It’s a sad day, folks… this is the last of our quad-pack of awesome natural coffees from my friends at Airship Coffee in Bentonville, Arkansas. This one is not currently listed on their site, but I’ve noticed these coffees are appearing and disappearing there, so keep your eyes peeled…
AIRSHIP COFFEE CALERA NATURAL
Today’s coffee is another one from Airship sourced from Finca Calera near Santa Ana, El Salvador. Elevation is around 1700masl for these beans and this one is naturally processed, meaning the coffee cherries are picked and hand sorted and then laid out to slowly dry in a thin layer on raised mesh beds. Over time these cherries sort of become like raisins and the beans take on extra sweetness, body and fruitiness from the fermentation going on inside the cherry skins.
Of the four coffees Airship sent me, this one is the most subtle, to my palate. It’s fruity enough to peg as a natural still, but it’s still more restrained in some regards. I always drink what I’m reviewing when I type these posts and this one is probably close to 5 weeks off roast and it’s still really good. I shouldn’t say that, probably, but then again you probably buy one or two coffees at a time and I have about 20 open bags on the counter right now. LOLOL Nonetheless, this one is as delicious today as when I drank it fresh.
The fragrance on the dry grounds is amazing. Floral and lots of berries. If it didn’t look weird I’d rig up some sort of feed bag on my face to just breathe in coffees like this! Damn you, society, and your rules! Anyway, the fragrance is awesome. There is a pleasant and somewhat restrained lemon-lime acidity that bookends the sweetness in this cup… in other words the brightness happens up front and then at the end of the sip, for me. The finish is a little on the dry side and there is a nice, lingering aftertaste of ripe fruit, so I suppose a little of the ferment tone that comes with naturals carries through to the end. The ferment on this coffee is very light and subtle, so if that’s a turn off for you in a natural coffee, I’d call the amount of ferment in this one minimal. As expected, this cup has a nice body with a creamy mouthfeel and a lot of sweetness. The sweetness is fruity, almost candy-like, and leans more toward a mix of tropical fruits than berries, for me. There’s another familiar note in the flavor that I just couldn’t grasp… it seemed like a baked dessert/breakfast pastry sort of thing but it eluded me for better description.
What a way to end this sampling from Airship Coffee. These guys are doing incredible things to coffee and they’re doing a lot for coffee growers and the coffee community in this area. It’s worth a more in-depth look and I need to do a whole story on what Mark Bray and the Airship gang are doing with their coffee buying group that involves some of my other homies in the region. Stay tuned for more, but in the meantime, head over to Airship’s website and buy everything you can because they are seriously doing great coffee!