Nicaragua has a long history of coffee production, but recent years have been plagued by the worst onset of coffee rust in all of Central America, decimating crops and ravaging farms.
In spite of this (or, perhaps, because of this), farmers are teaming up to bring their coffees to the world.
Halfwit Coffee’s “La Roca” is a blend of two neighboring farms in the Nueva Segovia region of Nicaragua: Finca La Ventaja and Finca El Jardin.
Situated in a part of the country permeated by volcanic mountains and rain forest, ideal coffee growing conditions have led to the production of some truly excellent coffees.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Nicaragua La Roca, from Halfwit Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Dipilto, Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
farm: Finca La Ventaja // Finca El Jardin
producer: Jose Paguaga // Rosa Rubioa
elevation: 1250 – 1400 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Red Catuai
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
method: Hario V60
grind: 17, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
pour: 2:00 pour, 2:00 drop
The aroma of the Nicaragua La Rosa is pretty boring, I must say. There’s not a whole lot going on; a bit of honey and caramel, some fruits (like cherry and apple), but there’s a lot of roast. Well, not a LOT; but more than I’ve ever encountered with Halfwit before and enough to mask the other scents.
Taking my first few sips of the cup, my palate is greeted by a lot more roast than I was expecting. Again, as it was in the aroma, I can taste the flavors I’m supposed to taste, but they’re faded and almost taste stale. The bright vibrancy has been roasted out and the coffee has been rendered flat, dull, lifeless. I do, however, taste a bit of vanilla ice cream, almond cookie, and a touch honey.
As it cools off, I’m even more disappointed. Because the roast is thin enough that I can see the flavors through its veil, but it’s thick enough that it’s really difficult to taste anything beyond the roast. When I do catch a glimpse of what’s in the cup, it’s terrific: apple, nectarine, apricot, and a mellow orange juice acidity.
I really wish that roastiness wouldn’t have been so dominant.
Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I have to say, I’m very surprised and disappointed in how roasty Halfwit Coffee’s Nicaragua La Rosa was. What could have been a really great cup was ruined by roastiness; the flavors were there, but they just couldn’t get break through.
I never would have expected this from Halfwit—really hoping this experience was just a fluke.
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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.