Because it is bitter, and because it is my heart

Every time I’ve tried fair trade coffee, I’ve had bad luck. But Green LA Girl has good things to say about it, and I like the way she writes, so I will keep trying it until I find a good one.

Today the Starbucks downstairs from my office was selling CafÈ Estima, their fair trade blend, fresh. So I had to get a cup to try it out. My initial impression was nice: it has a light body, and seemed to avoid the overburnt taste that many Starbucks blends have. The body is light, almost thin, but that’s not such a bad thing. The front notes, in other words, were all good. The middle taste was not very daring, but that’s ok. I like a bit of a sour note in my coffee, and this didn’t have really any boldness on that front at all. But it was still drinky.

On the back end, however, CafÈ Estima loses big time. It’s bitter. I don’t mean bitter as in “coffee,” which is good, but bitter as in “medicine,” which is bad. The overall effect was that I was wondering who had snuck into Starbucks and dosed my coffee with stale quinine. Worse, the taste lingers for a long, long time. The only solution is to drink more, thus overwhelming the finishing taste, until you swallow, or to eat or drink something else afterwards. “I need to eat something else to get the taste of this coffee out of my mouth” isn’t my idea of a fabulous taste extravaganza.

I’ll keep looking for a good fair trade coffee. Starbucks “Komodo Dragon” roast is quite good. They call that a “pacific ring” coffee, which for all I know, probably means the raw coffee beans are picked by heroin-addicted sex- slave orphans in Myanmar. Therefore, my working theory is still “oppression and exploitation makes the coffee taste better.”