A well-structured cup, bracing brightness, citrus character at light roasts and more apple-like at Full City roast. Hazelnut-laced chocolate roast tones, caramelly sweetness, maple finish with a slightly tannic almond skin accent. City+ to Full City+.
El Majahual is part of a larger farm that was divided some years back. Majahual averages 1500 meters although much of the farm is higher up. This year we decided to offer lots from those specific plots on the farm that are at the upper altitudes, that are basically 1600 meters and up. These are called "tablones" which literally means plank or board. Along with one other plot on the farm, I found that the La Montana was distinct in the cup, so we chose to separate it as a special lot. La Montana is named as such since it cuts a vertical swath up the steep slope all the way to the edge of the natural forest preserve at the top of the farm. At that altitude, the coffee just doesn't produce due to the cold air and cloud cover. So Montana is as high as it gets on the farm. Besides selecting by tablon, the farm is impressive in other ways. I visited last year, and again in 2011, and was amazed by the 50 to 80 year old Bourbon trees. There is a minority percentage of Pacas at El Majahual, which is a local type of Bourbon as well. The trees at the farm seemed so healthy, with great coffee production on branches from top to bottom, despite their age. It proves that long-term, traditional farming techniques can result in good production volumes and cup quality too, rather than new techniques that exhaust small hybrid plants that must then be replaced every 10 years.
From the ground coffee, the fragrance has slight orange hints, with dominate cocoa and caramel sweetness. While pouring the hot water caramel and maple syrup scents come out, with semi-sweet chocolate and almond as well. La Montana is one of the highest parts of Finca El Majahual and I think it shows in the cup. It has a brighter flavor profile, and a little lighter in body, yet still it is a classic, balanced Bourbon cultivar cup overall. It's a well-structured cup due to the somewhat bracing brightness, which has slight citrus character in the light roasts, but more apple-like at Full City roast. La Montana develops a nice roast sweetness, with rich hazelnut-laced chocolate flavors coming out in the middle roast ranges. As it cools the cup has a more caramelly sweetness. The body seems lighter initially but intensifies and becomes quite creamy. The cup finishes with bittersweet notes, a bit of mape and caramel, with a slightly tannic almond skin accent. It makes a very nice SO espresso as well when roasted to Full City or Full City+ levels.