Introduction by Chris Kornman
Peru is the world’s leading producer of organic coffee, and has always been a staple in Royal’s Southern Hemisphere offerings. We’re pleased this season to add a number of small batch single-farmer lots to our lineup.
This bright and zesty Central Peruvian coffee comes to us from the Sagarvinaga siblings: Edith and her brother Ivan Meza. Their farm, Finca Tasta, was their late mother’s project, and the two have since taken over operations. In the last handful of years they’ve refined their processing methods and expanded their operations, and hope to become a beacon of specialty coffee and sustainability.
Edith and her brother Ivan want to lead by example, focusing on sustainability and independence by diversifying crops beyond just coffee to include food for themselves and their workers. They hope to inspire other farmers to move away from monoculture and back towards a model of truly sustainable agriculture. Their commitment to environmental protection is runs so deep that they leave nine hectares of forest completely wild to protect native animals like deer, monkeys, and native birds. They include a deer and a tree in their logo as a symbol of their dedication to the creatures and ecosystems they are committed to protecting.
The obvious energy behind the project is palpable when speaking with Edith, as our own Mayra Orellana-Powell recently did in an interview (you can read that interview here). Her passion for continuing and improving the work of her mother and engaging with her community is clear. She’s an active member of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, and has set up outreach events locally to engage residents in and around Callhuamayo with events like specialty coffee workshops.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Edith and Ivan have produced a nice looking green coffee, precision dried with moderate water activity – a challenge in Peru where coffee harvest and seasonal rains often coincide. The coffee is of average density with a fairly large screen size, about 70% above screen 17 and over 90% above 16.
While we often see Typica or similar varieties in many Peruvian coffees, this farm is growing two classic American selections: Caturra and Catuaí. A little history: after heirloom Bourbon seeds crossed the ocean into the New World, the plant began to take on new characteristics. One mutation, eventually called Caturra, was first observed in Brazil and is noted for its short stature and resistance to wind and rain. Another spontaneously occurring cultivar called Mundo Novo (first appearing as a cross of Bourbon and Typica) was used as an ingredient (alongside Caturra) to create the cultivar known as Catuaí, also a dwarf tree that can produce higher yields when properly fertilized.
Ikawa Analysis by Jen Apodaca
I have been working on a technique to profile coffees, using the ikawa roaster which is incredibly convenient because it only uses 50 grams per batch. I decided this week to juxtapose two different roasts using the yellowing stage as my adjusted variable. Ikawa Roast (1) has an extended Maillard stage in the hope to create a roast that has a heavy body and to specifically focus on sugar browning properties. Ikawa Roast (2) has an extended drying stage that shortened the total Maillard stage of the roast. Both Roasts had the same charge tempand same temperature settings for the expected first crack time and end temperature.
Of the two roasts, Ikawa Roast (1) with the extended Maillard stage won us over with its sweet chocolate praline flavors and silky mouthfeel. The extended drying stage on Ikawa Roast (2) delayed Maillard and delayed first crack in the roast. Had this not been a profile on the ikawa, I would have extended the overall roast time by allowing the coffee to have the same time during post crack development. Unfortunately, the set times on the profile gave this roast a dramatically reduced post crack development time and the result was an earth flavor in the cup with more peanut than chocolate.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
Using what I learned from the Ikawa roasts, I knew that this coffee had a tremendous amount of sweetness to offer with a mild malic acidity like green apple. I intended to roast this coffee to make it taste like a cross between a double chocolate brownie and a pecan pie. While I had hoped to reduce my drying stage, I now know that this coffee can take a bit more heat in the early stages, however watch the heat during the Maillard stage because this coffee wants to race through due to its high water activity reading.
First crack surprised me and came earlier than I had expected at 393.8F. Having missed the mark, extending the Maillard stage, I compensated by increasing my post crack development time. My end temperature was +20F from the beginning of first crack and just under 2 minutes at 1:43 post crack development time. This produced an incredibly sweet cup that achieved the flavor profile I desired for this coffee. I would recommend this profile for a chuggable batch brew or a chocolatey espresso.
Brew Analysis by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow
Everyone is familiar with the groggy, clumsy movements of a pre-caffeinated person reaching for the nearest bag of coffee to brew. Now imagine that you see the name of a friend who grows coffee on the bag. Even through the haze of caffeine withdrawal, a thrill surges: you get to try Edith and Ivan’s coffee from Finca Tasta today!
This is the fate that befell most of Jen’s roast of this coffee: it was brewed in the early hours of the morning for the whole office to try. I can only hope that the Saravinaga’s take it as the compliment it is– no one could wait to try their coffee. Luckily, I still had a small handful of beans leftover, and decided to brew what I could with them. My options were limited by the amount of coffee I had left, but I knew based on our cuppings that this coffee had plenty of brown sugars and heavy cocoa to offer, and that there was a hint of apple cider acidity and fruit sweetness as it continued to extract.
I chose to do a Kalita at a 1:18 ratio at a Clever at 1:16 to see how the different brew styles (immersion versus infusion) and the different ratios would affect the cup. Both extractions were tasty and easy to drink. The Kalita, which was pretty over extracted at 24.92%, offered baked apple and cinnamon, praline, and an intense almond sweetness without much of the drying astringency that usually comes with extractions this high. Meanwhile the full immersion Clever dripper offered sweet pears, heath bar, caramel, and whiskey.
Edith and Ivan are part of a new generation of specialty coffee producers. They offer hope for a sustainable future for our industry and for the forests and people that support these crops. The hard work and love they put into their product is evident when speaking to them, of course, but more importantly it shines through their coffees, offering an example of what this origin has to offer specialty coffee in the future.
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