The little girl
just could not sleep
because her thoughts were way too deep
her mind had gone out for a stroll
and fallen
d
o
w
n
the rabbit hole.

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Rabbit Hole Roasters, based just outside Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is a relatively new company, launched in the past couple years. But they roast some of the best coffee you’ll find in Canada, and are starting to garner a lot of attention in America.

“Going down the rabbit hole” is an expression inspired from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” used to describe setting off an adventure into the unknown, and the folks behind Rabbit Hole Roasters are certainly doing just that. The selections they offer hail from up and coming regions and have really unique and complex profiles. To that end, they also work with smaller importers who share their vision and values. Their goal is to create curiosity in their customers, and be as different and unique as possible.

Their Nicaragua La Bendición is evidence of their approach.

Finca La Bendición is owned by Luis Alberto. It is located in the Dipilto-Jalapa mountain range of northeastern Nueva Segovia, and sits at an elevation of approximately 1,300 meters. In total, the farm is 252 acres, with around 105 acres planted in coffee. Of those 130 acres in coffee, Luis grows the following varieties: Caturra, Red Catuai, Hybrids, Villa Sarchi, Pacamara, Maracaturra, H-3, Marselleza, Java and SL-28. 

Finca La Bendición has a loose sandy soil, with abundant humus and has an annual rainfall of between 1,400 and 1,600mm. In addition, the farm has a rich biodiverse environment of fauna and flora, with an abundance of broad-leaved trees and conifer species. All of this together, creates for optimal coffee growing conditions.

The care and processing that goes into every lot that is processed in this farm is second to none, with careful detail at every stage, starting with optimal cherry picking at the farm level. Washed coffees are dried for between 20-25 days, honeys 20-25 days and naturals, between 30-35 days! 

Luis Alberto won 1st place in the COE in 2019, placed 1st and 5th place in 2018, as well as 13th and 3rd place in 2017. He is no stranger to producing exceptional coffees.

THEBASICS

region: Nueva Segovia, Nicaragua
farm: Finca La Bendicion
producer: Luis Alberto
association: N/A
elevation: 1300
 meters above sea level
cultivars: SL28
process: Natural

TASTINGNOTES

The aroma of the Nicaragua La Bendición is bright, fruity, and floral and gracefully wafts out of the bag with notes of tropical fruits, citrus, and white tea. As the coffee gets further out from its roast date, its aroma doesn’t dissipate – it evolves, and presents sweeter with scents of sugar and dried fruit.

The coffee is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, but has a lot of presence – it envelopes the palate and coats the tongue with its silky mouthfeel. Up front it definitely presents as being naturally processed: it’s intensely bright and vibrant, with a dominant strawberry flavor undergirded by sweet creme fraiche and honey. As the coffee cools, ruby red grapefruit and white grape emerge alongside white tea nuances that were present in the aroma. Getting further away from its roast date, I tasted flavors more akin to peach, mango, and kiwi. And, finally, at room temperature, depending on the brewing style, I picked up notes of hazelnut and milk chocolate.

FINALTHOUGHTS

I know it’s only October, but come December 31, Rabbit Hole Roasters Nicaragua La Bendición will still be my favorite coffee of 2020. That’s not a prediction – that’s a spoiler.

This coffee brims with complexity, has as much depth as your mug allows, and has unparalleled shelf life. Similar to an experience in a review I read from @umeshiso_ , this coffee just kept going and going. In past experiences with natural coffees, they tend to lose their flavor halfway through the cup and they don’t last very long on the shelf. But this one has so much depth and life. I was able to come back to it nearly a full MONTH after its roast date and was still brimming with bright, fruity complexity.

I’m not sure what else to say about this coffee other than buy it first chance you get. In fact, I’d recommend buying their Experience Box, so you can try a whole range of their offerings at an extremely economic rate. I just bought it and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.

One more time for my friends in Montreal: Ce café est le meilleur de 2020. C’est très magnifique!

What were your thoughts of this one? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome! Contact me, or enter a comment below.

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