Kickapoo Coffee Roasters has been visiting and buying coffees from the Santa Barbara area for the last four years. There is a wonderful, family run mill called Beneficio San Vicente that works with and helps small producers in the area improve quality and find buyers for lovely single farmer lots. San Vicente is managed by the La Paz family, who have been running this mill for two generations.
This year Kickapoo Coffee worked with Esteban Madrid Chavez for this lot; this is the first year that they have purchased from him. Esteban has been submitting his first and second pickings to the Honduran Cup of Excellence since 2006. This late harvest lot is from El Sauce’s final production of the year, harvesting in April and May.
Coffee from this area has some of the last to harvests in all of Central America, due to elongated maturation caused by the lake effect of Honduras’ largest fresh body of water, Lake Yoja. The lake pushes up cool air and moisture which forms clouds that cool off the mountain and provide shade, slowing cherry development and allowing for more complex, bright flavors to develop in the cup.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Honduras Esteban Madrid, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: El Sauce, Santa Barbara, Honduras
farm: Beneficio San Vicente
producer: Esteban Madrid Chavez
elevation: 1450 – 1550 meters above sea level
process: fully wahed, raised bed dried
method: Hario V60
grind: 18, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 480 mL
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour
The Honduras Esteban Madrid’s aroma is certainly interesting; complex and nuanced. Dark chocolate and honey introduce scents of tobacco, wood, and red fruits.
Taking my first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew, my palate is greeted by a decidedly classic Honduran profile. The coffee is full-bodied and heavy on the tongue, and it is characterized by bold flavors of cherry tobacco, earth, dark chocolate, roasted cashew, and raw honey. It’s a little sweet, a little bitter, somewhat savory, and kinda sugary.
But, what’s this now…? Oh my goodness. This coffee just erupted like a volcano. It’s still piping hot, and incredibly tart and juicy passion fruit, spiced cherry, Fuji apple, raspberry, and pomegranate, like molten lava, just started gushing over my palate, flooding my taste buds.
The further it cools off, the more all of these flavors meld. It was a touch disjointed for a little while, but closer to room temperature it’s a more unified profile. Meanwhile, further fruit flavors of mango and lemon zest emerge, and the cup finishes with a long, lingering aftertaste of lemon, honey, and ginger.
Full body; winy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
This coffee—Kickapoo Coffee’s Honduras Esteban Madrid—is an unexpectedly wild and complex coffee that I just plain didn’t see coming.
After the few sips of the cup, I was thinking “Just your typical Honduran profile; nothing to see here, folks.” But, then, from out of nowhere, this coffee exploded like a time bomb; once the clock hit zero, boy oh boy. Fireworks.
An absolutely intense coffee; not for the faint of heart.
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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.