Nilaa Coffee is a new roaster out of Philadelphia who focuses on more exotic coffee origins. Their story is fascinating and as a roaster they encompass a lot about what I love in the coffee industry. Not only are they focused on finding unique, great tasting coffee, but they also focus on sustainability and the social justice aspect of the coffee industry. This coffee, for example, is a result of a USAID-funded project. In five years they were able to take inexpensive commodity-grade coffee from this village and turn it into more profitable speciality coffee. I always find that learning about where the coffee came from and the story behind it helps to add depth and meaning to the coffee drinking experience. You can read more about this coffee on the Nilaa website.
My experience with coffees from Asia is pretty limited and this one was definitely unique. The aroma began with an exotic mix of sweetness, fruity notes and an almost alcoholic undertone (almost similar to barrel-aged coffees I’ve tried in the past). As I began to sip the coffee, I tasted a collage of fruit notes, as well as hazelnuts. The alcoholic taste came through in the flavor as well, though not as strong. The coffee has a juicy body and an acidity that builds throughout and crescendos into the finish. The coffee is deeply sweet, an attribute that radiates through all the rest.
The coffee is a bit more delicate and I found it worked best as pour over. When I tried in an immersion style brew and as an espresso, some of the complexity seemed to disappear and it lost some of its unique character.
This is an exciting coffee to explore and was one that required multiple tastings to feel I had appreciated it fully. It offers a wonderful mix of attributes from some of the more common coffee origins. It combines them together to make an incredibly unique coffee, which was unlike anything I have had to-date.
Disclosure: Pull & Pour received coffee samples for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.