I was recently up in Holland, Michigan visiting family for the weekend. 205 Coffee Bar has become my favorite haunt in Holland, but this time I decided to hang out at my original stomping grounds, Lemonjello’s. While I was there, I drank a stellar cup of Madcap Coffee’s Ethiopia Reko (which I will be reviewing soon) and it reignited my love of that roaster (it’s been a couple years since I last had coffee from Madcap); so I decided to buy a bag of another one of their roasts to take home with me.
Welcome to the table. Today we’re cupping the Honduras Nelson Moreno, from Madcap Coffee Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
In Santa Barbara, Honduras, the surname Moreno and quality go hand-in-hand. In an area that is recognized by specialty coffee enthusiasts as one of the most unique coffee micro-terroirs in all of Central America, it’s pretty stunning to find a family like the Moreno clan that are the benchmark of excellence in the area. In Santa Barbara, there are over 30 Morenos who work together as a team on each of the individual family members’ plots. Grandparents, brothers, uncles, and cousins all team-up together throughout the season to harvest one another’s coffee and bring it to the main house where they dry their coffee together. It is this collective effort toward coffee farming that keeps the quality consistently high.
Nelson grew up in coffee, as coffee was a family business. When he was 16, he inherited his first plot of land from his father Orlando. It was 3 acres, surrounded by other Moreno farms in El Cedral at around 1500 meters. In 2014, he saved up enough money and purchased a new plot of land that was about 1.5 acres, just a few meters up the hill. Nelson’s coffee is a perfect example of everything we love about the coffees from this area…wickedly sweet, rich, subtly savory, with a lingering complexity. We are proud to buy 100% of the coffee Nelson exports from his 2 farms.*
region: El Cedral, Santa Barbara, Honduras
farm: Nelson Moreno farm
producer: Nelson Moreno
elevation: 1500 – 1700 meters above sea level
varietal: Pacas, Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Honduras Nelson Moreno is sweet and soft. It’s somewhat floral-forward, and there are also scents of citrus and stone fruit mixed in.
This is a light-to-medium bodied coffee with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. It’s also a complex coffee – there are a lot of flavors in the cup, but they’re largely indistinct from one another; it’s a melange of flavor, but now and then a distinguishable flavor pops through. Up front I’m getting notes of chocolate mousse, marzipan, and raisin (maybe plum?) (Madcap says cranberry, but I disagree – it just doesn’t have the same tartness). As the cup cools, the coffee gets softer, smoother, and creamier, and it presents a pistachio nuttiness and clementine acidity.
Madcap’s Honduras Nelson Moreno is an unusual coffee – it’s pretty complex, but I suppose that’s par for the course for a Pacas. However, overall, it’s sweet and delicious, and a very drinkable cup.
*content courtesy of Madcap Coffee Company
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER.
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.