Truss offering.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of Sol Cafe in Chicago, Illinois. Today we’re sipping a cup of Canopy Blend, from Bow Truss Coffee Roasters – also in Chicago. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Unfortunately for us, Bow Truss is one of those companies that doesn’t practice the utmost transparency on their website, so I can’t tell you much about this coffee (i.e., where it’s from, which farms are represented, who grew it, etc.).

I can tell you, though, that it is a blend of South and Central American coffees; the cultivars represented in the blend are Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica; and this coffee is currently available online or at Sol Cafe in Chicago, where I’ve been sipping it everyday for the past week.

the basics:

origin: South America // Central America
farm: N/A
elevation: N/A
cultivars: Caturra, Typica, Bourbon
process: N/A
certifications: standard

the coffee:

Canopy Blend, I will tell you, has a formidable aroma. It is a massive beefy aroma that comes bellowing out of the cup; everything about it, even the complementary notes have big personalities. So, yeah – Italian beef, cherry, barley wine, and herbaceous juniper and tobacco.

The first few sips are equal in personality, but couldn’t be more different in flavor profile. The aroma presents this coffee as dry, vegetal, or herbaceous, or spicy, but the flavor (up front, at least) is more moist and earthy. This full-bodied coffee has a velvety, soily mouthfeel and flavor, accompanied by notes of cherry tobacco, and dark, dark, dark chocolate; 85% dark chocolate.

As it cools off, fine and silky juicy fruits fill the mouth, sweeping over the palate then flooding the insides of the cheeks. Apple, plum, pear, and peach come to the forefront, while a thick and syrupy red wine dominates the back end. It’s sweet and spicy – sort of a mix of flavors like cherry liqueur or cough syrup and Beaujolais wine with mulling spices.

Full body; velvety/silky mouthfeel; malic acidity; dry finish.

the bottom line:

Most of the coffees I’ve had from Bow Truss Coffee Company, in the past, I wasn’t a very big fan of. They were all either over-roasted or burned out, like there was an airflow issue happening, all of the best flavor getting sucked right out of the beans or something.

While that issue is still present in this, their Canopy Blend, it wasn’t nearly extreme as it was in the past. Sure, this cup had a bit of roastiness, particularly up front and in the back, and even a bit of that burned-out stale flavor (a few moments in the cup where I didn’t taste anything but coffee-flavored coffee); but I was impressed by the amount of complexity and depth in the cup. Furthermore, overall, it was a pleasant cup of coffee – one that I mostly enjoyed drinking.

I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend buying this one, but if somebody served it to you (say, at Sol Cafe in Rogers Park), I wouldn’t turn around and walk out. Give it a chance – it’ll surprise you.

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