The collected flavor profiles below are my take on the various Black Bloods of the Earth, with some notable mentions from particularly common flavor comments. Where possible, I’ve linked back to the original tasting post when that BBotE was taken for its first drive. But, as Test Subject Brokentongue goes to show, your flavors may vary.
The standard BBotE below are always available in the ordering drop down list.
KONA BLEND (medium roast): My baseline BBotE. Kona is my reference point for all the rest of the BBotEs and, using Dungeons & Dragons terminology, is often referred to as Axiomatic Coffee. It has a straight down the middle earth, smoke, chocolate, and butter that the others move up and down from. It’s a solid flavor that I always recommend as a starting point and perhaps the one that mixes best with vodka.
ETHIOPIA YIRGACHEFFE (medium roast): Buttered popcorn, salt, caramel. Ribs? Long palate discussions on the Ethiopian widely varied but definitely agreed on the fatty mouth feel.
KENYA AA (medium roast): Greasy, rich fudge. Mt. Kenya is a volcano that possibly erupts fat based on the flavor of this coffee.
SUMATRA (dark roast): Rich loam, stratovolcano flinty (I smell and taste volcanoes), and smoked salt.
MALABAR (light roast): cool menthol, creamy chocolate, pipe tobacco, “green”.
COLOMBIA PAEZ (medium roast): Hershey cocoa powder and pulverized rhyolitic-andesitic volcano (what? I’ve ground up a lot of volcanic rocks). The Colombian that impressed doesn’t pack quite the same punch as Death Wish, it did leave Test Subject Antonio and I a bit twitchy during the day. To quote his wife, “What is wrong with you, spaz?”
PERU SALKANTY (dark roast): Black pepper and cakey brownies. In the neverending hunt for more interesting coffees, particularly another distinctive dark roast, I made this run of high altitude Peruvian BBotE available. Does Peru have any low altitudes? The map of the Andes I had on my wall as child suggests that they don’t. Tasting adventures are enumerated here.
DEATH WISH (dark roast, Robusta bean): Wild green grape metallic-like (go eat one sometime and and see what I mean), smoke and licorice flavor. This is the result of my experimentation with Death Wish Coffee , thanks to Test Subject Kristobek trying to kill us all, with adventures enumerated here. Now, just to reiterate, while the caffeine content of BBotE is high, I do not know exactly how high and the Death Wish is presumably higher than that. I normally recommend keeping BBotE consumption below 100ml/day but it’s probably prudent to keep it under 50ml/day for Death Wish.
The more limited runs below may come and go from the drop down. I love each of the BBotE like my overcaffeinated children, but I try not to mourn when one must temporarily leave me until the next season.
Guatemala Antigua Finca Salinas (medium roast): Pepperidge Farms lemon milano cookies? Have yet to find an alcohol this doesn’t go well with. Okay, maybe it’s bad with cynar, but then everything is.
Tanzania (medium roast): Very similar to to the Congo. Same dry red wine & baking chocolate, but a bit sweeter. Kinda smoky.
Jamiaca Blue Mountain (medium roast): Honestly, it’s been so long. The taste of my great-grandfather’s tobacco pouch. Gunpowder. Smoked cherries. There is so much here and the first person who requested it used it as a substitute, very justifiably, for cognac in a cigar lounge in Virginia.
Nicaragua Recreo (medium roast): Interesting honey/toffee flavor that was consistent and solid
Philippine Barako (medium roast, Liberica bean): The smell is sharp and the taste is flinty and rich, very much reflecting the fresh, ashy volcanic soils of the island. Not quite slopes of Mt. Pinatubo tephra in flavor, nor Philippine Sea Plate basalt, but a nice mix of the two (forgive me, as the frustrated volcanologist have pulverized and smelled/tasted a lot of different volcanic rocks, particularly from this region). Taking it to my favorite taste testers at St. George Spirits, it apparently mixes with everything they make, and they wiped out the test bottle in very short order. Per Test Subject Shiraz, it smells like eating Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Puerto Rico Yaucono (dark roast): Like opening a cedar chest while drinking hot cocoa. Goes particularly well with dark rum. Originally discussed at the end of this post.
THE (TEMPORARILY) RETIRED – These varieties of BBotE are currently not available due to crops being rotated to preserve the plants and soils, losing a supply entirely (i.e. due to political instability), or roasters going out of business without my being able to find a suitable replacement.
Philippine Excelsa (medium roast, Excelsa bean): The primary flavor note given from the grower was “jackfruit“. If you’ve never had the pleasure of the odd not quite pineapple, not quite mango, not quite banana flowery citrus flavor of jackruit I recommend giving it a try. This way, you’ll have a reference point when I tell you that first taste of excelsa BBotE had a strong jackfuit kick, a baking chocolate mid-palate, and a long coconut finish. I don’t know what booze I’d mix this with off the top of my head but it makes me want coffee based tiki drinks.
Panama (light roast): Hibiscus, caramel, cinnamon sticks, and red grapefruit fruit. Maybe tangelos.
Ipsento Panama (light roast): Blueberries, blueberries, and more blueberries. The BBotE Ambassador of Chicago’s 2012 Christmas present is now available for you as the folks at Ipsento Coffee have kindly agreed to make me more. The blueberry deliciousness that was described in this post is now available to you.
Guatemala Mundo Nuvo (medium roast): My favorite BBotE I’ve ever made, provided by Caffe Vita in Seattle, WA. Cinnamon, honeysuckle, sal de mer caramel, dark chocolate, this coffee had it all. Unfortunately , the crops are currently fallow to let the soils on this side of the valley rejuvenate.
Guatemala Nueva Vinas (medium roast): Citrus, possibly tangerine, and hazelnut. Caffe Vita’s answer to my call for a new Central American roast to replace the dearly departed Guatemala Mundo Nuvo. Same farm, same farmer, same plants, just the other side of the valley. You may read the tasting notes here.
Congo (medium roast): Oddly, dry red wine like a sangiovese, with a lot of barrel on the long pallet, and baking chocolate. I wonder if you could make a decent vintage with fruit from the coffee cherries these came from.
Rwanda Abakundakawa (medium roast): Straight and cold, the medium roast Rwanda Abakundakawa has a bit of a dry palate, not brut champagne but more like a neat martini, and nearly baking chocolate character and a light hint of fruit. There was some strong disagreement about whether it was blueberry, currant, or (as I shook my head at Test Subject Broken Tongue) jujubes. For the vodka addition, a molasses character emerged that made me wonder if I’d somehow poured in Meyers rum instead of straight vodka. With the three part hot water dilution, it just felt like have a nice mug of cocoa, which was damn nice in the ice box of my office. Disappeared to the collapse of a farmer collective and is dearly missed.