(A NOTE FROM THE WRITER: this review is best enjoyed with this tune playing in the background: Chocolate City, by Parliament Funkadelic)

To each his reach
And if I don’t cop, it ain’t mine to have
But I’ll be reachin’ for ya
‘Cause I love ya, CC.
Right on. – Parliament Funkadelic, Chocolate City, 1975

The beach is hoppin, the party is on, the grill is working at full capacity, all the pretty girls are in their summer clothes… Awwww yeah.

Summer is here, baby. And nothing says summer like a boombox thumping out the groovitational beats of Parliament Funkadelic. Well—almost nothing.

Summer is the perfect time for playing in the sun, for laying on the beach, for cooking out with friends and family; but it’s also the perfect time to sit back and relax with a tall glass of iced coffee. And I don’t think any roaster knows more about coffee and gettin down and feelin groovy than Chicago’s own Dark Matter Coffee Company.

Welcome to my Towel, here on the corner of this beach. Today we’re going to crack open a bomber of Dark Matter Coffee’s Chocolate City. Feel free to pull up a beach chair.

Dark Matter Coffee is notorious in Chicago for the biggest bunch of fun-loving, groove-jamming, coffee-swigging cool cats around. Just step into their cafe, Star Lounge Coffee Bar—immediately upon opening the door, it’s as though you’ve been transported through the cosmos to a far funkier and groovier planetary dimension. It might be the massive amounts of Parliament and Sly and James Brown pouring through the speakers or the coffee that doesn’t taste anything like any other coffee you can find in this city, but it definitely is another world. A far, far, far groovier world.

So it came as no surprise to me to learn that Chocolate City, the cold brewed coffee Dark Matter recently released, is named after Jesse Diaz’s obsession with pre-1980’s space and psychedelia and, of course, Parliament (P-Funk came out with an album in 1975 called “Chocolate City” that pokes at racism a lot). The title track, with lyrics like ” They still call it the White House / but that’s a temporary condition, too,” makes Chocolate City all the more an appropriate name for this coffee during this election year.

Chocolate City is a blend of a natural from Mogiana, Brazil and a fully washed coffee Bugisu, Uganda. The coffee was Fetco extracted and double dosed.

the basics:

origin: Mogiana, Brazil / Bugisu, Uganda
farm: N/A
elevation: N/A
cultivars: N/A
process: natural / fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: N/A

the coffee:

The aroma of this coffee is every bit as chocolaty as the name of the coffee suggested it would be. As soon as I pry the cap off the bottle, a rush of milk chocolate explodes out of it. This chocolate is accompanied by a flutter of vibrant floral notes, berries, and nuts.

Sipping the coffee straight from the bottle is one thing—it’s a good thing: chocolaty, a bit of floral aromatics that were present in the aroma—, but when I pour the coffee into a glass with ice… Oh man. All aboard the mother ship, because this coffee is out of this world.

Out of the bottle, chocolate is the major flavor; it’s heavy and bold and coats the entire palate. But over ice, all of the more subtle flavors get amplified—the florals, the fruits, the nuts. Now I’m getting exceptionally cosmic notes of lilac, lavender, and violet; strawberry, even a light touch of blueberry underneath; hazelnut and toffee.

Medium body; low acidity; creamy mouthfeel; smooth, clean finish.

the bottom line:

Ahhh… That’s good stuff. The high today is in the upper nineties and after walking around in that for even ten minutes, coming home to a tall glass of iced Chocolate City, from Dark Matter Coffee Company, is just what the doctor ordered. Doctor J., that is.

Seriously, though, Chocolate City is a fantastic glass of cold brewed coffee. It wasn’t brewed as a concentrate, so there’s no need to dilute it with water or pollute it with cream and sugar (but it’s still pretty good even if you do feel the urge to do so); it’s smooth, mostly light-bodied, refreshing, and flavorful.

A perfect coffee to sip on the beach, in a hammock, by the pool, or while sprawled out on a beach towel catchin’ rays. Right on.

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