I used to live in Chicago. I miss it everyday. Nowadays I’m living in North-central Illinois, in a fairly rural town, far from great coffee in all directions. I’ve been trying to get back to the city as often as I can, but being an hour and a half away… It hasn’t been easy. I made it down there last weekend and paid a visit to a shop that opened after I moved away—Groundswell Coffee Roasters.

I’ve been hearing a ton of great reports about this company coming out of the city, so I had to pop in while I had an opportunity. I visited the Madison Avenue location, got a small drip, and purchased a bag to take home with me (review of that coming soon).

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re cupping the Peru La Capilla Yonke, from Groundswell Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Perched in the Andes mountains miles from any metropolis lies a hidden gem. La Capilla, nestled within the verdant hillside of Peru’s sparsely inhabited northwest region, is home to the six smallholder farmers who produced this lot. For centuries villagers have carefully preserved the natural ecosystem; today the native flora and coffee trees thrive together.

High altitudes and abundant rainfall also contribute to La Capilla’s uniquely ideal microclimate. In Peru such excellent terroir is often difficult to access, making it hard for farmers to share their coffees with the world.*

Locals here only recently began to focus on coffee. Until about five years ago they primarily produced sugar cane, or yonke (pronounced jon-kay). Traditionally, yonke is grown at low altitudes, but these communities had adapted and were cultivating heirloom plants and distilling a popular Peruvian cane liquor. They’ve since been introduced to coffee, which is more profitable—especially in their capable hands—though yonke remains a popular side business.**


region: Santo Domingo de la Capilla, Cutervo, Cajamarca, Peru
farm: N/A
producer: smallholder farmers
association: N/A
elevation: 1550 – 1900 meters above sea level
varietal: Caturra, Bourbon, Typica, Pache, Catimor
process: fully washed, patio dried


The aroma of the Peru La Capilla Yonke is sweet, but mellow; not to take anything away from it, but it’s pretty standard fare for a Peruvian coffee, to be honest. Chocolate, citrus, berries…

The flavor follows the nose into a medium-bodied, buttery coffee. Again—sweet, but mellow. It’s a classic Latin American breakfast coffee. Milk chocolate and brown sugar are the primary flavors, with subdued fruitiness playing underneath: raspberry, strawberry, orange peel, and a mild citrus acidity.

*content courtesy of Starbucks Coffee Company
**content courtesy of Two Sparrows Roasting

What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Feel free to enter a comment below.


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