This is a traditional natural coffee from Pichincha, Ecuador, produced by Galo Morales on his farm Finca Cruz Loma.
The flavor profile is juicy and berry-forward (we noted blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, and mulberry) with “insane” sugars like bubblegum flavored smarties.
Our roasters found the coffee easy to work with and enjoyed a minimalist approach to the roast profile.
When brewed the coffee was easy to dial and shows great potential for espresso and drip options.
Taste Analysis by Sandra Loofbourow
Another phenomenal offering from Ecuador, and this time it’s a natural! If you love juicy, berry-flavored coffees, here’s a list of the berries listed in our team’s tasting notes: raspberry, blackberry, mulberry, cranberry, and juniper. The sugars are insane – “pink bubblegum flavored smarties” seems like the best way to describe the interplay between candy sweetness and crisp acidity, but caramel apple is another good option. All these wild flavors are balanced by a cup so clean and crisp that it’s hard to resist going back in for more. It has real elegance too, and a delicate bouquet of white florals to tie everything together. The TL;DR? Drink this coffee, it’s delicious!
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger & Sandra Loofbourow
Finca Cruz Loma, run by Galo Morales and Maria Alexandra Rivera, is the latest arrival in a series of superlative Ecuadorian coffees in Royal’s warehouse. In recent years Galo’s name has appeared in various regional and national cupping competitions in Ecuador, if not all-out winning then certainly placing top 3, and setting multiple price records to boot. This year, Morales is the proud first-place champion of Ecuador’s national quality competition, the Taza Dorada. His winning lot sold for an astounding $100 per pound – another record for Ecuadorian coffee prices. It’s official: Finca Cruz Loma is setting the standard for coffees from this region.
Principal harvest months in Pichincha and Imbabura are June to September, but farms often continue picking through December. Ecuador’s namesake position on the Earth’s equator means that medium-altitude coffee enjoys practically a perfect year-round growing season, often with flowering and ripe cherry sharing the same branch most months. For small farms this means a small but long-term labor force to manage the slow, perfectionistic work required for such a drawn-out harvest. In addition to coffee it is common for farms in this area to grow any combination of potatoes, plantains, corn, sugar cane, cacao, soursop and chirimoya, and heart of palm.
As everywhere in the coffee world, harvest on small farms typically involves the whole available family as well as hired pickers. Coffee in Pichincha and Imbabura is processed at home on personal equipment and dried on hand-made structures and greenhouses. In Cruz Loma’s careful natural (or dry processed) method, selectively harvested cherries are washed clean before fermenting in tanks for 24 hours, after which cherries are placed on raised beds under shaded canopies to dry.
Finca Cruz Loma is a 350-hectare plot in the community of San José de Minas, a small town in the northwestern part of Pichincha, a short trip north of Quito. The estate has been in Galo’s family going back 80 years. Galo’s experience in coffee began 20 years ago working alongside his mother on the farm; he would go on to work professionally in the coffee sector, for exporters and as a project manager, before returning to full-time farming. In Galo’s words, “cultivating my coffee is an activity that allows me to apply and develop the skills and habits I’ve learned over the years; it’s also an essential resource for my family, since my wife, my daughters, and myself are all involved with the production and marketing of our coffee. Everybody in the family has a critical role in the coffee’s success.” Like so many of Ecuador’s best coffee producers, he is constantly pushing boundaries and striving for better results: constant experimentation between altitudes, soil types, and cutting-edge plant care techniques are part of what makes his farm successful. In addition, Galo’s experience in the value chain allowed him to found his own export company and create opportunities for other farms by representing their coffees to importers and directly to Royal Coffee.
