Volcanista Coffee Co. is a roaster and online retailer based out of the Jacksonville, FL area. I’ve reviewed a bunch of their coffee and I’m always impressed, so when they reached out to me to send more, I of course said yes! Today I’m tasting what turned out to be an unusual, yet awesome, Peruvian coffee from Cajamarca. Check it out!
VOLCANISTA COFFEE CO. PERU CAJAMARCA
Florida is home to some of my favorite roasters, including Volcanista Coffee Co. from the Atlantic Beach/Jacksonville area. Volcanista is a roaster and online retailer without a shop presence currently, but if you’re lucky enough to be in the Jacksonville area you can find their coffee at a bunch of local markets and being served at a couple coffee shops and restaurants. For now they’re growing organically and not rushing having a cafe presence (smart!) but maybe that’ll change in the future?
Today’s coffee is from the Cajamarca region of Peru. It’s a mix of washed Caturra, Yellow Caturra, Bourbon and Typica varieties grown at 1700+ meters above sea level. Volcanista calls this their “medium +” roast although I got no roasty notes out of this and there were no oils present on the surface of the beans, so if you’re a “lighter is better” junkie, don’t worry! Volcanista give us flavor notes of, “rich body and structure, dark red fruits, Mexican chocolate, plum, cola, peppery finish.”
I am greeted by a medium-bodied cup that reminds me a lot of cherry cola! There is a bit of a cherry and more so, plum-like, note to the sweetness of this coffee and there is also a little tartness with those notes, underlining the “red fruit” descriptor Volcanista used. Usually I find a lot of malic (think apples) acidity in Peruvian coffees, but this one is a bit more intense, but without having much in the way of its own character, if that makes any sense at all. In other words, the acidity on this cup is brighter and more intense than what I usually find from “malic” coffees, but it’s not citrus, it’s not winey, etc. There is a bit of green apple acidity in there, too. I know higher levels of phoshoric acid will increase the overall brightness and flavor in a coffee without imparting a lot of its own flavor to the cup, and that often gives me a “cola” note in coffee, too.
In any case there is a substantial cola note to this coffee, and whether it’s “really” there or if it’s the product of the phosphoric acid I’m thinking is in this coffee, it’s immaterial because coupled with the plum and cherry-like red fruit notes, it makes for a decidedly cherry cola vibe to this coffee and I love it! I said about that the acidity isn’t winey, but the overall tone of the coffee is, somewhat, to me. I know “winey” can sometimes be thought of as a nice way of pointing out defects like astringency, and that’s not what I am going for here. There is a wine-like complexity to the fruits and acids in this cup. There is a dry finish, but I wouldn’t call this astringent by any stretch. While the coffee is sweet, it has an “adult” sweetness and a healthy bitter component to balance it, giving it the complexity of a red wine, to my palate. At times I caught some nutty notes in this coffee and the finish is dry, but has nice fruit sweetness and a long, lingering aftertaste of cherry cola with some peppery (like red bell pepper) notes in it.
I know this must sound like a pretty weird coffee based on my somewhat all-over-the-place description, but it’s really good. It’s very complex and there’s a lot going on in this cup, but it’s structured and easy to parse out, for me. I’ve had a lot of very sweet coffees over the past few months, which I love, but this one seems more “adult” to me, with sweetness and a healthy bitterness to it, too. I know “bitterness” can be off-putting to people, too, but like wine, or, more so like an Italian after-dinner drink like Amaro, there is both sugar and sweetness in this cup as well as bitterness that is an inherent component to coffee. I think that takes away a little from the overall drinkability of this coffee, but the complexity adds so much to it that it’s a good trade-off. To me this would be a great post-meal coffee or an afternoon cup. I really enjoyed it and it’s way different from the other Peruvian coffees I’ve had. Awesome job!