Coffee Review: Intelligentsia's Anjilanaka Bolivia San Juan Ocho Estrellas

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[Photograph: Greenway Barista]

After a recent trip to Chicago, a friend of mine brought back a beautiful red bag of coffee. If a tingling sensation did not just shoot through your neck, you may not be familiar with the Chicago-based coffee roasting operation Intelligentsia. It's an incredibly passionate and forward-thinking company, and I could go on and on about how much they've done for coffee farmers worldwide—but I will not do that. When it comes down to it, the result of all the thoughtful hard work is discovered in the cup.

This red bag contained an organic coffee called "Anjilanaka, Bolivia; San Juan Ocho Estrellas"—a long name for one bag of beans. Anjilanaka means "angels" in Bolivia's native language, and this coffee was named after the inception of Intelligentsia's big expansion into the Los Angeles market. The coffee was grown on the Estrellas Farm, by San Juan the eighth. Talk about an impressive family heritage!

The Estrellas Farm is located in the Caranavi region of Bolivia, and coffee is grown about 1,800 meters above sea level. All this information may be interesting, but the truth comes out when brewing this special bean.

Intelligentsia is no stranger to extravagant descriptions for their coffees, but I want to point out a few descriptors that really had me salivating while enjoying this cup.

I must have drank right through the Bolivian's floral beginning but the honey-like body and sweetness accented the pear notes they aptly described. These flavors became apparent right away—they moved along into an interestingly light chocolate finish that stayed with me through each sip. And in my nose, I could feel a nuttiness that reminded me of Nutella on toasted bread.

It's reasonable to say this coffee is a must-try, and Intelligentsia carries it every time it's in season, so keep an eye out for it! They are known for selling out of each coffee extremely quickly, given the limited availability and exclusivity of each bean for sale at their stores and online.

I decided to use a relatively new Japanese brewing method called a V60 Coffee Dripper. It's known for a rounder, fuller bodied brew that retains the coffee's clean flavor elements that are extracted. Here's a rundown of the brewing method and parameters used for the Bolivian beans:

The Brewing Method

1. Hario V60 2-cup brewer with "cloth-like" bleached paper filter, rinsed.

2. 27 grams of Intelligentsia Anjilanaka, Bolivia ground slightly finer than a traditional pour over, or slightly coarser than an espresso grind.

3. Brewed with 11 ounces of water heated to 200°F.

4. Slow, small circular pouring of the water with an extraction time of 3 minutes.

About the author: David Buehrer a.k.a. Greenway Barista has been a barista since his high school days in Houston, Texas. After taking a few coffee-oriented trips to Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and New York City, David began to learn about the science behind the bean. Former HoustonPress.com coffee and food reviewer, owner-barista of Greenway Coffee and Tea in Houston, and resident barista of Anvil Bar and Refuge. Part cocktail nerd, part food dork, part coffee geek, all passion.

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