Ecuador is a fascinating coffee origin, with tons of history and an exciting outlook for the future. The coffees are so delicious, complex, floral, and immaculately processed as to be almost irresistible. These producers are at the forefront of both innovation and impeccable execution, and the results are in the cup: irresistibly clean, juicy, and straight up delicious. Finca Cruz Loma is no exception.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This natural coffee from Galo Morales is very fruity smelling right out of the bag, and has a lot of silver-skin discoloration from the extended fruit drying period. You’ll likely notice a few lighter colored beans as well. Fortunately throughout the extensive testing this coffee has undergone we haven’t found this to impact the sensory quality negatively. Our confidence level in this coffee is so high that we’ve queued it up for espresso service at The Crown.
The screen size, much like its companion lot, is roughly equivalent to European prep standards with a 15-18 majority. Interestingly, the moisture and water activity are reading a bit on the high side. Fortunately, the coffee’s locked up in airtight packaging and is really delicious, but I’d recommend re-sealing your bags if possible if you plan to keep the green around for more than a month or two. The density when measured manually was roughly the same as the anaerobic washed lot, but the Sinar seemed to think it was much higher in density. I’d check Doris & Evan’s roasting notes to see how this wild, wonderful coffee behaves in their roasters.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido
This week, I had the pleasure of doing the first roast of this Ecuador with a Natural process of Typica and Sidra cultivars from Finca Cruz Loma and producers Galo Morales and Alexandra Rivera. This was my second roast of the day, and I got some hints of how to approach it, primarily from my previous roast of a different coffee from the same producer, which had similarities in processing method and cultivars. Before continuing I want to share something I read from Chris Kornman’s new book about the difference between variety and cultivar. This Ecuador came labeled as Typica variety. Usually this is a variety that has mutated by itself in nature, but it’s possible that this Typica, sometimes called Typica Mejorada, was lab-made in Pichincha Ecuador, and its human intervention makes it a cultivar! The second cultivar in this coffee is Sidra, also lab-made, a recent hybrid of Typica and Bourbon.
For the day’s second roast, the Diedrich drum was more predictable, so I charged the coffee at 422F with 70% gas. I like to call this my minimalist roast. I got to 188 F turning point easily by 1:28 sec, and let it keep going until it reached a 40F/60s rate of rise at minute 4:15, then I dropped the gas to 30%. The coffee reached color change at 298.6F, and I did nothing besides watch my RoR going down gently during Maillard. I started adding air at 360 F 50%, just to push any smoke out. At that point the rate of raise (17F/60s) got some nice momentum from when I started airflow, and remained until the coffee started cracking at 384.7F. I was at the lowest gas, but airflow kept the curve it on its way through crack. I opened air flow 100% after cracking, and with that energy left the roast was able to get 1:30 seconds of post development with a 397F end temperature.
On the cupping table: Full body, smooth, “frooty” balsamic reduction, blackberry compote, bubblegum, dark fruits. Nice aromatic dry fragrance, and the cup cools down nicely and retains its flavor. I hope I get to roast this coffee more times, this minimalist roast turned out so delicious I can imagine where it can get with some twists and adjustments. No wonder Finca Loma has won so many prizes, I can see the work by noticing how gently this coffee performed on the roaster.
aillio bullet r1
Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.
Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 428F preheating, P6 power, F2 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing!
Another phenomenal coffee from Ecuador? What is this, some sort of unicorn factory?
Anyhow, I approached this coffee with a little caution, knowing that it had higher moisture content and water activity than most of the other coffees I’ve roasted on the Bullet. It also has a decent spread of screen sizes, meaning that I would need to both be cautious (not heating so much as to have this coffee ‘run away’ at the end of roast) and generous (more moisture and greater screen size spread require more of a push) with my heat application.
I started with a lower charge temperature and less airflow than usual here – 419F charge and F1 fan from the outset. The other difference from norm was using D4 drum speed throughout the roast rather than the usual D6. Other than this, I wanted to move through green stage quickly and get a decent amount of time in Maillard to bring out what was sure to be a fruity explosion of flavors, judging from the smell of the green coffee. My delta/RoR reached a peak of 35F/min and decreased gently from there until drop.
