This is the second year in a row that we are reviewing Madcap Coffee’s Company holiday blend, Holiday Fusion.
Last year, if you recall, Holiday Fusion was not only the best coffee I had during the holiday season, it was also one of the best coffees I had all year. Of course, why expect nothing less from Grand Rapids’ Madcap Coffee Company?
So, needless to say, I am beyond excited to start brewing it up again this year.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this café. Today, we are sipping the Madcap Coffee Holiday Fusion blend. Feel free to pull up a chair.
I’ll be honest—up to last year, I was never really into holiday coffees. We all know the way it is with what a lot of roasters think a “holiday coffee” should be: full bodied, deeply roasted, chocolaty, spicy, etcetera. We’ve already seen some of that this year with Batdorf and Bronson’s Holiday Blend.
This very special season comes but once a year, so why fall into the same habits of offering what every other coffee roaster is doing year after year? After all, it’s impossible to stand out in a crowd when you look exactly the same as everyone else.
MadCap Coffee Company is one of the roasters that broke from the mold in 2011 and offered something entirely different from what other roasters typically do. Instead of offering that full-bodied, big chocolate, nut, and spicy flavor profile, they opted to go with something a lot more exotic. Their Holiday Fusion—a blend of Nyeri, Kenya and Santa Lucia, Costa Rica—is very different than anything you’ve ever had this time of year from first sip to last drop, and is very easily one of the best coffees I had in a long, long time.
We can do a mini-deconstruction of the Holiday Fusion, as we’ve already tasted two-thirds of it. Earlier this year, during the #GRCrawl, we reviewed Madcap’s Santa Lucia Costa Rica.
Located in the West Valley of Costa Rica, Helsar de Zarcero is a micromill started by three families with the goal of providing traceability to the high quality coffee grown on their land. Today, ten families work to produce and mill coffee at the farm. The farm is very well-known in the specialty coffee world for the sustainable practices they employ throughout their operation and the high quality of its coffee. Helsar de Zarcero is a multiple-award-winning farm, including a third placement in the 2007 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence.
Furthermore, Helsar de Zarcero recently became the very first recipient of Climate Change Action certification.
The Kenyan beans, on the other hand—the other third of the blend—, come from the Nyeri Region. This town lays on the southern slope of Mount Kenya—the highest point Kenya, and the second highest in all of Africa (after Kilimanjaro). The Igutha Wet Mill is one of eight wet mills that make up Rugi Coop, registered under the Coop Act on 21stApril 2005. The other wet mills include Mihuti, Gathugu, Mweru, Kanyiri, Gumba, Mutitu and Karundu.
The coop is managed by nine elected members who form the management committee. In addition, a supervisory board of three members checks the activities of the management committee. Both committees report to the coop members in annual general meetings. The coop has 65 permanent staff who are headed by a Secetary Manager. Overall, the coop has 5,550 members.
origins: Santa Lucia, Costa Rica // Nyeri, Kenya
farms: Helsar de Zarcero // Rugi Farmers Cooperative Society
elevations: 1400-1750 // 1400-1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai, Villalobos // SL28, K7, Ruiru
processes: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: Organic, Climate Change Action // standard
As soon as I opened the bag, I was in love with Holiday Fusion. It had such a wonderfully strong and pleasant aroma that filled the entire kitchen. It was so strong, in fact, that Ashley, who was a full room away, shouted out, “Is that the stuff from MadCap?? That smells great!” The scent was intoxicating—very sweet, floral, and fruity. I initially attempted to point out all of the different smells I detected—raspberry, cranberry, blueberry—but another coffee reviewer, Jamie Ferguson of The Coffee Adventures, I think said it best in her review: Fruit Loops. Holiday Fusion’s aroma was like a freshly opened box of Fruit Loops.
The coffee’s flavor was even more of a holiday treat.
Immediately post-brew, Holiday Fusion had a lot of really nice chocolate, orange peel citrus, and dried tropical fruit notes, with just a hint of nuttiness—perhaps almond or pecan. Actually, my first reaction to this medium-bodied coffee’s flavor was that it was like biting into one of Godiva’s raspberry-filled dark chocolate bars. After having three or four mugs of it now, I still maintain that there are a lot of raspberry notes in the coffee, but I’m now tasting more caramel than chocolate. As the cup cools, the fruitiness comes out even more and each sip finishes with a buttery sweetness.
The coffee is even a little like a black tea, as it leaves behind a slightly astringent aftertaste—it doesn’t give you (what I refer to as) “cotton mouth” the way an English breakfast tea or Earl Grey does, but the aftertaste is definitely similar to Peet’s Black Currant tea.
Medium body; buttery mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line
MadCap Coffee Company harnessed the wild flavor profiles of these two tropical regions, then fused them together to create one of the most exotic and delicious coffees I’ve had in quite some time.
My very first sniff of MadCap Coffee Holiday Fusion immediately sent the coffee to the very top of my top holiday coffees list. Upon first sip, I wanted to throw up both of my hands and shout, “I’m a believer!” This wonderful holiday blend, which is unlike just about any “traditional” holiday coffee out there, offers an exotic and sweet foray into the highlands of Costa Rica and Kenya with notes of tropical fruits and caramel.
Holiday Fusion would pair excellently with any holiday dessert (like gingerbread, sugar cookies, or coffee cake), and would complement a snack like trail mix even better.
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