Introduction by Chris Kornman

Luis Pedro Zelaya is a force to be reckoned with in Antigua coffees. He’s a fourth-generation coffee professional whose reputation, in part, results from his remarkably clean and efficient beneficio that produces world-class coffees. Among the many impressive features of the mill are the sizable maceration tanks and guardiolas. However, this lot was not mechanically dried but rather sent to the greenhouse, where Luis Pedro has stacked raised beds three tiers high and maintains a strict rotation schedule to ensure even drying. While not all of the coffees processed at Beneficio Bella Vista are grown on his farms, this particular Crown Jewel is exactly that. The Bourbon and Caturra blend comes from a farm called Hacienda Bella Carmona, located within the traditional Antigua growing region.

Located a mere 90 minute drive from Guatemala’s capital city, Antigua was once itself the capital of the Spanish colonial Kingdom of Guatemala which included nearly all of Central America, stretching from Chiapas, Mexico south to Costa Rica. World renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city contains a remarkable concentration of beautiful architecture connected by cobblestone streets. Coffee from the highlands surrounding the city has a  protected designation of origin and benefits from the volcanic soil in the region; Guatemala is home to numerous dormant, extinct, and active volcanoes. Antigua rests in the shadows of Volcán de Fuego, from which smoke can be seen rising on a daily basis.

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Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

This lot is comprised of Bourbon and Caturra cultivars. Bourbon is one of Arabica’s two commonly grown heirloom varieties (the other is Typica), and it traces its history back to the island that was once its namesake, now a French department known as Réunion. While still fairly common, it has been outpaced en masse with higher-yielding, more disease resistant trees… such as Caturra, a naturally occurring mutation of Bourbon originating in Brazil in the early part of the 20th century. Caturra is a dwarf tree, and has proliferated extensively throughout the Americas in part due to its high productivity (despite above average fertilization requirements) and the fact that the trees can be planted more densely than comparably yielding cultivars.

Luiz Pedro Zelaya’s coffee is very dense with a classic SHB prep, about 90% screen 16 and up. Its moisture content is solid and it has a very slightly elevated water activity reading, likely due to its distance from time of harvest. It has not shown signs of this in the cup; rather, the drying practices employed, including the use of raised beds and a greenhouse solar dryer have made dramatic improvements to the shelf-life of this coffee and other micro-lot counterparts processed at Beneficio Bella Vista.

Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca

Two roasts of this coffee with one major difference and that is the amount of heat added after the turning point and before Maillard reactions begin. Our first Roast, PR-421 was very sweet and full bodied with lots of honey, brown sugar and peanut butter cookies. On our second roast we applied more heat which moved up our total time, but also gave us a steeper curve. This allowed us to preserve the acidity in comparison. Along with the sweet base note of the first roast, we also tasted hibiscus, black cherry, and peach preserves.

 

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Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman

On both the cupping table and in the cup, we preferred PR-422. There were slight but noticeable differences in the brewing specs of the two roasts, and the resulting brews were quite different. PR-421 displayed quite a bit more nuttiness than PR-422, which was far juicier and had a rich almond flavor that lingered. PR-422 also displayed more limey acids than the previous roast, which made us favor it even more.