Populace Coffee Joyeux Holiday Blend 2014
click image to purchase

Kenya Kichwa Tembo AA (50%)

Kichwa Tembo is located on the western border of the Maasai Mara reserve in southwest Kenya.  It’s Swahili for “head of the elephant.” I don’t know what that means exactly so the translation doesn’t help much, but you may feel free to wax poetic on that one for yourself.

This coffee is graded and sold as a “Kenya AA.” Coffee grading can be obscure and vary greatly in its meaning from country to country. Coffee in Kenya is graded after it has been milled. These grades are assigned based on the size of the bean, and in Kenya larger bean size is considered to be a sign of quality. Grading designation is as follows: AA is the largest, followed by A and B.

Colombia Los Naranjos (50%)

Through the town of San Augustin runs a river called Los Naranjos. Up the sides of this riverbank in to the mountains is a community of coffee growers with small clean and beautiful farms. Butterflies, Hummingbirds and giant lavender flowers are the norm.

This land is buffeted on the west by a 500 square mile biosphere reserve called Cueva de los Quacharo. It is the place where two of Colombia’s three mountain ranges converge and where ancient peoples lived and carved giant stone figures. It is a special place and the people who live here believe that the great forest tracts of the natural preserve protect their land from the violence of weather and give them a calm, peaceful place to live and farm.

In 2001, Some of the farmers of this area got together with the intentions of improving their managerial skills and gaining access to the elusive “specialty coffee market,” and they formed an association called La Asociación Los Naranjos de San Augustin.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Joyeux Holiday Blend, from Populace Coffee in Bay City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.


region: Kichwa Tembo, Kenya // Bener Meriah, Sumatra
farm: N/A // Los Naranjos de San Agustin
producer: smallholder farmers
association: N/A // Asociacion Los Naranjos San Agustin
elevation: 1200 – 1500 // 1600 – 1900 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28, SL34 // Caturra, Colombia
process: fully washed, raised bed dried // fully washed, patio dried
certifications: standard


method: Chemex
grind: 19, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
bloom: 1:30
pour: 2:00 concentric pulse pour


Joyeux’s aroma is really interesting. It has one note that is much more prominent than everything else, for one thing; the other interesting thing about the aroma is how specific that one incredibly prominent note is: hot buttered rum cake. There are further scents of caramel, apple, plum, and roasted almonds, but boy oh boy that hot buttered rum cake is so unique and so specific.

The first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew present my palate with a full-bodied coffee that is uniquely silky and effervescent in addition to its full-bodied profile. It has a tremendous sugary sweetness, characterized by heavy flavors of English toffee, honey, caramel, brown sugar, and that rum cake that was so prominent in the coffee’s aroma. Already, though, there is a brightness to the coffee due to its Fuji apple juiciness.

As the cup cools off, more fruit flavors come forward, defining its sparkling and effervescent silky mouthfeel. Raisin, fig, red grape, strawberry, plum, something of a tart lemon acidity and a softly lingering brown sugar finish.

Full body; silky mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish.


Holy cow. Talk about “making spirits bright.”

Populace Coffee’s Joyeux Holiday Blend is a coffee that was intensely bright, tart, lively, and effervescent. One that absolutely sparkled on the palate. And one that doesn’t quit.

If this one doesn’t fill you with “joyeux,” mes amis, vous êtes mort à l’intérieur. Joyeux Noël!

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *