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coffee@home: CCC’s Decaf Zaragoza Mexico

Beans: Decaf 21st de Septiembre, Zaragoza, Mexico
Roaster: Counter Culture Coffee
Rating: 4

This direct trade, organic, shade-grown, natural water process, Mexican from the 21st de Septiembre co-op was the other bag of coffee in my recent order from Counter Culture. You may remember this coffee from my glowing review of Woodberry Kitchen’s coffee service, but I hope I’m adding some nuance to that review and not just repeat myself.

The bottom line is that this coffee is pretty damned amazing. It has a slightly gritty mouthfeel and a medium to full body with notes of clove, burnt caramel, brown sugar, tobacco and a bit of orange or what sometimes suggests tomato. Despite being a darker roast, it feels like CC really nailed this one. The coffee’s smokey qualities remind me of that caterpillar with the hookah in Alice in Wonderland. Yet the darkness doesn’t obscure the touch of tang that really comes through as an espresso.

My only complaint is a very slight, harshness in the back of the throat that I couldn’t quite shake no matter how I prepared this coffee. Given it strong and delicious tobacco aftertaste, it almost feels intentional, like the sore throat that accompanies a socially-smoked cigarette.

This coffee is highly versatile which is clearly a good thing, but especially true in a decaf. While it didn’t wow me in the syphon (probably too dark), it wasn’t bad. And, it pretty much sung in any other form I tried, including the above-mentioned espresso, French Press, pour over drip or Aeropress (yikes, I’ve got to get a life).

I’m giving this coffee a 4. Just to be clear, it probably wouldn’t stand up to the most highly celebrated caffeinated coffees, but then again I’ve never met a decaf that could. However, it can more than hold its own against pretty much any decaf out there and can probably best many darker roasted regulars as well. I’d say this is just about the best darn decaf I’ve had in a long, long time.

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