Introduction by Chris Kornman

Catracha microlots have returned for the season, and so has Royal’s Marketing and Outreach Director, Mayra Orellana-Powell. She is back in the office with us for a little while after having returned to her hometown in Santa Elena, Honduras for the past year or so.

Mayra and her husband Lowell are pioneering an incredible community and quality focused farmer development program in the region. Fueled by a passion for the people with an innovative spirit and multifaceted approach, the ambitious project aims to improve the prosperity of farmers through access to the global specialty network via trainings, social engagement, and profit sharing.

This lot is comprised of a number of individual contributions selected for their flavors and location. Farmers from the community who produce quantities too small to sell as individual microlots are still able to participate in the Catracha project. This “Dulce Meloso” blend was crafted from coffees harvested by Simeon Vásquez, Antonia Sánchez, Pilar Gonzalez, Sinforiano Gonzalez, Juan de la Cruz, Francisca Vásquez, and Fausto Vásquez.

As near and dear as the Catracha coffees are to us here at Royal, the project couldn’t exist without a strong commitment to quality in addition to a great story and system of support. And it’s with that in mind that we are thrilled to showcase this stand-out example as a Crown Jewel this year.

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

Catracha coffees from last harvest showed an uncannily uniform high density, and this season appears to continue the tradition. This community lot is well above average density as well as elevated moisture content and water activity numbers. I took a second reading on a different day to confirm, and I’ve included temperatures with water activity now, as the metric is indeed highly dependent on the storage environment of the coffee.

Dulce Meloso is a blend of the heirloom variety Bourbon and the New World cultivar Catuaí, a lab-crafted hybrid of two spontaneous mutations specific to the Americas. When Bourbon seeds first crossed the ocean to the Americas, the Arabica heirloom plant began to take on new characteristics, and a mutation eventually called Caturra was first observed in Brazil, noted for its short stature and resistance to wind and rain. Another spontaneously occurring variety called Mundo Novo first appeared as a cross of Bourbon and Typica and was then used as an ingredient for Catuaí, when humans got involved and crossed Mundo Novo with Caturra to create another dwarf tree with higher yield when properly fertilized.

Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca

Dulce Meloso is a dense coffee with a lot of moisture. When I got the chance to sample roast this coffee I was amazed to see how much moisture was shed during the drying stage: there were huge droplets of condensation on my spoon. My first roast has become a traditional approach that I have started using on all coffees that allows me to see how this coffee will behave in the drum. This coffee rushes through the Maillard stage, but does not race through post crack development time.

My second roast, I decided to use less heat and a lower charge temperature so I could have more control when and how fast the Maillard reactions would occur. Although my rate of rise is lower than roast one during the drying stage, it quickly rises and matches curves with roast two as the coffee enters Maillard. I did manage to slow it down a bit and increase the time by ten seconds. While roast one was citric and sweet, roast two produced more complex fruit flavors in the cup with an overt sweetness.

Roast one: Milk chocolate, lemon-lime, honey, elote

Roast two: Peach, marzipan, molasses, golden raisin


Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman

The Dulce Meloso had plenty of inertia going through first crack, and even after the lowered heat application of the P4 setting 15 seconds after first crack, this coffee kept chugging along until it reached 13.8% roast loss after 1:15 seconds development time. If anything, it seems that the coffees with higher water activity tend to maintain their inertia in the Behmor.

Akin to my roast of CJ1144, this coffee seems to have lost most of its weight in hydrolysis rather than pyrolysis. That is to say, it has a higher roast loss percentage but still tasted underdeveloped on the cupping table. While it fared a bit better than CJ1144, I still think that further sugar browning would have benefited the coffee that presented itself so sweetly through Jen’s roasts.

Brew Analysis by Richard Sandlin

Each week, a lucky member of the Crown team brews one of Jen’s roasts to experience the full breadth of what each Crown Jewel brings in the cup.  Next, we sip, discuss and publish the data for your viewing pleasure. This week, we were fortunate to have one of the producers of this coffee taste alongside us. And by producer, I mean Mayra Orellana-Powell.

Ok – technically, Mayra isn’t the producer of this Crown Jewel, but talking about the Catracha Quality Project without talking about Mayra is like talking about (your favorite sport) without talking about (your favorite athlete). Mayra is the the inspiration and guiding force of Catracha Quality Project and therefore, the backbone of some of Royal’s best Hondruan micro-lots. If you’ve never heard about the Catracha Quality Project, take a look at all of our coverage on our blog here.

In addition to Mayra tasting Jen’s roasts, I decided to brew them on our new Fellow Stagg Pour-Over Dripper.  Late in July, my colleague and Brew Analysis regular contributor, Evan Gilman and I attended SCA’s Bloom San Francisco. Sitting next to us was San Francisco based Fellow Products, a newish manufacturer of coffee brewing tools. A longtime friend of Evan’s, Lane Brookshire traded us a brewer for some of our Crown Jewel roasts.

This was my first time using this brewer, but this Catracha micro-lot performed phenomenally. Great sweetness, wonderful acidity and incredibly clean. We didn’t name it dulce for nothing. Oh – and this was based on my first trials on a brand new brewer – I can only imagine how’d it taste on a brew method I know like the back of my hand. This brewer was really intuitive had a great step by step guide for first time users. We loved this coffee and think you’ll love brewing it.

This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.