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Guatemala El Cuervo

March 18, 2006
Jim Schulman

If you love the deep dry distillate flavors of a dark roast, reminiscent of peaty scotch, fine unlit cigar tobacco, and aromatic spices, but don't much care for their caramels and general ashiness; Guatemalan coffees will be to your liking, especially those from Antigua, for these tend to develop distillate flavors at lighter roast levels. Intelligentsia's current Guatemalan, El Cuervo, a Typica/Caturra mix from the Popoyan region, fits this bill perfectly.

Unlike many Antiguas, which have a lemony acidity at lighter roasts, this coffee has dark fruit and spice flavors on top, with pipe tobacco underneath; creating a powerful, almost brooding coffee. Geoff recommends a medium City Roast, and I concur with this. At full city, it makes a great addition to an espresso blend when used in proportions small enough so the spice doesn't overpower everything else. This cup scores lower than the Los Inmortales, since the aroma isn't as exuberant, but note that the drinking flavors are more powerful.


Dry Fragrance: 3.0
Wet Aroma: 3.75
Flavor/Taste/Depth: 8.0
Finish/Aftertaste: 8.5
Brightness/Acidity: 7.0
Body/Movement/Mouth-Feel: 7.0
Cupper's Correction: 0.5
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TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 87.75

 

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UPDATED: March 19, 2006