This was achieved by introducing F3 at the peak RoR, decreasing power to P7 at yellowing, then ramping down heat and increasing fan speed gently until the finish of the roast. First, I increased fan to F4 and reduced heat to P6, then increased fan once more to F5 and decreased heat to P5 and then P4 just after first crack. If you think of power as an additive vector and fan speed as a subtractive vector, I just reduced the ‘push’ on this coffee as I got closer and closer to finishing the roast.
The results here included super sweet soft-cooked stonefruit, a caramel apple sweet/tart combo, and dense chocolate mousse on the finish. This coffee had sugar for days, and would definitely perform well as an espresso or full-immersion brew. Personally, I had this through filter drip and it was incredibly clear and delicious, but I could see the argument for expressing the body of this coffee better through full immersion. Give it a shot, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed any way you prepare it!
ikawa pro v3
Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Chris Kornman
Standard practice these days for Ikawa roasting is to put our Crown Jewels through a gamut of 4 reliable profiles at what we’d consider to be “drinkable” sample roast levels. The profiles have been developed and refined over time to showcase the best of various green metrics and processing styles to give us a window into their performance on our production roasters.
Premiering alongside this bombastic natural coffee this week is a brand-new Inlet profile for our Ikawa Pro. We’ve been evaluating metrics like fan speed and color and have refined a roast that we believe gives us a very reasonable facsimile of a standard, light sample roast.
This coffee performed remarkably well on our standard hot & fast exhaust profile, offering up lots of depth, some floral notes, good cleanliness, and ripe nectarine and kiwi notes. The Maillard +30 iteration of the same was surprisingly a little imbalanced, and while the fruit notes were more decidedly “natural” veering towards watermelon and purple fruits, there was a bit of a bitter edge to the roast.
The new inlet profile is a good deal lighter in color despite a similar total roast time. It features some extreme airflow peaks and valleys and tries to mimic a smooth ascent into first crack with a slow gentle rate of rise for roughly 60 seconds of development time, depending on the bean. The result here was a coffee with unique complexity with fruit notes ranging from strawberry to grape, watermelon to fig, and an underlying juicy cleanliness.
You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown Inlet Sample Roast 2022
Brew Analysis by Joshua Wismans
What an exciting coffee for my first brew analysis! This traditional natural from the rising Ecuadorian farmer Galo Morales is part of a trio of his coffees that we’re thrilled to be offering. It’s not often you find coffees of this quality, let alone being presented in multiple processes. The traditional natural process this coffee goes through is famous for bringing out amazing fruit, floral, and sweeter flavors, and this coffee is no exception. With so much going on in the cup, we gravitated towards a conical pour-over approach to ensure a clean cup that showcases the sweet hibiscus and tropical fruit. In addition to our suggested brews, we also experimented a bit with this coffee on espresso, and suggest you do the same!
For our first brew, we went straight to the Hario V60 for a classic clean profile, and it did not disappoint. We chose a ratio of 1:15.8, with 19 grams of coffee and 300 grams of water. The coffee was ground at a 9 on our EK43. All grinders are calibrated slightly differently, but this should get you in the ballpark. The bloom was slightly longer than usual, but the overall brew time was fairly consistent with our times here at The Crown. What we got was a cup that retained all the delicate florals this coffee has while emphasizing the complex acidity and supple sweetness. Our dear friend and florist Sigrid decorates The Crown with flowers from their back yard, and recently brought us a bounty of mulberries. We couldn’t help but think of those as we were tasting this coffee!
We also experimented with the St. Anthony’s F70. This brew had a slightly different ratio at 1:16 and an even longer bloom. The flat-bottom brewer brought out more apple and raisin in the flavor profile and had a wild acidity that was reminiscent of cranberries and pink peppercorn. While we preferred the V60, the F70 demonstrated the complexity this coffee has to offer. Overall, there’s not much you can do to make Galo Morales’ traditional natural taste bad. It’s a coffee that excels no matter how you brew it and is rewarding with nearly every approach!