Price $191.51 per box
Box Weight 22 lbs
This is a traditional washed coffee from Cajamarca, Peru, produced by farmer Esther Fernandez and exported by Origin Coffee Lab. It possesses Farmgate pricing transparency; Esther was paid the equivalent of $3.23/lb for green, exportable coffee.
The flavor profile is effortlessly complex and fruit-forward. We tasted sweet notes of caramel, with strong impressions of watermelon and apple, and an elegant floral finish that reminded us of lavender and jasmine.
Our roasters found the coffee easy to roast and to be audibly a bit soft at first crack.
When brewed our baristas found the coffee playful, sweet, and easy to dial as both pour-over and espresso with standard ratios.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
A thrilling, standout coffee on the cupping table, this attention-grabber from Esther Fernandez Mondragon is stunningly sweet and fruit forward. Feel free to leave your expectations of ‘classic’ Peruvian flavors at the door.
Max Nicholas-Fulmer (CEO) and Caitlin McCarthy Garcia (Trader) both called out the coffee first on its arrival to Oakland as the best of our lots this year from Origin Coffee Lab, with complex notes of sweet ginger and lime ice cream, passionfruit, light spice, and incredible depth. Max shot us a note to make sure we’d evaluate it for Crown Jewels… and luckily it was already on our radar. Jose Riviera (OCL co-founder) and I bumped into each other back in April 2022 in Boston, and he confirmed Royal was already in talks at that time to work on some new business. Knowing the qualities OCL was capable of, I kept my eye on the daily trading reports, and I’m glad I did.
Taking our first look at the coffee as a sample roast, we immediately recognized the reasons for Max and Caitlin’s enthusiasm. The coffee is incredibly fragrant, with floral notes like lavender, jasmine, and rosemary. The cup showed of a wide variety of balanced, tropical-fruit-forward characteristics like lychee, jackfruit, grapefruit, and raspberry.
Subsequent roasts and brews alike found the entire team celebrating the coffee’s effortless complexity, delicate florality, cornucopia of fruited flavors, and elegant silky-sweet spice finish. We’re enamored to say the least, and have already roasted the first batch to feature as a light roast drip option at The Crown. We’re certain that casual coffee drinkers and seasoned roasting veterans alike won’t be able to stop talking about how remarkable, unique, fun, and delicious this coffee is.
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger
In Peru by far the bulk of coffee production comes from small farms owned and managed by people who have for many years followed organic farm management practices attuned to their cultural connection with the land. Producers typically cultivate coffee on just a few acres of land intercropped with shade trees, fruits, and vegetables. Small producers are often very careful about picking and sorting their cherry prior to depulping, fermenting, washing, and drying the coffee, all on personal equipment and on personal property. While producers design farm management and post-harvest solutions to fit their varying needs, they also need a strong business alliance to bring their coffee to the international market and earn fair prices, regardless of whether the coffees are blended or sold independently.
This particular lot of coffee comes from a single producer named Esther Fernandez Mondragon. Esther’s farm is in the La Higuera community of Colasay, part of the district of Huabal, in the mountains northwest of the region’s main trading city of Jaén. Esther first purchased her property in 2014 and currently has about 2,500 coffee plants spread across her 1.5 hectares. She is the third generation in her family to cultivate coffee and sees the trade not only as a small business for herself but also as a source of work for the younger generations of the remote area where she lives. Esther herself is in her late-40s, considered young for a coffee farmer in Peru.
Esther employs a few pickers during harvest months and oversees all processing herself on her property. Coffee is depulped with a motorized pulping machine and fermented under water for 42 hours in a handmade wooden tank. After fermentation is complete, parchment is washed again with clean water and moved to dry in a combination of covered patio and solar dryer, a process that takes about 20 days to complete.
This single-farmer microlot come to us from Origin Coffee Lab, an exemplary alliance recently established in Peru’s competitive north. The small team put together by José Rivera and Alex Julca — career cuppers, farmers, exporters, and quality managers who grew up in Peru’s sought-after northern coffee terroir — is quickly gaining a reputation for their outstanding portfolio of microlot coffees and above-expectation regional blends. Which should be no surprise, given the founders have decades of experience working with farmers of all kinds and cupping thousands of samples from across the Cajamarca region. So, they know what they’re aiming for. Origin Coffee Lab uses their extensive experience to set high standards for farms, with generous price premiums in place for those who rise to the occasion.
But it’s not simply a take-it-or-leave-it proposition: their “Solidario” program is a curriculum that teaches best practices in farm management and processing to help small farmers maximize their quality, and profit. Farmers in northern Cajamarca province, which includes districts like Chirinos, San Ignacio, and Huabal, all famous for great coffee, certainly have their choice of exporter. So the growing partnerships for Origin Coffee Lab and the popularity of their coffees signal that they clearly are offering something worthwhile to top farmers. Not only do they compensate their farmers very well, they also provide complete price transparency to their buyers. Esther was paid the equivalent of $3.23/lb for green, exportable coffee.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Esther Fernandez’s farm is planted with a mix of well-known cultivars, including legacy Bourbon, the improved short-stature Catuai, and Catimor type trees. Bourbon plants are known for rounder seed shape and higher yields than its Typica counterpart, while Catuai is a cross between Caturra (a naturally occurring dwarf Bourbon) and Mundo Novo (a spontaneous Typica-Bourbon hybrid) and may be planted more densely due to its size. Catimor takes the Caturra dwarf tree and crosses it with the Timor Hybrid, to produce improved yields and disease resistance.
