It has been a really, really long time since the last time I tried a blend! Too long, if you ask me! Luckily the folks at Compelling and Rich Coffee are back at the Table with their Cat’s Pajamas Blend. This blend is 65% Colombia Finca Los Aples and 35% natural Yirgacheffe.
Finca Los Alpes
Juan Alvaro Arboteda’s Finca Los Alpes spreads over 90 hectares of land in the mountainous Antioquia region of Colombia. The land is on a side of a mountain where coffee grew from 1700 meters to 2000 meters with natural forest above. The trees (all Caturra) are a blend of flowers, buds, green beans, and ripe cherries. The key to the year round harvest though was the terroir. You see, the other side of the mountain is the wild and rough rainforest area creating a unique microclimate where the sun rarely comes out and it rains over 3300 mm per year and almost every afternoon. While this creates the year-round harvest, it also means high labor costs as few beans were ripe for each picking.
Los Alpes also has its own wet mill on site with triple separation plus a unique drying system of warm air over several stacked drying beds. Following drying, the coffee was moved to Juan’s own dry mill in the city where the coffee was stored till hulled for shipment.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Cat’s Pajamas Blend, from Compelling Coffee in Los Angeles, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Antioquia, Colombia // Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
farm: Finca Los Alpes // N/A
producer: Juan Alvaro Arboteda // smallholder farmers
elevation: 1700 – 2000 // 2000 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra // Ethiopia Heirloom
process: fully washed, patio dried // natural
The aroma of the Cat’s Pajamas Blend is really great. It has a tremendous clarity and it reveals a coffee that is clearly a blend of two very distinct coffees – I can tell right away that there’s a natural Yirg present because of the blueberry bombs, and I can tell that there’s a Colombia in there because of the bright and lively rose hips, cherry blossom, and strawberry scents; then there are more scents of pear, apple, and wood. Together, these scents are more similar to a red wine than a black coffee.
My first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew present my taste buds with a coffee that is very complex and a little all over the place… But not…? I mean, it seems like it’s struggling to find itself, or that it doesn’t really know what it wants to be – spicy/herbal/musty/earthy or sweet/tart/bright/fruity/sugary – so it just throws everything it has at the palate, but not all at once. Each sip is a little different than the one before it. So maybe the coffee is just settling into itself. But, as it is, I’m getting some really unique flavors up front: violet and rose hips, brown sugar, white Russian, mixed berries, bell pepper, earthiness, wine barrel, anise, and coriander(?).
As it cools off, this beverage magically transforms from a mug of coffee to a glass of cabernet sauvignon. Okay, that’s not true – but it might as well be, because this coffee’s profile is incredibly similar to the red wine. It is brimming with blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, black cherry, and black currant, and it also has really unique notes of licorice, oak, pear, vanilla bean ice cream, and those red wine tannins that prick at the sides of the tongue
Full body; winy mouthfeel; winy acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
A lot of weight is put into a name of a thing, so a lot of thought has to go into naming the thing. Like a bank; if you own a bank, it has to be called something like “First American Trust and Reserve Holding Company” – you can’t just call it “Bob’s Bank,” nobody will take you seriously! “Hi! I’m Bob! This is my bank. Give us your money! We’ll put it, uhhh… over here!” The same goes for the naming of a coffee company and, even, a coffee blend!
I must confess – I sort of snickered out loud and retorted, “Yeah – we’ll see about that!” when I saw that Compelling and Rich Coffee had a blend called Cat’s Pajamas. But you know what? This is what. The name of the company is fitting – I had two coffees from them this week and, wouldn’t you know it, both were rich and, indeed, compelling. And today’s coffee? If a cat were to own a pair of pajamas, this blend would be it.
This was a refined, flavorful, dynamic, elegant, voluptuous, decadent, and, while not straight-forward, accessible coffee; it was fairly complex, but not unapproachable. For as much as it challenged my palate, at no point did I throw in the towel and say, “This coffee is just too much.” It kept me hooked and on the edge of my seat – I just couldn’t wait to see what the coffee would do next.
And if that’s not “compelling,” I don’t know what is.
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