Kahiwa Fazenda California—an experience that defies description

For the past seven years, I’ve worked in Lahti, Finland. The city could be called the wintersports capital of the country, and has hosted several major sporting events over the decades, including the Nordic World Ski Championships (seven times). I don’t think there are that many beautiful buildings or historic places to see in the city, but the legendary ski jump stadium is definitely worth checking out.

One place I think every coffee-loving visitor should go to is Kahiwa Coffee Roasters, the artisan roastery located in the Niemi harbor. It’s funny: I live less than 10 minutes away from the company, and yet I had never visited them, until recently.

It was a very pleasant visit. The huge Giesen roaster was still warm, and there were several boxes full of freshly roasted beans from different continents. One of their coffee experts was kind enough to show me around and answer my questions about their products. I decided to make a series of reviews of Kahiwa coffees.

The first one of the several products I got is this: Fazenda California, an excellent coffee I’d had many times before. It is Obata Natural from Paraná, Brazil. The roast level is 4/5. As for the flavor profile, the company provides the following description: dark chocolate, fudge and almonds.

Briefly, Fazenda California is just fantastic. At the same time, it’s so unique and so different from anything else, that it took me two bags to figure out a way to describe it.

Let me try to put it into words.

The bouquet is mouthwatering. The fudge and almonds are the most prominent aromas. There’s also a hint of sweet and nutty woodiness that reminds me of classic American burley pipe tobacco.

What about the actual taste? The fudge and almonds are the two main flavors. But this is exactly where it gets so great, and so hard to describe. In my opinion, there is a fudge-like softness not only to the taste, but also to the mouthfeel. Put it like this: Imagine a coffee that felt ”watery” in your mouth. Next, try to imagine the opposite end of the mouthfeel spectrum. How would you describe it? In Finnish we would probably say that the liquid feels ”thick.” Now, Fazenda California is not like that, but it’s definitely closer to that end of the spectrum. There’s this creaminess that ”melts” in your mouth, in a way. It feels almost like a creamy soup. My wife said it reminded her of zenzai (善哉), the Japanese red bean dessert soup. And yet it’s definitely not soup, but coffee, par excellence. It’s sweet, but not overly so. It’s very ”coffee-like,” tobaccoey even. And yet it’s not too robust, but quite sophisticated. I don’t know if a taste can be described as ”soft,” but that’s the best adjective I can come up with.

The chocolate is there as well, but stays in the background. That particular flavor can be described as ”dark” chocolate, as the company does. To me, however, it isn’t like the really dark and strong chocolate flavor that you would expect from, say, a Pascucci or Pellini espresso. Rather, the chocolate provides a nice, soft undertone, and lets the fudge/almond thing be the star of the show.

As you can probably tell, Fazenda California from Kahiwa Coffee Roasters defies description. You’ll have to experience it yourself. I mean, you really have to. It’s very, very good.


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