The physical analysis of this coffee is not so different from many small-scale coffees – particularly in its widely distributed screen size, ranging from 15 to 19, a little less uniform than a EP from Central America but not out of the ordinary for a single estate coffee with a low-volume, high quality output. The coffee is nicely dried and has a low water activity, and is quite dense… so expect to use a little extra heat early in the roast to bring out the best in these beans.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido.
This Peru season has been exciting for me at the cupping table as I have been trying to deconstruct the coffee process based on the cupping notes. The last few coffees I have tasted were just so complex in flavor that I got the idea that there was something else happening during the wash process, but I did not succeed. It was just my perception as we were tasting great delicious coffees.
I started the 5.5 batch roast with 436F with the low 30% gas power and then added 60% followed by 85% to push a little bit for a brief period and start dropping little by little. I have been using this approach on gas trying treat the bean with less stress at the beginning, but pushing the roast as it starts climbing to yellowing. At 250F I started dropping gas and to the lowest 30% again, just before getting into the yellowing phase. Starting Maillard with a 34.7 of rate of rise, I went lower simply great till reaching first crack at 16F/min RoR. The cracking was quiet, and I needed to check the trier to mark it. I dropped the coffee at 395.3F with 1:19 of post-crack development.
This coffee turned out floral and fruity on the cupping table, a silky mouthfeel, with some notes of papaya, butter, orange creamsicle, mangosteen, and some bittersweet chocolate. Frutti and sweet-tasting all the way, it was good roast; the coffee behaved great, and tasted even better.
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!
Rich and decadent coffees are my favorite. Never one to turn down dessert, and a resolute fan of American Breakfast Food like Belgian waffles, these coffees make me feel a little bit better about my blood sugar levels and are probably a healthier choice. Knowing that the producers are getting paid well above market levels makes the coffee even sweeter and contributes to the health of my heart in different, and more essential ways.
I went into this roast not knowing too much about the coffee aside from some of the green metrics. This coffee is pretty well sorted, and on the large side. It’s also incredibly dense. I wanted to try something different, and decided not to hit this coffee with a lot of heat from the outset, opting instead to use a moderate charge temperature of 446F and apply P8 power for as long as I could muster, which turned out to be until the peak RoR of 35F / minute when I applied P7. I started the roast with F2 fan, then increased to F3 just as my Rate of Rise began to decline. Reducing power to P6 at yellowing, the plan was to take this coffee slowly through Maillard, but not so slowly as to lead to a crash. At about 350F / 6:38 I increased power back to P7 for one minute, and increased fan speed to F4 to wick away moisture and pull this coffee a little more aggressively through late Maillard. RoR was a trending sideways in a bit of an unstable fashion, perhaps even increasing a little towards First Crack, so I reduced heat to P5 and increased fan further to F5 just as First Crack hit. I did toggle back to F4 so that the roast wouldn’t crash and was able to achieve 1:33 of Post Crack development, about 14% of the roast.
This coffee spent a significant majority of time in Maillard, and I think that really showed in the cup. Tons of plummy, sticky sugars made this coffee present itself squarely between the Sipper and Chugger camps. Crisp apple acidity coupled with a caramel sweetness made me think of those inevitably disappointing caramel apples you see at grocery stores, but in this case there was zero disappointment. This was a crisp, jammy, juicy coffee, and Isabella even got some florals in the finish.
I would drink this coffee any old way. Filter drip, cezve, cowboy coffee, Nordic egg coffee, Mypressi Twist… it really doesn’t matter, this coffee is going to be super delicious. Consume with great prejudice, friends. Our most heartfelt compliments to Sra Fernandez and her entire crew!
You can follow along with my roast here at roast.world: https://roast.world/@egilman/roasts/KOVG8Kv5GIXkV0wLcXx8B
Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Isabella Vitaliano
Our current Ikawa practice compares two sample roast profiles, originally designed for different densities of green coffee. The two roasts differ slightly in total length, charge temperature, and time spent between color change in first crack. You can learn more about the profiles here.
Peru has stacked up an impressive list of arrivals this year and this coffee is right at the top of it. Exploring a high density and low density roast in this analysis will give insight into how to formulate a roasting plan.
The high density roast was up first on the table. It was noticeably coconut on the aroma, and that translated to the flavor as well. A sweet a silky body of rose, coconut and plum. Doris and I couldn’t stop talking about how good this mouthfeel was. The body was insanely delicious and certainly fruit forward.
