49th Parallel has been considered among the best if not the best roaster in Canada pretty much since they opened business. Their goals, however, are clearly much bigger than that.
I've cupped coffees from them since the beginning, and have seen them grow as both a roaster and a buyer of green coffee along the way.
This morning I cupped a bunch of their coffees and I have to say I was deeply impressed. They have (in my opinion and to my taste) a very very good North American coffee roaster.
Quick tasting notes:
Colombia Finca Silencio - A lovely coffee. Round, balanced and complete. Gorgeous sugars and fats to fill out the structure provided by the chocolate and tannin notes. As it cooled, tons of fruit emerged (apricot, pluot, tangerine). A really very good coffee. The favorite on the table.
Burundi Kibingo - A unique and fantastic cup. Tons of light fruit to start (cranberry, cassis, kumquat, grape) into a very nice cocoa powder body. The aftertaste, however, is what does it for me with this coffee. Amazing tea-like notes and an exotic almost grenache like flavor. Wonderful. My second favorite - though not a universal choice.
Colombia Finca La Palestina - Great acidity. Tons of citrus (sour orange, ruby grapefruit, bergamot) provide a nice nippy punch of balanced sours and bitters. Very, very clean and crisp. Only critique is that it lacks the sweetness and body to really balance out the citrus. Still a very nice cup.
Tanzania Songea - One of the best coffees I've had from Tanzania. Assam tea, white grape, tangerine zest, sweet marmalade. Aftertaste is incredibly jammy and juicy - causing nearly instant salivation. Becomes a little hollow as it cools.
Between this table - the incredible shots of Hairbender - and the interesting new Black Cat - it's been a NICE coffee week so far!!!