Along with my bag of Linnaean Street Espresso and Hario mill (in fact, two since I gave one to a friend), I ordered a bag of the Nimac Kapeh coffee from the Atitlan region of Guatemala. I had high hopes for this coffee based on my generally good experiences with Guatemalan coffee (I’m thinking especially of the many Finca Vista Hermosa coffees I’ve consumed over the years) and a couple of pretty positive reviews (1, 2) of the Nimac Kapeh, in particular.
I just want to repeat how much I love the simple, attractive, and information-dense packaging that Barismo has designed, which conveys both a sense of location for the product and useful information for the consumer. Tho additions I’d make if I had any input would be a location dot on the map so I knew where in Guatemala this region was, and some tasting notes so that I don’t have to look these up on the blog. I do appreciate, though, the explicit brewing instruction indicating a fairly hot brewing temperature of 205 (for this particular coffee) and the recommendation that this coffee brews best as a pour over (this is the kind of recommending I’ve attempted to do on this blog).
Of course, being the experimentalist that I am, I tried pulling this coffee as a shot of espresso as per the instructions I found on the blog. I also made it as a French Press. The latter was good, although I found it a bit too bright with the extra body obscuring some of the better qualities of this coffee. As espresso (brewing instructions can be found on the photo of the Nimac Kapeh on the blog), it wasn’t bad in terms of flavors and aromas, but was very thin-bodied. I could see it working well as a component in an espresso blend and/or at a different, darker roast.
What I liked about this coffee was its complexity, which was obvious from the moment I opened the bag. I picked up on a lot of different aromas and flavors. My tasting notes included firm pear, sour apple candy, bubble gum and Darjeeling tea. I also picked up on some floral notes – maybe hyacinth – and even a little honneydew melon.
What I liked less was the intensity of the acidity. It screamed sour apple jolly rancher and just wouldn’t calm down even at very high temperatures. These bright notes were even more prevalent in a French Press and is part of the reason why I think I preferred it as a pour over. I find the paper filter tends to mute some of those brighter notes. I’m not sure how the cloth filters that I think Barismo is big on would affect the taste. Still, I found the intensity a bit tiring and after a few sips I often wanted something easier on the palate, even if the darker roast it might take to produce that quality woudl come at the expense of some of that wonderful complexity.