Introduction by Chris Kornman
This early arriving Guatemalan coffee comes to us by way of an estate southeast of the country’s capital. The closest major city is Pueblo Nuevo Viñas, but the farm is located closer to the local volcano Tecuamburro. Tecuamburro is not active like some of the other volcanos in the region, though it does contain a sulphuric crater lake with boiling mudpits and hot springs around its peaks.
Finca Joya Grande has 537 hectares of land, of which 300 or so are dedicated to coffee cultivation. The rest of the farm includes about 50 hectares of coniferous reforestation, another 100 hectares of natural forest, and a variety of other diversified food and cash crops including bananas, plantains, yucca, and bamboo.
We were really impressed with the bright citrus, deep sweetness, and overall really engaging and Africa-like flavor profile of this coffee. Regardless of the roast levels we tried the coffee maintained its unique character through in cupping and brewing, making it a real highlight at the beginning of what we hope to be an exciting Northern Hemisphere arrival season.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
The varieties grown on Finca Joya Grande include heirloom bourbon and two common American dwarf hybrids, Catuaí and Caturra. Generally considered high quality with relatively low disease resistance, these plants are lucky to have weathered the rust epidemic in recent years. Central America has not recovered to the pre-Rust outbreak numbers, and production in many areas is still 20-40% below the region’s peak in 2011/12 harvest.
Our Crown Jewel from Finca Joya Grande is an oversized European Prep coffee, with a significant portion of the coffee screening at or above 17. Moderately high density is coupled with average-looking moisture and water activity figures, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises during roasting other than possibly needing a little more heat than the average early-harvest Guatemala.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
To illustrate the differences in these roasting styles I would like to compare them based on the three stages that we measure when we roast coffee; stage 1 is the drying stage, stage 2 is the maillard reactions just after visible yellowing, and stage 3 is post crack development which is the total time after first crack. Roast one has a more gentle approach that increased the amount of drying time with a short Maillard stage and a short post crack development time. Roast two was roasted with more energy at the beginning of the roast and a majority of the time spent at stage two.
Taking a recipe strategy from the world of barbeque, I’d like to talk about these two roasts as ratios. Roast one was nearly a 3:2:1 in terms of time spent during the three stages and roast 2 was a 2.6:3.0:1.0. With the extended drying time and shorter maillard + pcd, roast one was very sweet and clean with lots of sparkling fruits like pineapple, nectarine and some florals as well. Sugar browning notes were butterscotch on day 1 off of roast and a dense chocolate cake two days off of roast. Roast two was heavier on the maillard + pcd in comparison which resulted in more mild yet still very sweet stone fruit, supported by sugar browning notes of sweet tea and salted caramel. We really enjoyed this coffee while it was hot, but did not cool as nicely as roast one.
Brew Analysis by Chris Kornman
Bright and juicy, this coffee thrilled us as a Chemex pourover, both roasts offering fresh fruit acidity and clean sugary sweetness. Jen’s first roast proved a little more soluble and the second roast a little rounder in body, but the panel had a hard time picking a favorite, despite nearly identical brewing parameters. Across our entire evaluation of this coffee from arrival through sample and production cuppings and brewing, it has maintained its unique character, making it an easy coffee to appreciate and a hard one to mess up.
This coffee is available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.