I visited River City Roasters in Wheaton, IL. Located on 114 Main St., this rustic little coffee shop and roastery is located just beside the train tracks and in the heart of downtown Wheaton. Rather than give another shop review this week, as I did last, I will be reviewing a coffee that River City Roasters roasts, brews and serves on a regular basis. The gentleman at the cash register led me to the light roast. Light roast coffees typically have a more diverse flavor profile, they hold higher qualities of flavor and they contain more caffeine.
His suggestion to me was a coffee called Costa Rica Honey. Of course, Costa Rica refers to the growing origins of the coffee, and honey refers not to the flavor, but to the preparation of the beans. Long story short, they are partially washed of the pulpy cherry of the coffee bean, giving the coffee beans a sticky, honey-like coating.
The aroma of this coffee is light, not very smokey and actually quite fruity. The mild aroma of the coffee is contrasted by the first sip and is anything but mild. River City Roasters Costa Rica Honey coffee bursts with flavor. As strange as it may sound, a small sip of the coffee literally made me salivate.
The first thing I notice when tasting this coffee is the intense fruity flavor. Although this is typical of light roast coffee, the fruitiness really comes through. It is reminiscent of a somewhat sweet, somewhat sour cherry. I taste the sweetness on the tip of my tongue, followed immediately and intensely by the bright sour flavors of the coffee cherries. Last, as I swallow the coffee, I get bitter flavor notes on the back of the tongue.
Allow me to clarify: when speaking about coffee, the words, bitter, sour and salty hold positive connotations. When considering the actual flavors that I taste in the coffee, I get a strong sense of cherry, followed by a tart blueberry and lastly I taste a bit of a sweet, creamy note which has me a little confused. I feel like I’m tasting white chocolate, but it seems muted and not overbearingly sweet. If anything, it is more background noise.
The body of the coffee refers to the feeling it gives your mouth and texture of the coffee. This is not a thick or syrupy drink at all. In fact, it is quite light. I could see this pairing nicely with a light pastry, such as a cranberry scone. The coffee may not be thick, but the flavor sure is. Even a minute or two after taking a sip, I can still taste the residual tang. Interestingly enough, it is more smokey than the initial sip of coffee is. This makes for a very interesting cup because, in my mind, it caters to the likes of both light and dark roast lovers. You get the intensely bright initial punch that most light roast lovers seek, but the smoky aftertaste that dark roast lovers chase.
All in all, this Costa Rica Honey prep coffee from River City Roasters is phenomenal. I would give it an overall rating of A. I cannot give it an A+ simply because I have been fortunate enough in my coffee ventures to taste extremely high end cups of coffee which cost upwards of $60 dollars per ounce of dry beans. River City Roasters does an amazing thing in coming so close to one of the best cups of light roast I have had the pleasure of drinking, at a cost that doesn’t even come close to the extremely high end, designer coffees. All in all, great cup of coffee from a great little rustic store. Go check them out and support your local coffee scene.