Jaguar Forest is a company focusing on certified organic Mexican coffee. Their offerings are limited to just a handful of coffees at this time.
I picked up two bags of their coffee during their Black Friday sale after Thanksgiving. I got a bag each of their medium roast Oaxaca and Chiapas (which I am reviewing today) for $14, including shipping. Each of these bags is usually $13 and the company is currently doing $1 shipping in the US on all orders. Alternatively, you can order Jaguar Forest coffee through roasters.co and use the coupon code, “KCCOFFEEGEEK” to save 10% on your entire order.
The Chiapas bag doesn’t have a roast date on it anywhere. The website says it is washed Arabica from the Motozintla (Tapachula) co-op in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, and it carries the USDA Organic stamp certifying it’s chemical-free.
The tasting notes say, “bright and balanced with medium body and moderate acidity, with hints of milk chocolate, sweet (honey), and subtle fruit and cocoa notes in the finish.”
I am definitely glad I bought the medium and not the dark roast as this is borderline over-roasted in my book. I certainly wouldn’t want this coffee roasted any darker than this. That being said, for the last couple years I’ve been drinking coffees that are very lightly roasted, so something a little darker is actually a nice departure for me, once in a while.
The downside to darker roasts is that the darker the beans get, for the most part, the less the cup is about the coffee and the more it is about the roast and that is certainly the case for this Chiapas “medium.” They also tend to pick up a drier mouthfeel and leave a sort of chalkiness on my palate in the finish. Coffees that are very over-roasted will even pick up metallic flavors and an aroma that I swear is the same as raw salmon (which we eat a lot of, so it’s a smell I’m around a lot… I mean, we cook it eventually, but you know what I mean! LOL). I did get a whiff of that fishiness in the ground Chiapas, and that dry, almost chalky mouthfeel was there, but thankfully there was no metal or other off-flavors in this bag.
I found the medium roast Chiapas to be pretty one-dimensional but not unpleasant. It was mostly roast flavors, though, and the finish was dry with a slight acrid feel to it. I didn’t get much sweetness or other aspects mentioned in the tasting notes on the website either from Chemex or Gino dripper (essentially a Kalita). In larger sips (gulps, almost) in a cooler cup I picked up hints of cinnamon and leather, but overall this is a dark, roasty coffee. As the cup reached closer to room temperature, bigger sips gave hints of, and I know this sounds weird, pink bubblegum. I noticed this on several different days and prepared several different ways, so it wasn’t just a case of weird palate drift or something. That being said, roast is the dominant flavor on this coffee.
The coffee was consistent as it cooled, so if you like the flavors in a warm cup then it may work well for you as a cold brew.
Even though it’s billed as a “medium roast,” to me this is dark and pretty much as dark a coffee as I would want to drink. With that in mind, it’s not bad, but it’s not a go-to coffee for me. I prefer lighter roasts, high notes, fruity flavors, etc and I moved away from the “darker = better” camp quite a few years ago. All that aside, for a dark roast coffee I think this one is pretty good. I like the organic aspect and it wasn’t nuked into oblivion like some well-known roasters do, so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jaguar Forest’s medium Chiapas to someone whose tastes lean toward darker coffees.