This selection is a product of a special program in Colombia called “1 Million Pesos,” which aims to find the country’s best coffees by offering a price of 1 million pesos per carga (125 kilograms) for coffees scoring above 90 points. As Cafe Imports explains it, coffee farmers participating in this program are ecstatic when they succeed as the price on the street for traditional sales is about half that.
Last November Cafe Imports held a meeting celebrating the top producers and handing out big checks for their hard work. There was a lot of discussion about farming methods and practices that contribute to coffees scoring above 90 points, but mainly general excitement about the possibility of having this type of success from quality.
These people are proud farmers anyway, and income for their quality just helps to dignify that.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Colombia Monte Bonito, from Revel Coffee Roasters in Billings, Montana, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Pitalito, Huila, Colombia
farm/factory: Finca Las Acacias
producer: Lucio Gilberto Mora
elevation: 1300 -1750 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, parabolic dried
The aroma of the Colombia Monte Bonito doesn’t particularly grab me. I inhale deeply, with my nose practically touching the bed of grounds, but it’s still just a mild, mellow, subdued scent. Notes of honey, pomegranate, baking spices, cocoa, and roasted nuts.
So the first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew provide my palate with a coffee that’s roasty, slightly astringent, and is a bit abrasive on the tongue. I don’t know the technical or scientific term for “beverage that feels like it’s leaving splinters on your tongue” but this coffee is that term. But it’s not all roastiness up front, fortunately; there are also heavy influences of dark chocolate, brown sugar, cedar, clove, earth, marzipan, allspice, cinnamon, and, surprisingly, a beautiful ruby red grapefruit acidity that is bubbling just below the surface.
As it cools off, the roastiness up front dissipates quite a lot, allowing some really lush, gorgeous red fruit flavors to take center stage. Sweet raspberry, cherry, fleshy pomegranate, zesty and tart passion fruit all float in on a river of vanilla that streams down the center and sides of the tongue. However, there is just enough of the roastiness and clove notes left from up front that make for a slightly dry, mildly astringent finish, leaving behind a lingering roasted nuts aftertaste, particularly on the roof of the mouth. Such a shame for the coffee to finish that way.
Full body; juicy mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I’ve been wanting to try a coffee from Montana for a while now and, thanks to Craft Coffee, I finally had the opportunity to do so in the state’s Table debut: the Colombia Monte Bonito, from Revel Coffee Roasters.
While the coffee got off to a bit of a shaky start, it leveled out as it progressed and I think it stuck the landing. I was disappointed in the amount of roast and the abrasiveness of the coffee up front – it might have behooved the roaster to take their foot off the gas pedal a little bit in that regard; however, those flaws do back off as the cup cools off and as that veil lifts, the cup reveals a coffee that is juicy, lush, and mildly tart.
So, no – this is not a coffee without flaw; but it is a coffee that it largely enjoyable and almost overcomes it shortcomings in the long run. If not for that last little bit of astringency and roasted nut finish, this would have been a much better coffee.
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