Review: Genuine Mocha Java Blend
The maps below show the origins of the most famous coffee blend in history, Mocha Java:
True Mocha Java blends the traditionally-processed wild heirloom cultivars grown in Yemen (Mocha was the port on the SW tip of the Arabian peninsula until about 100 years ago) and Northeastern Ethiopia with the earthy Typica hybrids grown on the island of Java, part of Indonesia. The Dutch traders who took Ethiopian/Yemeni stock to Java developed the characteristic chocolaty, wild and dark blend we still love. Today, NanoRoast uses Yemeni or Ethiopia Harrar heirloom and high-quality Typica hybrids grown in West Java to recreate the blend.
We roasted the Yemen and Java batches separately due to their different behaviors in the roaster and blended afterward. The Yemen component was roasted Dark (French-Vienna), and the Java beans were roasted Medium-Dark (FC+) to account for the tendency of Java beans to look less roasted than they really are. We also wanted to preserve some of their dark chocolate complexity and build body. After blending and resting the roasted beans for a fairly long 72 hours, we cupped them with the following impressions.
Roast Level, Intensity and Complexity– Technically, this blend is a melange of dark-dark and medium-dark, but the intense taste is definitely dark in that the forward taste is dominated by roasty elements. Mid-taste sees the rise of complex wild, earthy, savory, dark chocolate tones, with a long finish in which the semi-sweet chocolate notes linger, producing the classic ‘Mocha’ taste tones. As the cup cools, the wonderful complexity of the blend of origins, cultivars and roasts becomes more and more apparent, yet the elements seem compatible and integrated. No wonder this blend has been a hit for over 400 years! Plan to linger over this cup.
Acidity – This is a low-acid cup, meaning that it doesn’t have a lot of the zippy high notes that are the signature of African coffees. The Yemeni component adds complexity but not a lot of zip in this cup.
Sweetness/Clean Cup – This is not a “clean” cup, but flavors are not as muddled as they often can be in an Indo. This is definitely more of a savory profile than, say, a classically sweet Central American.
Body – This coffee has a heavy body, but it’s very smooth, kind of like drinking Hershey’s dark chocolate syrup. It is best when made in a french press or espresso.
There is a good reason that the Mocha Java blend has been a favorite of coffee drinkers for centuries. The melding of wild Yemeni and earthy smooth Java Typica produce a smooth, savory, complex cup that is a joyful experience indeed for those who like it intense, dark and chocolaty.
Enjoy your coffee!