I'm on vacation from the job that pays the bills this week, but vacationing is hard work, especially since our daughter is off from school and my wife has to work. I need many shots of espresso to keep up my stamina. On Monday, I hustled my daughter off to a playdate, then wandered off on a chilly but sunny day to the Ninth Street Espresso outpost in Chelsea Market. I was on a specific mission: All of NInth Street's coffees are roasted by Intelligentsia, which has a roasting lab but no shops in New York. I had been pleased with several Intelligentsia "guest" coffees purchased at Cafe Grumpy, including this Colombian. I'll have more on the results of the expedition later. How did this bean fare in my ongoing coffee quest? Name: Micay, Finca Santuario
Origin: Cauca, Colombia
Roasted: March 31 by Intelligentsia
Purchased: April 5 at Café Grumpy, 224 W. 20th St., Manhattan, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
Description: "Almost candy-like in its sweetness, notes of licorice root and milk chocolate sustain the acidity as a finish of tart dried fruit and praline linger pleasantly."
In the cup: For the last several days, this Colombian single-source bean has been loaded up in the Jura and ready to go. I've had it as an espresso and as a regular coffee, no milk. It's hard to say which I prefer more. It seems sweeter as an espresso, though I'm not sure I agree with the "candy-like" description the bag, which is just as well. I've certainly tasted coffees with more of a hint of chocolate than this, and too much fruit aftertaste, but this goes down smoothly and pleasantly from start to finish.
This direct-trade and in-season coffee is a Bourbon grown at 1,900 meters or so above sea level and harvested last summer in the Cauca region of Colombia at Finca Santuario, a plantation operated by Camilo Merizalde, which I wrote about earlier. His beans seem to be a favorite of other coffee bloggers. Regrettably, the Intelligentsia blog post about Mr. Merizalde's farm and methods, quoted in my earlier review of his Heliconias variety, seems to have vanished from the roaster's blog. But you can find an updated version [also in pdf] (with pictures) with the Micay description:
This coffee marks the first time that we are offering two different botanic varietials from the same farm. This is a rare opportunity since it is not possible to separate most coffees in this way. Many farms are basically monocultures, with 80 percent or more of the crop coming from a single variety. On others with greater diversity, coffee varieties are usually not separated well enough in the field to allow for individual/selective harvesting. On smaller farms, even when varieties are well identified and separated, the volumes are just too tiny to be workable as individual lots.
So, one farm, two great coffees. I'll keep an eye out for more from Finca Santuario. And Intelligentsia is fast converting me into a believer in its experts' ability to find great coffees. My Ninth Street expedition this week yielded a couple of other beans from this roaster, a direct trade coffee from Brazil and Intelligentsia's "Alphabet City" espresso blend. More on them later this week.