Kahiwa La Sorpresa AA—Surprise!

The next Kahiwa Coffee Roasters offering I got to try was this: La Sorpresa AA, Barrel Aged Coffee. This is a blend of washed Catuaí and Caturra from Jinotega, Nicaragua. As the name would suggest, the beans have been aged in whiskey barrels. The roast level is 3 out of 5. As for tasting notes, the company provides the following description (my translation): milk chocolate, cranberry, silky.

Talk about una sorpresa! I was really surprised by this blend. I was expecting to have a heavily flavored coffee blend, something like the espressos from Caffè Galliano that have an additional topping of vanilla, or some other flavoring. (By the way, I like the those very much!) In La Sorpresa, however, the additional whiskey aroma was a lot more subdued—no, make that ”sophisticated.” Yes, it was there right from the start, but at no point was it overpowering. Even before I ground the beans it was clear: La Sorpresa is all about pure coffee, with just a little something extra from the whiskey barrel.

So, what was that coffee aroma like, then? Another surprise! As I opened the bag, I was instantly reminded of the fantastic Red Guji I got two months ago from Artisan Café: red berries and chocolate mixed together, and yet kind of separated at the same time. Truly amazing. Both of these qualities were there in the end product as well.

OK, the flavor, then. They say: cranberries. Now, I never eat berries, so I really don’t even know what cranberries taste like. But La Sorpresa definitely reminded me of red berries. Most of the time, I found myself thinking of fresh, ripe cherries. I even got a hint of strawberries here and there. Even if I don’t like actual berries, I’d be more than happy to have my berries in this form, blended by Kahiwa!

What about the milk chocolate? It was less pronounced than the berries, but it was there, on the opposite end of the flavor spectrum. And yes, it was definitely milk chocolate, not the darker variant. Not too sweet, but not bitter, either.

The added whiskey flavor was really interesting. It was barely noticeable, but it was there all the time as well, adding some body to the overall flavor. It was as if it acted as a bridge between the berries and the chocolate. Let me put it like this: If La Sorpresa was a string quartet, the berry thing would be the violins. The milk chocolate would be the cello, and the whiskey flavor would be the viola.

As you can probably tell, I’m really struggling to find the right words to describe Kahiwa coffees. (I don’t think I’d do a better job in my own language!) That’s how great they are. I’ll say it again: you will have to experience them yourself. Go to www.kahiwacoffee.fi and get some La Sorpresa AA. You will not be disappointed.


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