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Coffee Review: Cafe Grumpy Guatemala

February 7, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the enormous gap between words and places.

It’s very easy to make big claims like “I prefer espresso blends to single-origin” or “African coffees are much too bright for me.” Oftentimes, these claims are justified. But just as you can’t generalize that all people from one country are the same, this also holds true for coffee.

It just feels so abstract to read a label that names a specific country, farm, even, where your beans are coming from, and try to imagine it. Of course, you’ll be infinitely closer to visualizing this than if you bought a canister of grocery-store French Roast, but imagination only takes you so far.

If I hadn’t gone to a coffee roasting plant in Bali, this would be even more difficult.

What began as wanting to say “While I generally prefer Indonesian coffees…” turned into a tangent, but a justified one. I’m trying my best to overcome my prejudice that brighter, fruitier coffees all come from Africa and that chocolatey, mellow beans are from South America.

Cafe Grumpy’s current Guatemala offering helped move me slightly closer to that goal. Brewed on the Clever, I have yet to taste a cup of coffee that lingers like honey on your taste buds in the same way. So sweet, it’s almost juicy, like biting into a just-ripe nectarine. And yet, the cup is perfectly balanced: no charcoaled taste, no sharp acidity– just a smooth, relaxing brew.

Ideal for breakfast, or for those lazy afternoons where you sit at your coffee table with a friend and wait slowly for the caffeine to kick in. It’s a gradual process of awakening rather than a sudden jolt.

Almost too gentle, too sweet, for those of us who want something harsher. But beautiful nonetheless.

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