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.
This coffee won first place in the Kona Coffee Council's "Open" category (non-estate) in 2007. It's graded as Extra-Fancy (size) according to the State of Hawaii's green grading standards and is one of the most perfectly prepped coffees we've seen yet, yielding an extremely even roast with very little chaff. Looking for defects was an exercise in futility. No defects of any kind were found, and in 300 grams, there were less than 10 beans off-screen.
This coffee is deep and intense, very sweet and finely acidic with a fairly complex “island” profile consisting of caramel, nuts, chocolate and a touch of apple. There is a spice note to enhance the main components and an astringent quality in the finish. The coffee has good balance between its medium-high acidity and sweetness.
This coffee is best roasted to full city, pulling it just before second crack or just slightly into the first pops of second. For preparing the drink, I preferred it brewed, either from a vac-pot or a French press. As an espresso drink, a single shot doesn't produce much crema but a cappuccino was very sweet with some loss of complexity and espresso/chocolate/nutty flavors.
This is a surprisingly complex Kona. The high end flavors
of granny smith apple and lychee nut are balanced by deeper
flavors of almond, smoked oak, and tobacco. There is enough
brown sugar sweetness to make it a classic Kona slurper. When
the coffee cools, it becomes crisply refreshing and very clean.
The body is buttery and medium heavy, while the acidity is
surprisingly mild for such lively flavors.
I spoiled a batch of this coffee by starting the roast too
slowly and overdrying the beans. This resulted in an overly
tobacco flavored cup. Air roasters will be fine; drum roasters
should drop in at a high temperature and get to the first crack
as quickly as possible. The coffee balances a good deal better
at a medium City roast than at lighter cupping roasts.
Dry Fragrance: 4.6
Wet Aroma: 4.5
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 90.1
Dry fragrance: 4.2
Wet Aroma: 4.1
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 89.4