Ever since moving from Chicago’s West side to the very, very North side, I haven’t been as able to visit some of my favorite coffee haunts—my old stomping grinds.Which is really unfortunate, because my old stomping grounds included the very best cafes in the entire city: Star Lour Lounge, Buzz Killer Espresso, Caffe Streets, and, of course, The Wormhole.
What’s not to love about The Wormhole…? The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, the cafe is in a great location, there’s a lot of cool stuff inside, and it’s super hip.
Of course you’ll be able to deduce that from the amount of really positive “drops” you’ll see about them on the Evzdrop iPhone app.
But my favorite feature is their guest coffee program—a program that, despite their switching their in-house coffees from the locally-outsourced Metropolis Coffee Company to their own Halfwit Coffee Roasters, I hope never, ever, ever, ever goes away.
This upcoming Thursday, the Wormhole will be hosting a throwndown co-sponsored by a Midwest roaster that I’ve been wanting to try for a couple years now: Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, of Viroqua, Wisconsin. Especially after they won the 2010 Roaster of the Year Award from Roast Magazine.
This past weekend, while hanging out in Wicker Park for a few hours, I finally got a chance to try them out.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping the Kickapoo Coffee Honduras Ovidio Gomez. Feel free to pull up a chair.
The farm is called Ovidio, named after its caretaker, Ovidio Gomez Hernandez. It is located in the Las Flores area of Santa Barbara, planted in the Bourbon-type varietal Pacas, with some Catuai. Finca Ovidio is 4.4 hectares, a good size compared to many of the smallholder coffee farms in the area. Harvest starts in January and ends in May, and the coffee is processed by traditional fermentation; 14 hours on a hot day and 28 hours if the weather is cold.
Year after year the coffees that top the Honduras Cup of Excellence competition come from a few neighboring villages. The reason why should be no surprise: elevation and a slow maturation. A handful of communities situated high in the mountains on the eastern shore of Lake Yojoa share a unique micro-climate. Las Floras, the village where this 15 bag lot from Ovidio Gomez Hernandez grew, is one such community.
origin: Las Flores, Santa Barbara
farm: Finca Ovidio
elevation: 1450-1650 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Fair Trade
The aroma of this coffee is sweet, but restrained. It doesn’t overwhelm the nostrils; rather, it just sort of lulls you in to the first sip. It has floral elements, but it’s not flowery; it’s got some berries in there, but it’s not fruity. It’s more like a black tea, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say the aroma is “tea-like.” Does any of that make sense?
The first few sips are identical to the aroma—it’s sweet, but underwhelmingly so; it’s pleasant, more accurately.
The English breakfast tea notes hit the palate first (while they simultaneously steam out of the cup into the nostrils), there’s a touch of dark fruit (blackberry, cranberry, currant, fig, dates, and black cherry), and there’s a creamy base of sweet toffee that glides over and coats the palate. I’m even getting a small dash of cinnamon spice that tickles the tip of the tongue.
As it cools off, the flavors begin to blossom—while at first they were modest and underwhelming, they slowly become more and more intense and lively. They don’t change, necessarily—they just get juicier, sweeter, clearer, more defined. More flavors emerge along with this transformation and they’re just as juicy sweet—red delicious apple, peach, and ripe raspberry.
After a while, a soft tangerine citrus acidity bubbles up; then it explodes like a geyser of sparkling intensity, driving itself into the cheeks, swirling across the palate, and mopping up all the remains of the initial flavors leaving behind a clean finish.
Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Here it is, Dear Reader—the Honduran coffee that made me smile.
After having so many mixed reactions to Honduran coffees—even the one from my favorite roasters in town, Passion House Coffee—I was just about to announce my setting out to find a great cup of Honduras. It was going to be a whole series of my misadventures with this region, trying to find that one cup that I really liked. When I learned that Wormhole had Kickapoo Coffee Honduras Ovidio Gomez, I thought “Great—that can be the official start of this series.”
It turned out to be the only entry of such a series needed, because it was, indeed, very, very tasty.
Kickapoo Coffee is being featured at the Wormhole’s guest pourover bar this week in preparation for their joint barista throwdown/Halloween costume contest/dance party on Thursday, October 26. Go get you some and shake yer booty with the Wormhole crew.
If you can’t, fret not. Download the Evzdrop app onto your iPhone and “Evzdrop” on my goings on—I’m sure I’ll be posting plenty of ridiculous pictures and statuses.
Did you like this? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome here at the Table! Pull up a chair and speak your mind by entering a comment below. Also remember to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!
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.