Introduction by Chris Kornman
This coffee comes to us from third generation coffee farmer Alberto Pérez Mariscal, the owner of Finca la Cabaña, describes his bifurcated enjoyment of coffee as stemming from the contributions of both humans and nature. This quote comes from a great interview Alberto was generous enough to give us, in which he describes his family history and his approach to cultivating a healthy environment for the plants and people on the farm.
Sr. Meriscal’s grandfather purchased his first coffee farm for 30 pesos, and passed down his knowledge to the next generation. Alberto learned to work the farm from his father, and is now the proud manager of 500 hectares of land, of which 150 hectares are planted with coffee.
Finca la Cabaña is located in Pluma Hidalgo in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. In addition to coffee, orchids are cultivated on the farm to produce vanilla. Did you know that Mexico is the Ethiopia of vanilla: the origin of the vanilla orchid?
This is nicely dried and somewhat denser than average Mexican Typica variety. Often referred to as Pluma Hidalgo, the coffee type is named for the region in which it was popularized, which in turn honors revolutionary hero Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. The plume refers to a whisp of cloud that appears on a local mountain. Despite the homage to local geography and history, and despite the cultivar’s near-exclusive distribution in Mexico, it is believed to have naturally mutated in Sumatra before its introduction to the Americas.
This coffee is on our radar specifically for use as espresso, and as such I churned out a longer roast profile with minimal gas adjustments and an extended post-crack development time. Our little Probatino (at least since I’ve been roasting on it) struggles to maintain momentum immediately after first crack. This seemed especially true with this coffee, as the rate-of-rise briefly stalled at the 11 minute mark. I made a small increase in heat to prevent baking, and the roast seemed to recover. Despite a relatively high percentage of weight loss (17.15%) the color reading was a little lighter than I expected at 60.47 on the ColorTrack scale.
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
This coffee is an incredibly straightforward and sweet coffee. Working with this coffee was a distinct pleasure, as it was as forgiving as I could have hoped for. Mellow, redolent of cocoa, and with a slight vanilla tinge, this is a coffee’s coffee. For those who aren’t interested in pushing the limits of what an espresso can be, and just want something sweet, this is a solid choice.
My only advice here would be to pull this coffee at a straight 1:2 ratio, and not let the shots get too voluminous. Over 1:2 and you’ll start to lose body (though the shots will be just as sweet); under 1:2 and the tartness begins to ramp up. Take a look at my extraction data below!