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Flores Bajawa

March 17, 2006

This will be a combined review, both of us having received samples. For a description of Bob and Jim's evaluation procedure, see our reference page.

Flores is one of the larger islands in the chain running west to east between Java and Timor. Bajawa is the harbor town for the small highland area along the southern coast where the coffee is grown. The coffee is reputedly of indifferent quality and is not seen much in the specialty trade. Royal Coffee, the importers, are gambling that this lot will change that reputation.

Bob: Looking at my notes after cupping this coffee blind, I had to wonder if I had mis-marked the samples. One would expect at least some similarity in character to a Javanese coffee, given the island's proximity to that country, but this coffee has a "classic" fragrance and cup profile akin to a Central. (Looking at Jim's notes after having written my review, I see we're on the same page in this regard).

This is a very fragrant, sweet, clean cup with some acidic livliness, medium body and a medium-long finish. Its flavor profile is classic with some floral notes combined with a toasted hazlenut nuttiness and a slight citrus "hit" on the finish.

It departs from its Central character in its flexibility as a darker roast and appropriateness as a SO espresso. One would have thought it too sour for a straight shot but this was not the case. It was sweet and complex enough to serve as a pleasant shot with the same citrus zing in the finish, that it showed on the cupping table.

Jim: Cupped blind, it's easy to mistake for a Colombian or a lower toned Central coffee. The dry and wet fragrance are mildly floral and citrus; the taste adds dark fruit, plum or cherry, and toasted nut. There is a slight Indonesian wood and molasses note, but the medium body, and medium bright acidity make it more like it's eastern neighbor, Timor, than it's western one, Java.

As an espresso, it tastes surprisingly like a classic light Northern Italian flowers, citrus and toast espresso, but sweet enough to balance out even the brisk acidity of a cupping roast, and with hints of the deeper Indonesian flavors. There's a bit of salt in the taste and finish, which isn't unpleasant, but which warns against taking this to a dark roast. My rather odd take is that if you enjoyed the Daterra SO espressos, you'll like this one too.


Jim's Score
Dry Fragrance: 3.25
Wet Aroma: 3.75
Flavor: 8.0
Finish: 7.5
Acidity: 7.75
Body: 7.25
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 87.5

Bob's Score
Dry Fragrance: 4.4
Wet Aroma: 4.3
Flavor: 7.7
Finish: 7.5
Acidity: 7.3
Body: 7.6
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 88.8

  • Lighter Roasts: Classic cup with only hints of Indonesia.
  • Darker Roasts: Not beyond a rolling 2nd; will develop more like an Indo there.
  • As Espresso: Lovely Northern Italian style shot, first pops of second or lighter.


UPDATED: April 28, 2006