If Coffee Could Talk: An Offerings Update

by Trish Skeie, Zoka's Director of Coffee
As I sit here, drinking a beautiful cappuccino at a friend's cafe in Washington DC, I am struck by the idea that my coffee is talking to me...now wait, stay with me on this one. You can't deny that the more you learn about coffee, the more you come to understand the story each one has to tell you. Occasionally I'm asked why I'm so enthralled by this world of coffee- and this is the reason- the coffee tells me new things everyday. This season, I think I've learned more than ever. The two new Zoka Artisan Reserve coffees, for example, have a lot to say... El Salvador Montenegro de Santa Ana, Cup of Excellence 2006 I was more than delighted to be invited to be a judge at the El Salvador Cup of Excellence 2006 cuppings. el%20sal%20cup.jpg Heriloom variety coffee trees, altitude, volcanic soil, and prime location have everything to do with the resulting cup. The jury was able to visit farms when we weren't cupping- each with it's own story to tell. The coffees from El Salvador are known as some of the highest scoring coffees in the Cup of Excellence program. This particular lot is so complex and satisfying. The bright fruit, dried plum, and rasin notes are elegantly balanced by the rich sweet base. This coffee is exclusive to Zoka. We purhased the entire lot- 13 bags in all. We hope you'll take advantage of this award winning coffee during the holidays. Appreciate your friends and family by serving them this coffee...as you meet to exchange precious stories while creating new ones. This coffee has a voice kind of like Benecio del Toro View image, the actor...like I said, stay with me on this. Benecio del Toro has a rich tenor; not too forceful and he's got great vocal range. He can deliver his lines very gently, but still charge the whole scene with intensity and unique complexity. Not always the brooding character either, as he can use his voice to enhance the light humor of a situation. I could listen to him all day and never be bored. Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado Natural I thought long and hard about this clear, sweet, fruit basket of a coffee. It's definitely talking to me, but how do I describe the voice? Distinctly feminine, taking center stage and captivating the room...a young Ella Fitzgerald? Maybe that's what I hear. ella2.jpg Ella never stuck to the written lyric, very often surprising us by interjecting her own. She trusted her audience to reference their own stories through her interpretation of the song. And besides all that scatting, her tones were clear and resonant. She never strayed too far from the heart of the song, which is one of the things I appreciate most. But how does this relate to this Ethiopian? This coffee willl surprise you with a different take on our beloved (washed) Yirgacheffe. The sweet citrus expands with amazing fruity riffs. It's everything we love about a standard, but it's been taken to new hights. Drink it up! -trish