NICARAGUA CABO AZUL - DECEMBER'S SMALL BATCH ROAST
ROASTING IN DECEMBER: NICARAGUA CABO AZUL
As the nights lengthen and frost starts to gather around the edges of our days, we crave warm and nostalgic flavors. This month for our subscribers, we’re offering a special Estate coffee from Nicaragua. The Cabo Azul is a chocolatey, sweet, and complex dark roast that will bring some coziness to crisp mornings. Does it sound like Nicaragua Cabo Azul is the perfect way to warm up as we move from a cold autumn into winter? Sure does.
FROM CATTLE TO COFFEE: WITH COMMITMENT
Back in 2000, business partners Rene Morales and Ernesto Fernandez transformed an old cattle farm into a combination coffee plantation and lush bioreserve. Cabo Azul Estate is 778 hectares, with sixty percent of a protected area reserved for the conservation of endangered species of flora and fauna. Committed not only to high quality coffee but also to land stewardship, they’ve created a sanctuary for a diversity of native species from ocelots to colorful quetzals. The planted area of the estate grows a range of coveted coffee cultivars and does so in a geographic oasis for specialty coffee.
AN OLD FAVORITE, FINALLY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Nicaragua’s high altitudes, rich soil, and tropical climate work in tandem to create an outstanding cup. Although we’ve sourced from Cabo Azul Estate for years as a stellar addition to our blends, this year’s lot was such a showstopper that we brought it into the spotlight.
SMALL BATCH SOLSTICE
Whether your weeks are packed with parties, or you prefer to relax at home and let the winter wonderscape work its magic outside, a cup of Nicaragua Cabo Azul is ready for whatever your December has in store. In the Cupping Room, we especially loved this lot: some of our tasting notes included references to gianduja (that’s chocolate-and-hazelnut for those who don’t speak Italian), and rich fruits, which comes from the surprisingly wonderful acidic balance of this Nicaragua. We reference of ‘graham cracker crust apple pie,' as it captures that toasty sweetness of crust along with the caramelized juiciness of baked apples—balanced, and with a lot of depth. The long finish is perfect for the shortening days, inviting moments to savor the season with each beautifully brewed cup.
NOTES FROM THE PEET’S ROASTERY
When Nicaragua Cabo Azul arrived at the Peet’s Roastery, the unroasted, green beans looked great: a nice lot of mixed dark blue-green and lighter grass-green—small and round with some silverish skin still present. When we first opened the bag, the smell from the beans was cool and green like a basket of cucumbers fresh out of a produce cooler.
This coffee was very well behaved from beginning to end, built to an obvious consensus at first crack and slowed nicely after reducing heat. At first crack, the sound of the beans popping was very loud and sharp, steadily building up to a peak. Both first and second crack were audible outside the roaster. A communicative symphony making for a solid test roast.
The cool vegetal smell of the green coffee was replaced by a very sweet and nutty aroma once roasted. When we let this coffee out of the roaster, the air in our 12KG test roast room was heavy with the heady smell of nuts and chocolate. Upon cupping, we were struck by the balance in this Nicaragua: a chocolatey break, lots of nice cocoa powder aromatic notes, some sweet nut, nice texture, and full, yet still quite bright. We like this Nicaragua a lot.
-John Nicolini and Michael Madden, Roasters
LIMITED RELEASE PEET’S COFFEES
You might think that a monthly coffee subscription sounds amazing in and of itself, but Peet’s Small Batch coffee-of-the-month takes it a step further. These are microlot coffees, which is why you can only find them at peets.com and you can only access them if you have a subscription. They’re special—their rarity means they can sell out—fast. Subscribing ensures you get to taste each one of these remarkable lots. Do you have a coffee lover in your life (or someone who is a bit tough to shop for)? A Peet’s subscription is a gift they will love—and thank you for every morning.