Introduction by Chris Kornman
We are really thrilled to have Rigoberto & Luis Herrera’s fresh crop coffee back in our warehouse. This season’s selections include this incredible Sudan Rume variety, fully washed and incredibly unique. Its sweet spice, tea-like, and floral characteristics offers an insight into the pristine character of this uncommon cultivar, an experience unlike any we’ve had with any coffee.
Sudan Rume (sometimes written “Rume Sudan”) is an ancient variety, originally hailing from what is now South Sudan’s Boma plateau. Not far from the border of Ethiopia, coffee still grows wild in the forest throughout the region. The variety is primarily cultivated as a source of genetic material for inclusion in hybrids (popular examples include Kenya’s SL-28 and Ruiru-11); the coffee’s productivity is very limited and as a result has generally not been grown commercially.
Las Margaritas is one of a small group of third-generation family-owned farms located about a two hour drive north of Cali in Colombia’s Valle del Cauca department. Brothers Luis and Rigoberto Herrera have worked hard to make their farms models that exemplify the innovation and stewardship undertaken by their father, who first diversified their coffees to include Yellow and Red Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica back in 1945.
Last year we had the opportunity to host Rigoberto and his marketing/sales coordinator Felipe in the Bay Area and then to join them for a whirlwind 2-day tour of Los Angeles to promote their coffees. Rigoberto is a man who exudes humility, passion, and vast knowledge of cultivation, speaking with us in detail about his farms and their coffees. This Sudan Rume, for example, totals just 6,500 trees and three hectares of land and has extremely limited production potential in terms of quantity… but its quality potential, as evidenced by this year’s harvest, is off the charts.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This carefully processed Sudan Rume variety is unique in a number of ways. It is a very fragrant coffee – different than the grassy/vegetal aroma of most washed green coffee – reminding us of cardamom and perfume. The oblong shape of the coffee causes the seeds to fall through smaller screens even though they appear relatively large in size, and also reduces the measured free settled density. The moisture looks very normal, and the water activity is in the no-worries zone, even when taken on a warm day here in the office which can sometimes cause elevated readings.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
An unusually rare and unique coffee with an amazing flavor profile. Sudan Rume is a storied cultivar that not many coffee roasters have had the pleasure of experiencing. My first experience roasting Sudan Rume was here at Royal just last year and it was a very fruited natural process. This year we received the washed process and I had no idea that it could be so floral and there was a distinct and vibrant cardamom character.
My first roast was of this coffee was to take a very gentle heat approach. This is a large thin bean, similar to a geisha and there is plenty of moisture to wick away during the drying stage. For the second roast I used a slightly lower charge temperature, but added more heat earlier on in the roast to reduce the overall roast time.
While this coffee looks delicate, it was surprisingly flexible and produced interesting and dynamic results on the cupping table. Roast one was much more floral and delicate compared to the loud orange and spicy noted in Roast two. I hope you all get the chance to roast this coffee, it certainly left quite an impression on me.
Roast one: Cardamom, ginger, jasmine, poached pear, elegant
Roast two: Orange marmalade, anise, pinot grigio, black pepper, syrupy
Ikawa Roast Analysis by Chris Kornman
With a limited amount of green coffee at our disposal, I took the opportunity to try a few 50g roasts in our brand new Ikawa profile sample roaster, in lieu of the usual Behmor roast, which would have necessitated about twice as much green coffee. I chose a pre-installed Ikawa “Colour Test” roast, a “Sample Roast show” style from Rob Hoos, and two profiles (a Short & Long Maillard development with some other unique airflow movements) I developed myself. Overall, we were delighted by the enduring character of the unique Sudan Rume, which showed clearly through each roast profile. (If you’re using an iOS device and have the Ikawa app, I’ve shared the profiles in links above.)
Brew Analysis by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow
I knew from the get-go that I wanted to pull all the complexity possible out of the coffee and really let it express itself. That meant using a long brew ratio, like 1:18, and a V60 brewer which creates a very clean final cup.
As Chris mentioned above, we only had a small amount of green coffee to work with. Ikawas offer a huge amount of control and give us a long of flexibility in the roast, but their small batch size (which maxes out around the 50g mark) didn’t leave me any coffee to brew with after the cupping. Instead, I focused on Jen’s two Probat roasts.
Because of a silly mistake on my part, I ran out of water for one of my brews. As a result, I accidentally ended up with one brew at 1:15– often my favorite brew ratio. In this case however, the coffee tasted heavy, compacted, still sweet but a bit muddled. When I re-brewed this same roast at the correct ratio (1:18) it opened up beautifully into a bouquet of sweet spices, pear sweetness, and a distinct floral and juicy finish with a hint of berries coming through at the end.
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.