It’s been a while since the last time Kuma Coffee graced the Table with its presence. It hasn’t made an appearance since New Year’s Day, actually, when it kicked of 2013 with an incredible Kenyan coffee that dazzled and perplexed the palate.
A couple of weeks ago, Mark (the founder of Kuma) reached out to the Table once again because he was so excited about this new Colombian coffee he found that he just had to get it into the hands of somebody who’d appreciate it just as much as he does.
Now, it usually takes me about a week to publish a review of any given coffee—a day to let it rest on the Table, a day to cup it, a couple of days to brew it a variety of ways, and a day to write the review (with, of course, a day or two to actually post the review (depending on how busy I am with other coffees)).
This particular coffee that Mark sent me, on the other hand… I was too excited about it to dilly-dally around with it. I received it yesterday, drank five cups of it today, and decided to just go ahead and share my thoughts with you.
Because, really, this coffee blew my mind.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Colombia Jose Ninco, from Kuma Coffee in Seattle, Washington. Feel free to pull up a chair.
I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t find much information about the farm this coffee this hails from or the producer that grew it. Sorry.
I can tell you, though, that the producer of this fine coffee is Jose Herminzul Ninco Lara, and he is the manager of Finca Monte Frio, which is located in the Hobo Municipality, Huila region of Colombia.
Microlots from Jose Ninco’s estate placed fifth in the Colombia 2012 Cup of Excellence. Not too bad!
Now, without any further ado, here’s what this coffee is all about…
origin: Hobo, Huila, Colombia
farm: Finca Monte Frio
elevation: 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Colombia
process: fully washed, patio dried
I love the Colombia Jose Ninco’s aroma. It has a lot of interesting scents going on—very complex. Grape jam, tamarind, ginger, even a bit of salted caramel, cherry, and violet.
The flavor of this coffee kicks off with mouth-filling notes of root beer and thick cane sugar sweetness, mixed in with herbaceous ginger, sarsaparilla, and mint, and there’s even a bit of juicy purple grape explodes on the back of the tongue.
As it cools off, the mouthfeel becomes a bit of an enigma. It’s moderately syrupy and sugary, but it’s also sort of bright and sparkling and effervescent. It coats the palate—streaming down the middle, then spilling over the sides—but it also kind of hops, skips, jumps, and dances all over the place—particularly the closer to room temperature it gets.
At room temperature, the cup is a little more fruit-forward and candied. It is sweet and tart with notes of purple grape, watermelon Jolly Rancher that drives itself into the sides of the cheeks, lemon drops, and a lemon-lime acidity that really cleans house. I’m even picking up the faintest hints of walnut, oatmeal raisin cookie, and a bit of banana. With the bubbly effervescence of the body and the sugar sweetness, that lemon-lime acidity actually tastes a lot like Sprite.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; lemon-lime acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Last year I went against my better judgement and compiled a Best Coffees of 2012 list; I’m pretty sure I’ve tried as many coffees in 2013 as I did in 2012 already so I’ve been thinking about compiling a shortlist of coffees to include in my Best Coffees of 2013 list.
If you want a sneak preview of what that list is going to look like, I’ll tell you this: when I tried Kuma Coffee’s Colombia Jose Ninco, it immediately became a contender for the top spot.
This was a very special cup of coffee that provided a unique and complex experience. Really, that’s the word to summarize this coffee: experience. And that is what makes this coffee so memorable—it’s not just a good coffee and it’s not just a complex coffee, it’s one that makes you excited about coffee! You know, as a reviewer, I drink an awful lot of coffees here at the Table—a lot. Some are really great coffees that I have a lot of respect for, but very few generate a lot of excitement in me. This one did. And it did consistently, time after time, brew after brew.
I’ll admit it—this coffee made me squee like a fan girl.
Beg, steal, or borrow—do what you’ve got to do to get your hands on this coffee.
(Just kidding. Go to Kuma’s website and buy it.)
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.