I first heard about Amarillo, Texas’s Evocation Micro-Coffee Roastery on the Cat & Cloud podcast in December. Jared and Chris’s two-part episode (SoundCloud links to Part 1 and Part 2) with Evocation’s owner, Roman Leal, left me wanting to get my hands on some of their coffee ASAP. When I opened this month’s subscription box from MyCoffeePub I was elated to see a bag of Evocation’s coffee inside! I swear the guys at MyCoffeePub are reading my mind! Full disclosure, MyCoffeePub is an advertiser, but that doesn’t color my opinion of their excellent service or the coffees they pick out, which are generally awesome.
MyCoffeePub’s selection this month was the Las Colinas from Evocation. It’s a Colombian coffee from the farm of Santiago Fernandez in La Estrella, located in the Cauca region of the country. Evocation got this coffee from an auction hosted by Cafe Imports that allows farmers in Colombia to sell directly to roasters and importers and bypass many of the usual channels that also eat into their profit margin. This coffee was grown in the 1600masl range and is a washed process coffee of unknown (to me) varietals. Evocation’s tasting notes include, “tropical, coriander, sugary.”
Evocation has a big following in their community and have recently expanded into a second location. One of their Kenyans scored a 5-star rating on RoastRatings not too long ago and they obviously roast good coffee and have great service in their brick and mortar locations. It’s important to get that out there because this coffee proved to be a bit of a challenge for me, personally. I prepared it using a notNeutral Gino pourover dripper and my usual parameters but the flavors coaxed out by the light roast proved to be a bit too light for my palate. There are certainly likable flavors in the cup and I didn’t perceive any defects or outright problems, but of course not every coffee will work for every palate. This coffee is roasted lightly and when sipped right after brewing I got significant grassy notes. Letting it sit and cool and open up, which helps most coffees, improved that a lot. The coffee is definitely light in body and as it opened up I got flavors of sweet lemon and maybe a little pineapple, too. It has some nice sweetness, but I just couldn’t shake the “green” flavors I was getting… even though it was toned down in the cooler cup I was still getting some of what I was perceiving as grassiness, and the aftertaste had a dry, somewhat astringent feel on my tongue. I had a sore throat a couple weeks ago and I was drinking some jasmine green tea and this coffee actually reminded me a lot of that tea. As the cup continued to cool the lemon candy acidity became a bit more pronounced, which I liked, and a slightly savory note developed, too, which added some dimension to the coffee. I was getting some of the coriander character in the late aftertaste in the cup as it approached room temperature.
Palates can be finicky and not every person is going to love every coffee, which is OK. I have poured coffee out in the sink before and this one from Evocation is far from it. I have also had truly under-roasted coffee and this one is also not that, so I want to be clear that my opinion is based only on the flavors and mouthfeel from this coffee, not from any defects or roasting problems. The light flavors that I perceived as a bit grassy and too “green” for me may be right up someone else’s alley, and that’s the fun of a coffee subscription like MyCoffeePub and getting to try lots of different things. If anything my experience with this Las Colinas has me wanting to try more coffee from Evocation to see what else they have to offer and to get a sense of what their overall roasting philosophy is like.