Coffee Review: Columbia Villarica Cup of Excellence, Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company


100209_LabelTempCOECompany: Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company

Bean Origin or Blend: Columbia Villarica (Cup of Excellence, 2009)

Body: Light

Roast: Light

Brew Method: Drip and French Press

Price: $24/12oz (Purchase)

We’ve been very impressed by the beans from Zoka and have reviewed a couple (Costa Rica COE, Rwanda). The Columbian Villa Rica is a 2009 Cup of Excellence Award winner, placing fourth with a score of 90.03, and is a part of Zoka’s Artisan Reserve line, which is only roasted on Mondays.

This particular bean utilizes a rather unique technique for cleaning the beans:

Although this is a traditionally washed coffee, the method used for removing the mucilage from the beans is a relatively new one. Typically, mucilage is removed from coffee by fermenting the beans in water for up to 24 hours to let nature take its course. The mucilage is then washed away. In this case, the mucilage is removed using a mechanical de-mucilager. This method uses less water, and is much quicker. The soil on this farm consists mainly of clay, and the plants receive water from a nearby stream.

From the Villarica Farm in the Huila Region, this bean is grown at an altitude of 5000+ feet and is of the Caturra variety.

Columbian coffee is well known in the States, which is one of the chief importers. Uniquely, Columbian Coffee is also a protected designation of origin, meaning the name is actually protected from improper and errant use. The coffee bean was believed to have been brought to this region by the Jesuits around 1730, with the first commercial crops being planted in the eastern part of the country around 1835, when 2,650 green beans were registered and exported from the port of Cucuta to Venezuela. (source)

The aroma on the oily Columbian bean is quite sharp and pungent with an underlying presence of sweet melon, amaretto, and a general velvety profile. On the pour, the melon is muted and the amaretto dominates and is joined by a strong berry aroma. Sipping the Columbian is where it takes off – syrupy and crisp with a long, thick finish, the berry remains the dominant force and is very smooth; unfortunately, the melon fails to surface.

This is a very clean, crisp, and one-dimensional bean. The profile is not dramatic or complex, but rather smooth and gentle. This is an excellent any time of day kind of coffee that is very light and will not overpower the food or cigar it is accompanied. The finish is delightfully thick and long, which helps bring some punch to the otherwise unsurprising profile. At $24 per 12 ounces, you are getting what you pay for, with a smoothness that is not easily found, but it is beyond my comfort level for a regular, everyday cup.