This year I finally tried coffee from the pride of Seattle—Kuma Coffee—, and it instantly became one of my favorites. I have no idea how I managed to let so much time pass without having tried anything at all from them, but I couldn’t possibly be happier that the situation was finally rectified.
I also couldn’t have been happier when I discovered that they are offering a holiday blend this year so I immediately jumped on it.
Tomorrow is supposedly the end of the world so we certainly don’t have all day, so let’s get down to brass tacks and see what Kuma Coffee’s contribution to the holiday season is all about.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today, we’re warming up by the fire with a mug of Bear Claus Holiday Blend from Kuma Coffee in Seattle, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Bear Claus is a blend comprised of two Colombian coffees. You may be thinking “Two Colombias? Why mix two Colombias? Won’t it taste the same as a single origin Colombia?”
Dead wrong. To sum up my point (and provide a chuckle), I’ve copied and pasted an excerpt about Colombian growing regions that I found on another website:
Colombia is the second largest arabica coffee producing country in the world after Brazil and the largest producer of washed arabica. The main region is located in the western area between the central and western cordilleras. However, there are also extensive growing areas in the north east and down in the south west of the country.
So… yeah. Basically, all of Colombia has coffee growing somewhere. And Colombia is a pretty big country with a vastly-varying terrain and climate from region to region. So, obviously, the coffee that’s grown in this country is vastly-varying in flavor; which is why one could very well make a blend of Colombian coffees and have the results be just as unique as a blend of countries on different continents.
One half of this blend hails from La Marianela. La Marianela is a coffee estate founded and managed by Herman Dorronsoro, an agronomist who is very passionate about coffee. The estate is located in Piendamo, a town in Cauca State on the western side of the Andes Mountains.
The other half of this blend comes from La Union (which in English, translates to “the union”), which is located in Narino.
Narino is the southernmost province in Colombia, bordering Ecuador. Due to its close proximity to the Equator, coffee can be grown at extreme altitudes. Narino is very mountainous, with practically no valleys at all. There are several snow-capped mountains (meaning over 15000 feet at this latitude) and several volcanoes, some of them active. Coffee is planted in the highlands surrounding the town.
Traditionally, this region is the source of five or six species of Colombian potatoes; in addition, the local economy also benefits from cocoa, fruits, and vegetables. Lately, the campesinos have been planting coffee with the same loving and careful dedication as they have these other crops, shade-growing it under native tree species. The result is one of the most celebrated coffees from Colombia.
origins: Piendamo, Colombia // Narino, Colombia
farms: La Marianela // La Union
elevations: 1600-1750 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Colombia // Typica, Caturra
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Rainforest Alliance // standard
The aroma of Bear Claus is light, sweet, and fragrant. It is a subtle mixture of jasmine, raw cane sugar, and cocoa nibs, gently pushed forward by a wafting of honey and an even fainter grape jelly.
Immediately post brew, this is a really interesting cup of coffee. It’s herbal, it’s spicy, it’s savory, it’s even a little vegetal. It starts off with notes of cinnamon and coriander, even that jasmine from the aroma is present here; mixed in are elements of brown sugar, toffee, buttered croissant, and freshly baked rhubarb pie.
When it cools off, it gets markedly sweeter and more malic; the coffee gets juicier and silkier, sweeping over the palate and burying itself in my cheeks, leaving behind a slightly dry finish with each sip. It’s much fruitier now, but not very lively, or vibrant—but definitely delicious. A malic acidity of red delicious apples and Bartlett pears breaks the crust, seeping out of the cup, and spilling lazily over the sides of my tongue, while a veritable trail mix of other flavors follow closely behind.
There are a lot of dried fruits present here and smacks of walnuts in the finish of each sip; there are even some floral aromatics and crusty savories at play—clementine, orange peel, cherry blossoms, marzipan, cacao, raisin, cranberry, and green grapes.
Full body; silky mouthfeel; apple acidity; dry finish.
the bottom line:
The aptly-named Bear Claus Holiday Blend, from Kuma Coffee, is certainly a bear of a coffee. It has a huge aroma and a tremendous amount of flavor that just doesn’t let up from beginning to end.
I will admit that, for a holiday coffee, I wasn’t so sure about the herbal/vegetal beginning of the cup; but then it progressed to the array of big fruit and savory notes toward the middle and bottom, and it all made sense. This coffee is the total package—everything you could want from a coffee in one cup.
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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.