At the risk of sounding like a total Intelligentsia shill – having recently touted both Culture and Third Rail - I’ll go ahead and give my plug for these two fine coffee from Intelligentsia. Of course, this review may only do you half good since the Panama coffee, my slight favorite of the two, can no longer be found on Intelligentsia shelves. Sorry for the less than prompt reviewing.
Overall, I found both coffees quite good, but I should add that I was somewhat handicapped in my usual regimen of reviewing as I consumed these mostly in New York without access to much of my usual at home equipment. I did get to cup each but only after they had aged somewhat. I mostly consumed them via French Press and Moka Pot, ala James Hoffman’s suggested method.That said, I’ll keep this short.
This coffee was a bit bolder than I imagined it would be, full-bodied and slightly viscous and syrupy, yet still surprisingly subtle in its flavors. I picked up on some nice chocolate notes with grapes and apple. The acidity was mild but just a tad juicy. It was also characterized by a very earthy, loamy aroma. I enjoyed this coffee a lot and appreciated it’s understated manner although at times I wished it would have been a bit more pushy.
El Machete, Panama
This coffee came out loud for such an otherwise light and clean coffee. I should add, perhaps in seeming contrast that this coffee did have a bit of viscosity to it, but it was thick without being clingy. It was full of tropical fruit: kiwi, papaya, coconut with a very candy-like sweetness and tang. I should clarify that it was not a tropical fruit bomb. The fruit was pronounced and immediately notable but it was intricately layered with distinctive flavors slowly unraveling. I look forward to meeting this coffee again next year.