Our next cup had our low density roast and brought flavors of dark chocolate, guava, palm sugar, and ripe mango. I also picked up some herbal and savory notes in this cup. The body did not hold up as strong in this roast with a thinner finish. While not as bold the coffee was pleasant and the flavors were enjoyable!
This coffee is going on batch brew at The Crown and with Doris coming up on her first roast for the tasting room, she is taking some insight from these roasts and is concocting a plan that will emulate the high-density, hot and fast roast.
You can roast your own by linking to our profiles in the Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Low Density Sample Roast
Roast 2: High Density Sample Roast
Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill
We’ve had some spectacular coffees coming into the Tasting Room coming from Colombia and Ecuador, and things have been a bit quieter among our Peru arrivals. When this coffee appeared on our white marble backbar, we weren’t sure what to expect, as none of our current tasting room crew was familiar with this producer. For me, it has been a great opportunity to familiarize myself with some of our earlier CJs from Peru, and to expand how I think about high altitude Peruvian coffees. I assumed this washed coffee would yield some chocolate-y brews, but it was way fruitier and much more floral than expected. This coffee brewed up consistently sweet and complex, performing beautifully in a variety of brewers, including a Kalita Wave, a Hario V60, a Saint Anthony Industries F70, and a Zero Japan Bee House. We encountered a spectacular range of pleasing flavor notes, and to highlight a big part of this range, I want to focus this brew analysis on our Wave and V60 brews.
We started out with a recipe that has worked well for us on other high altitude South American coffees, with a dose of 18 grams of coffee ground at a 9 on our EK43S. Taylor pulled out the Kalita Wave to see what kind of notes and body might come out of a flatbottom device. Taylor started with 50 grams of water, allowing it to bloom for about 40 seconds, before pouring 150 grams of water, and another dose of 100 grams at 1:40. The brew took 3:45 to finish draining, and it had a TDS of 1.41 and an extraction percentage of 20.48, which tend to be a pretty pleasant zone to land in. This brew had a light yet syrupy body and was loaded with fruit flavors. We tasted fruit punch, strawberry, watermelon, and Asian pear, as well as notes of caramel and flowers, like violet.
Because the brew from the Wave had a softer acidity, I pulled out the Hario V60 to see if I could get a brew with an amplified acidity. I kept the recipe the same, working with the same dose, grind, and pour pulses. I received a brew in 3:55 with the same TDS as the brew from the Wave, but with a slightly lighter extraction percentage of 20.16. This brew was noticeably more citrus-y, with a noticeable malic acidity as well. We tasted Meyer lemon, pear, apple, and lots of stone fruit—peach, nectarine, plum—and a caramel sweetness. There were even more floral notes in this brew, with whispers of lilac and lavender. This brew was punchier, and yet still tropical and complex.
On the SAI F70, we noticed more citric acidity and some herbaceous flavors, and from the Bee House, we got a brew with a bit more body and notes of cocoa, molasses, and hints of strawberry. We were excited about how delicious this coffee is, and the surprising variety of brews between different devices. My suspicion is that filter thickness might play more of a role in the articulation of acids than whether the device is a cone or flatbottom or hybrid—thicker filter yielding brighter brews with less body. This is a fun one to feature as a pourover coffee because of the exciting directions it can be pushed, exhibiting some of the flavor profiles I expect from a natural process coffee while being as clean as a high quality washed coffee.
Espresso Analysis by MJ Smith
Without generalizing an entire country’s coffee quality based on my own personal experiences, I generally really love Peruvian coffees! This coffee from Esther Fernandez Mondragon was no exception. In fact, I dare say it might be one of the most exciting espressos I’ve worked with recently. It is exceptionally clean with a joyful brightness, not to mention full of some truly wild tasting notes. Overall, it possessed a candy-like tangy sweetness, as well as some delicate florals and warm sugary spice notes.
Dose: 18.5 grams, Yield: 37 grams, Time: 31 seconds
For the first recipe I’m going to go over, I started with a lower dose of 18.5 grams. This shot pulled at 31 seconds with a yield of 37 grams. Initially, I picked up notes of honey, jasmine, and lemon sorbet. As it cooled, I also noticed hints of tangerine, apple, nutmeg, and salted caramel. While it was delicious just on its own, I also tried an identical shot in an oat milk cortado and thought it tasted just like marzipan!
Dose: 19 grams, Yield: 38 grams, Time: 29 seconds
My next recipe has a slightly increased dose of 19 grams, as well as a slightly higher yield of 38 grams, but ran a little bit faster, pulling at 29 seconds. This shot truly surprised me! With a little more oomph and faster extraction time, I was picking up all kinds of sweet, interesting flavors. Cotton candy, champagne, key lime pie, Smarties candy, caramelized sugar, and chocolate wafers all showed up to the party!
This coffee has a really fun sweetness to it that was particularly enjoyable, both on pour over and espresso. On espresso specifically, I found it really sang with an exact 2:1 ratio, a dose somewhere in the 18.5 to 19 gram range, and a brew time between 29 and 31 seconds (let it be noted that the coffee I’m working with today is 7 days off roast). 10/10, would recommend!