This is only the second year that I’ve dedicated the entire month of December to holiday coffees. Granted, this is also only the second year I’ve been running the Table, but that’s besides the point. Regardless of how many times I’ve celebrated the coffees of the season, it quickly became my favorite time of year just because I love tasting what all of these different roasters from all over the country’s takes on what a holiday coffee should be.
Apparently this is the favorite time of year for a SOCAL-based roaster called Klatch Coffee. Last week, just as I was about to write my final review of the 2012 holiday season, I got an email from Klatch expressing their desire for me to include one last holiday review for the year.
And who am I to refuse such generosity?
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of the Original Christmas holiday coffee from Klatch Coffee, in Upland, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Unlike all of the reviews I wrote this past month, this holiday coffee isn’t a holiday blend—it’s more of a seasonal sensory blend. A single origin that the roastmaster at Klatch Coffee believes sums up all of the scents and flavors of the season better than any blend could.
My arch-nemesis, Ken Davids of coffeereview.com, also believes that this blend encapsulates the season better than a blend because he rewarded this roast with a whopping 93 points.
Despite the name of the coffee, the Original Christmas offers a different spin on Christmas; one in which an Ethiopian reindeer herder named Jolly Old Saint Nick stumbled upon these naturally-processed, organic coffees in the Ethiopian highlands surrounding Yirgacheffe. These two coffees from the Worka farm in Gedeo and a collection of smallholder farmers in Amaro Gayo.
Coincidentally, Klatch Coffee also offers both of these farms as single origins—the Gedeo Worka here, and the Amaro Gayo here.
origin: Gedeo, Ethiopia // Amaro Gayo, Ethiopia
farm: Worka // smallholder farmers
elevation: 1750-2450 // 1600-1900 meters above sea level
cultivar: Ethiopia Heirloom
The dry aroma of this coffee is intensely sweet, but the wet aroma does lose a bit of its luster. It’s tropically fruity, bright and sparkling with massively candied notes blueberry bomb, strawberry, raw cocoa nibs, watermelon, sugar, and a blush wine. When I brew it, though, while the berries are still very present, the overall scent becomes more subtle, but perfumed. The blush wine becomes a darker red, honey makes an appearance, the raw cocoa melts away to a milk chocolate, a subtlety of nuts releases, and even a warm cedar note comes out.
This is a full-bodied cup of coffee and the flavor starts off mellow and subtle—completely unlike the dry aroma; considering the wet aroma, however, I suppose the flavor is to be expected. I’m picking up a lot of dryness so far—dried fruit, raw cocoa nibs, mildly spicy cedar, a dash of cinnamon, a soft roasted nuttiness.
As it cools off… There’s that tropicalia I caught whiffs of in the aroma. It’s soft, though—not overwhelming, like the aroma was. Blueberry and raspberry dominate the palate, while a fruit cup’s worth flavor accompanies it—cherry, pineapple, peach, apple, pear, and grape provide a subtly saturated finish while a mellow citrus acidity rounds it out.
Full body; winy mouthfeel; soft citrus acidity; dry finish.
the bottom line:
This is a really good cup of coffee—one that anybody would be lucky to find in their stocking or under the tree. However, while coffeereview.com’s Ken Davids might be as jolly and generous with his scoring as Old Saint Nick the Ethiopian reindeer herder, I’m not quite as benevolent.
Original Christmas, from Klatch Coffee, was much too subtle for a naturally-processed coffee. I was really hoping for a cup of exploding fireworks and brightly-colored Christmas lights, like the initial aroma suggested it would be. It just wasn’t there.
That’s not to say anything about the quality of the coffee that it is—as I said, this is a really good cup. However, it’s not as nearly-perfect as its billed; the clarity is muddled, the acidity is too soft to be considered defined, and the aroma is too inconsistent for me. However, I couldn’t agree with Davids more about the mouthfeel and aftertaste—this was a very pleasurable coffee and I truly enjoyed it.
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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.