maria galo la union
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In the state of Illinois, nothing outside of Chicago matters. That’s a Chicagoan perception anyway. Sadly, though, it’s also the mindset of many Chicago-area suburbanites. This is why, when somebody from Naperville or Joliet or even DeKalb goes on vacation, they tell the locals “We’re from Chicago” (this doesn’t apply to Rockford residents, of course—they’re a different breed entirely, and a proud one to boot).

Equally proud, however, are the hard-working folks of Central Illinois. The residents of Bloomington, Springfield, Urbana-Champaign, Decatur, Danville, and, of course, Peoria.

This was all too evident when the guys at Thirty-Thirty Coffee Company—the Pride of Peoria—agreed to let me review their coffees. Their agreeing to be scrutinized by a guy in Chicago who is surrounded by totally legit roasters automatically said of them, “These guys think they’re legit too.”

The first two coffees I tried from them—their Ethiopia Hachira and Guatemala San Juan—were certainly exceptional coffees. Now we get to try the third and final offering that they provided me.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’ll be sipping the Honduras Maria Galo from Thirty-Thirty Coffee Company. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Maria, the daughter of Don Servando Galo and Dona Rita Ramirez, is the second of 12 children. Since her early childhood, she has worked on the farm and 8 years ago she received her first 12 acres of land from her father. Because her whole family helps on each of their farms, there is a great sense of unity between them.

This is how Maria came up with the name for her farm, La Union or “the union.” Not only does she grow coffee, but she also harvests fruits, vegetables and other plants. In addition, she raises pigs and cows.

This variety of products led her to open a small grocery store which she runs out of her home.

the basics:

origin: N/A
farm: Finca La Union
elevation: 1200 meters above sea level
cultivars: Typica, Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: standard

the coffee:

The aroma of this coffee is sweet and alluring, but faint—not overpowering in any sense. It is perfumy with elements of tropical fruits, flowers, and caramel, but it also has just a touch of roastiness—not an unpleasant roastiness, more like a roasted almond roastiness.

That same roasted almond note is up front in the first few sips, too; but it carries along with it a sweet cinnamon, a cardamom spice, and clove pungency, each sip finishing off with a push of silky salted caramel. I must admit, I’m already loving this coffee—particularly while sitting outside in this gorgeous Fall weather. Wearing a sweater, watching the leaves slowly change color, the cool breeze, and a mug of this spicy sweet coffee really makes for a pleasant afternoon.

As its cooling off, it gets remarkably sweeter as a malic acidity begins to seep through the crust; it pinches the tip of the tongue, then swirls around the insides of my cheeks before hitting the back of my throat. The cooler the coffee gets, the more prominent this acidity becomes—long and deep and perfectly flavored; before much longer, each sip of this coffee is almost the equivalent of biting into a juicy honeycrisp apple. Other flavors emerge too, and suddenly this coffee is a veritable hodgepodge of tropicalia—strawberry, raspberry, apple, mango, and even ripe cantaloupe.

Medium body; silky mouthfeel; malic acidity; dry finish.

the bottom line:

I’ll have to think about it some more, but I think that the Honduras Maria Galo may have been my favorite selection from the care package that Thirty-Thirty Coffee Company sent me. Unlike the Hachira, it wasn’t nearly as flavorful but it had a much more defined body; and unlike the Guatemala San Juan, it wasn’t as “classic cup of coffee” (for lack of a better term) but it was much more consistent from beginning to end.

Of the three, the Honduras Maria Galo had the most going for it.

It had really nice flavors, it was well-rounded and balanced, it had a lot of depth, nice clarity—it was exactly what a really great Honduran coffee could and should be.

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