Smell the Coffee, Feel the Breeze, Island Coffees from Tonga to St Helena via Hawaii

Last August, having noticed my taste for a good cup of Java, Guy Wilmot of Sea Island Coffee (Knightsbridge, London) asked me if I would like to taste some of their offerings, I said why not.

In September, I received samples from 4 of the 13 exotic coffees they carry.

They were the Royal Tonga, Jamaica Blue Mountain Clifton Mount, Hawaiian Greenwell Private Reserve Estate and Geisha from Coffea Diversa in Costa Rica.

I took the slow and steady approach to tasting them. The diversity of flavors reminded me of the espresso sampling and subsequent interview with Carlo Odello.

Each coffee had its own character and might not please all palates.

My favorite of the 4 is Hawaii Kona Private Reserve from Greenwell Estate. What sold me on it was acting as a counterpoint to rich aromas, a slight bitterness on the finish (what you call good acidity in wine). Greenwell Farms was founded in 1850 by Henry Greenwell is still in family's hands.

Second in my book comes the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee: Clifton Mount Estate...Body, acidity in balance, long and smoother finish. At 1300 meters, this estate which started producing coffee in the mid 18th century is at a relatively high altitude...


In the future I hope I have a chance to try a second batch of Sea Island Coffee starting with Civet Cat “Kopi Luwak” from Indonesia (never had any 'civet cat' coffee) and Napoleon Valley Estate Coffee from Saint Helena.

The small estates distributor notes that (i quote) coffees produced in proximity to the sea develop a special character since large body of water generates thermal air currents crrying moisture, as well as trace elements which contribute to the profile (end of quote) of these island coffees.

(* Jamaican estate photo from Sea Island Coffee site)

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