Kickapoo Coffee Roasters ushers in the season with their Organic Winter Solstice—a seasonal blend of Congolese and Peruvian coffees.
CONGO SOPACDI COOPERATIVE
The Congolese component comes from the Sopacdi Cooperative, which is comprised of 5600 small-holder farmers. Given the political strife in the DRC, these farmers have in the past been forced to smuggle their coffee across the Rwandan border, but with Sopacdi’s first coffee exports in 2008, the farmers now have a direct stake in the profits, direction of their cooperative, and relationships with roaster partners like Kickapoo Coffee.
The Solstice’s Peru comes from the CENFROCAFE Cooperative, one of Kickapoo Coffee’s longest running partnerships. The co-op is democratically governed, extremely well organized, and grows coffee in some of the highest altitudes in Peru.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Organic Winter Solstice, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: South Lake Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo // Hubal, Cajamarca, Peru
producer: smallholder farmers
association: Sopacdi Cooperative // CENFROCAFE Cooperative
elevation: 1460 – 2050 // 1250 – 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon // Caturra, Typica, Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
grind: 19, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 490 mL
pour: 2:30 concentric pulse pour
The aroma of the Winter Solstice Blend is absolutely wonderful. Bittersweet and moderately savory with scents of dark chocolate, maple syrup, hazelnut, and mixed berries.
The first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew present my palate with a coffee that is full-bodied; thick on the tongue and heavy in the belly with its syrupy molasses mouthfeel. The flavors in the cup are incredibly defined—there’s no mistaking what I’m tasting; more importantly, the coffee is delicious. Bittersweet dark chocolate cocoa powder mingles with roasted hazelnuts, raisin, fig, warm pecan pie, and molasses.
As the cup cools off, it brightens but, uh… “Brightens” is a relative term, I suppose. What I mean to say is that the coffee’s inherent fruit flavors burst and come to the forefront of each sip, but the coffee remains a heavy, full-bodied, and dense affair. Plum, blackberry, strawberry, black cherry, walnut, maple syrup, and zesty lemon rind acidity that results in a slightly dry finish.
Full body; molasses mouthfeel; citrus acidity; slightly dry finish.
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters writes on their site of this coffee, “What better way to meet the darkest months of the year than with a cup full of your own dark brilliance?” I don’t normally like to copy and paste the marketing verbiage that a roaster writes for their products, but I feel this is a perfect encapsulation of their Organic Winter Solstice.
I was surprised by the roast of the coffee; it’s darker than any other coffee I’ve had from Kickapoo, but the darker profile was a great decision because it accentuates all the right flavors. This coffee is the perfect cupping companion to the winter season.
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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.