This year has been a bit of a blur for me in many ways. A lot has been going on and as a result it seems as though a blink of an eye in Springtime has turned into cold late November nights.
We are still enjoying our coffee, though we have found ourselves unable to get past one in particular, and there is a very real possibility that it is going to reduce the number of different coffees we get to taste this year as our craving – no it is an addiction – continues. Not since La Manuela up to and including the 2006-07 crop have we consumed so much of one coffee.
The coffee that I am waxing lyrical about is my current favourite by some distance, Finca Los Amates Bourbon (available at £4.50 a bag from http://www.hasbean.co.uk), which came eleventh in the 2009 El Salvadorian Cup of Excellence competition.
This is the typical thick, gloopy type espresso that I so love, except the sweetness typical of the style presents slightly differently to the usual milk chocolate and caramel tones. Steve describes a “dark chocolate sweetness” in Los Amates, and there certainly are clear tones of dark chocolate present, though it is not sharp dark chocolate as might be expected. Somehow it conveys great sweetness whilst very clearly remaining dark chocolate in flavour. There are even tones of caramel which are quite creamy and are highlighted by the fantastic mouthfeel. The best bit for me though is the undertone of blackcurrant (Steve gets blackberry) and a stunning spiciness that suits Winter evenings. With a lovely balanced finish and long lasting aftertaste, it is hard to move on from this coffee.
We may not always go for the latest trend in coffees in a big way, and there is always a tendancy for us to lean toward the chocolate caramel tones that I seem to witter on about endlessly, but with the huge selection of beans available in the UK these days it is easy for a real gem to be underrated. If a coffee doesn’t have a particularly unusual facet it has to stand alongside many other world class beans with similar attributes and it becomes easy to merely group them as types. Well Los Amates really stands out as a classic of its style. My advice is don’t miss out on this one.