Greetings, coffee aficionados! Welcome back to my table, here in the corner of Heritage Bicycle General Store.
“Wait, did you just say… bicycle store?”
Oh – hi, there.
Yeah, Heritage Bicycle General Store in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. It’s the home of Heritage and Bowery Lane Bicycles. Furthermore, they’re a coffee shop! They brew and peddle (pun totally intended) coffee from the pride of Portland, Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
“Wow! That sounds incredibly unique. Tell me more about them!”
Okay, I will. But wait until tomorrow, when I write up a full review, okay? I don’t want to give it all away at once.
Great, thanks. Anyway, I stopped into Heritage on my way to work this morning, pining for something different. I’ve exhausted all of the coffee shops in my immediate vicinity and am known on a first-name basis all over Western Chicago. It was time to branch out! Unfortunately (depending how you view it), most of the coffee shops in Chicago, no matter where you, carry the same companies – Bridgeport, Dark Matter, Passion House, Metropolis, and Intelligentsia. And as much as I love these companies and their products, every now and again I get an itch for something new. When I found out about Heritage and subsequently learned that they’re carrying Stumptown as their main coffee, I had to get over there.
Ready for a change of scenery?
“Wait, I’m not ready yet. I need to put on my helmet.”
Yes, great idea – bicycle safety first.
“Okay. I’m ready now.”
Feel free to pull up a chair.
I don’t know how this happened – quite frankly I’m in shock – but we’ve actually never reviewed a coffee from Stumptown here at the Table before. I can assure you that I was just as surprised as you are when I went digging through my archives and realized that. So I’m happy that today, we’re going to get to make up for lost time. Today’s coffee comes to us from one of my favorite locations, Guatemela’s famed Huehuetenango region. This, of course, is probably Guatemala’s most popular coffee-producing region, but it’s for good reason – just about everything that comes from this area of the world is fantastic.
Finca El Injerto – the farm that produced today’s cup of coffee – is no different. El Injerto prides itself on social, environmental, ethical, and business responsibility. Every year the coffee produced by these men and women wins a lot of awards, and has a permanent place for itself at the forefront of Guatemala’s Cup of Excellence competition.
Origins: Huehuetenango, Guatemala
Farms: Finca El Injerto
Process: washed, patio-dried
Certifications: Direct Trade
This coffee has a fine and delicate herbal and floral aroma. Notes of jasmine and rose hips. There are also bolder elements of creamy dark chocolate and hazelnut.
All of this carries over into the flavor, very nicely. Immediately post-brew, Finca El Injerto tastes like Dutch chocolate-covered hazelnuts – it’s smooth and creamy, but it also has the hint of dark chocolate bittersweetness. This initial flavor is pretty bold and straightforward; but as the cup cools, the boldness gets a little subdued and a muted fruity sweetness (plum, lemon, and pear), combined with the delicacy of the rose hips that we detected in the aroma, begins to emerge. I wouldn’t say that the lighter notes outright replace the bolder ones, though – it’s more like, they are set up on top of the chocolate nuttiness. Though the coffee is fairly full-bodied, when it’s at room temperature the flavor is quite chamomile tea-like – very refined, calming, soothing.
It has a nice clean finish, a smooth, rich, and creamy palate-coating texture, and a very small amount of lemony acidity.
the bottom line:
Chicago’s weather has been all over the board lately. Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees and sunny, but ferociously windy; today, it’s a little cooler, still a bit windy, but grey skies have rolled over the city, and there’s a scent of rain in the air. The Guatemala Finca El Injerto, from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, is the perfect coffee for this type of weather. It makes you want to curl up in a comfy chair with a book that takes place in 19th century England. It’s soothing, it’s calming, and it’s tame – a mild cup of coffee for a mild type of day. Moreover, though, it’s a good cup of coffee that is consistent from beginning to end. It doesn’t throw any surprises at you, but it doesn’t let you down either.
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