Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Buenos Días Dixon Blend Coffee

Type: Organic Buenos Días Dixon Blend

Origins: Nicaragua Segovia 50%; Timor 50%
Roaster: Taos Roasters Coffee
Roast: Medium-Dark
Preparation: Freshly ground, French-pressed, sipped black

Taos Roasters Coffee is a roasting house that takes special pride in the high-altitude environment in which it roasts the coffee. What difference could the elevation make? According to their website, "Taos' high-altitude setting [approx. 7500ft], with its lower barometric pressure and lower boiling point, reduces the risk of scorching and preserves all of the beans' subtleties and complexities, maximizing the flavor and aroma." That sounds likely enough on the surface, though a skeptical consumer might like some proof. Good news, skeptics: I have had such proof in the form of their Buenos Días Dixon blend.

The beans have a winey aroma to them. After they brew in the press, the liquid is a delightful chocolate brown in color. The coffee offers a fruity and floral nose. It is a little smokey, but not earthy. The aroma, though not spicy, hits with a bit of pungency. Then, when I sipped it, the first thing I wrote down was, "Now we're getting down to business." The coffee, evidently having used up all of its flora in the nose, emits earthy notes onto the tongue with a vague air of bitterness. I searched for hints of fruit - none. I searched for hints of florals - nope. I searched for hints of nuttiness - nuh-uh. So, what does it taste like? Coffee. It is smooth, medium-bodied, with very low acid, and it tastes quite quintessentially like coffee. There is some nuttiness in the finish - an earthy nuttiness.

At first, before reading Taos Roasters Coffee's notes on elevation, I hypothesized that Buenos Días Dixon is a medium-dark roast, noting that the tasting notes are similar to a dark but the body is just not quite exaggerated enough for it to be a full dark. And indeed, I have received confirmation from the kind folks at the TRC that it is considered a medium-dark. But the Nicaragua Segovia is at 38 on the Agtron scale and the Timor is at 40, making this coffee almost as reasonably called a dark roast as anything else. How can something be roasted at an average of 39 and still have the aroma and structure of something close to a 50? The altitude clarifies everything. The earthy, bitter flavor demonstrates a dark roast, but without the concomitant scorching, the body is able to maintain a level of modesty. The flavor is solid without being off-the-wall. The bitterness is an air and not a center piece. In other words, one gets the benefits of darkly roasted flavor without the drawback of having to sip what in extreme cases can seem like coffee syrup.


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