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Palate: Full-bodied, almost chewy with a slight alcohol burn softening to present a caramel-toffee sweetness and orange peel, with mild acidy.
Blind assessment: This coffee attracted a split vote; some found it impressive: low key but smooth, cleanly floral and citrusy, discreetly acidy, with a fresh, fruit-toned finish.
Sweet, deeply resonant, softly acidy, long in the finish, gently nuanced with tones variously read as spice, nut, and citrus.
Judging from the popularity of gentler, less acidy coffees like Jamaica Blue Mountain and Hawaii Kona, many North American coffee drinkers prefer a smoother, less dramatic cup.
The ratings the cupping board gave the 10 Brazils averaged approximately 75, as compared to 78 for the higher grown, generally more complex, and definitely more acidy Guatemalas the board cupped for the January issue.
I would predict that many North American cuppers, who tend to prefer coffees with authoritative, acidy profiles, might describe the Konas in the same rather patronizing terms used here to describe the understated virtues of the best of these El Salvadors.
The high-toned paradox of acidy brightness and underlying sweetness should please those who value subtlety over power.
For me, the clinching evidence of this coffee's distinction came in the nuances discovered in its sweetly acidy top notes.
Elsewhere, the book describes Guatemalan coffees as being extremely acidy.
Both the roasters and importers in Tokyo told us Brazil and Colombia straight blends are too acidy for the Japanese palate and by blending it with the Indonesia coffee, the acidity is removed.