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Nicaragua - Santa Isabel Estate - COE #5

October 29 , 2007

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.

Jaime Armando Lovo owns many coffee estates, and Santa Isabel is his "role model." Here he tries out environmental and social initiatives that will be reflected in the coffee's quality and market appeal so that the improvements for the land and for people's lives are truly sustainable. It is gratifying that the Cup of Excellence lot submitted from here earned 5th place with a Jury score of 90.55. It fetched a very good price of $7.82, and was bought by a coalition of US roasters including Stanton, who will make it available as green to home roasters. Bob and I would like to thank Stanton Roasters for joining the very short but distinguished list of roasters offering us such superb coffees.

Bob's Review:
Last month I reviewed the Nic COE #2 and here's another in the series. If that coffee was stone-fruited, this one has more on the high end; citrus and berries but with a sweet caramel-chocolate wrapping. This is an intense, classic-tasting coffee but complex and ever-changing as it cools. Did I say sweet? I mean really sweet. The aroma hints of floral character and roasted nuts but that is not confirmed in the cup, maybe because it's overpowered by the chocolate.

This is medium-bodied, smooth-as-silk cup with a medium-long finish and bright acidity. Makes a great cappa as well!

Jim's Review:
On my first blind cupping I misidentified this coffee as a Kenya. The roast flavors are complex and fairly heavy bodied, with raisin and molasses notes. The coffee is dry and slightly astringent when warm, and gets much sweeter and delicate as it cools. The fruit flavors are floral and berry-like, getting more pit fruit like as it cools. My score was slightly lower than the jury's, since the taste for me never quite came together into a unified whole. If you enjoy a cup that is all over the place, you'll probably rate this one higher.

The SO espresso shot is roughly the same as the cup, with no distortions. The cappas are particularly fine, very sweet, with a predominant almond taste along with hints of honey, banana and raisin.

Bobs Score
Dry Fragrance: 4.6
Wet Aroma: 4.5
Flavor 7.8
Finish: 8.3
Acidity: 7.5
Body: 7.6
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 90.3

Jim's Score

Dry fragrance: 4.0
Wet Aroma: 3.5
Flavor: 7.75
Finish: 8.5
Acidity: 7.5
Body: 7.75
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 89.0

  • Lighter Roasts: Unusual darker toned cup with dried fruit, molasses and flowers.
  • Darker Roasts: Good till early in the 2nd; excessively astringent if too far into the 2nd.
  • As Espresso: Well balanced, classic north Italian SO; excellent almond & malt cappa.


UPDATED: November 1, 2007