Price $172.70 per box
Box Weight 22 lbs
This is a traditional washed coffee from Antigua, Guatemala, produced by Luis Pedro Zelaya Zamora at Bella Vista; it is a single Bourbon cultivar selection.
The flavor profile is effortlessly sweet and gently citric; we noted honey, mandarin orange, black tea, and apple.
Our roasters encourage stretching out Maillard reactions to enhance the coffee’s natural sweetness.
When brewed, our baristas enjoyed the coffee at a slightly finer grind and flatbottomed brewer for pour-over and dosed down with a lower yield when brewed as espresso.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
Under the shadow of the smoldering peaks of Volcán de Fuego and Volcán de Agua, the Bella Vista mill evokes a calm sense of order and precision amidst the chaos and power of nature. If you’ve ever spoken with Luis Pedro, you’ll likely find the vibe echoed as a natural extension of his good-natured, albeit soft-spoken personality. The coffees he sources and crafts have quietly become some of the best and most consistent, despite the relatively large scale. And I think that says quite a lot. With relatively high-volume, high-quality outputs, it’s also so refreshing to see the attention paid to tiny quantities of coffee, and the intentionality behind their procurement and processing. Just 2,300lbs of this selection were exported to us, and the lot premiers as the debut Central American offering in the 2023 Crown Jewel catalog.
I’ve been an enthusiastic cheerleader for this coffee since it first crossed our sample cupping table. While the classic Antigua profile is often very clean, it’s also not often all that exciting. And so, to my surprise even at a staggeringly light roast, this lot’s potential felt enormous. Giving off apple pie aromas and mandarin orange juiciness with an elegantly clean finish, we asked Doris to tease a little more out of the coffee at a classic Crown production roast level.
Characterized by a honey-like sweetness, the coffee is effortlessly sweet and easy to drink. It has a balanced, calm acidity with hints of lemony/orangey citrus notes, apple, and some stone fruits like peach and cherry. Anchored by a chocolatey structure and mild black tea-like tannins, we also noted a subtle but ever-present florality to the coffee. It’s easygoing and perfect for batch or pour-over, and with a little nudge it shows some great potential for espresso as well.
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger
Bella Carmona is one of the most superb regional blends a roaster can find in Central America. This lot is a blend of 100% Bourbon variety coffee from farms throughout the valley, truly capturing the historic genetics of the area. Luis Pedro Zelaya and his team at the Bella Vista wet mill not only personally manage each of these farms; they also work like perfectionists at the cupping table to maintain the quality of the blend, shipping what they believe is a true representation of the Antigua valley’s volcanic and bourbon-based terroir. We buy a variety of Bella Carmona coffees each year and they routinely astound us with how early they arrive and how crisp and sweet they taste.
Welcome to Antigua
The city of Antigua is in many ways a modern coffee Eden. It’s iconic, laid back, gorgeously ornate, and for a city of its size it is absolutely teeming with historic coffee infrastructure. It also was the center of Guatemala’s specialty universe for many years. Prior to other departments in Guatemala having their own name recognition, coffees from all over the country were regularly transited to Antigua mills and exported as “Antigua” coffee, simply because its reputation was so strong. (Some departments, like Quiché, continue to have strong cherry pipelines to Antigua and struggle for their own name recognition in the market.)
The Antigua valley itself is a gifted area for coffee: it’s accessible and flat, highly volcanic, and older farms remain planted with majority bourbon-based genetics under very precisely managed shade canopy. The best coffees of the valley are decadent with butterscotch or marzipan-like sweetness, and brightness ranging from piquant lemonade to dessert wine or tangy dried fruit.
Guatemala’s best centralized wet mills and boutique exporters are based in and around Antigua. There are hundreds of farms in the greater area, from the city’s legacy estates to patchwork smallholder communities climbing most of the way up Volcán de Agua (which is not flat!), one of three looming stratovolcanoes that seem to be visible from every street corner in town and play a large part in Antigua’s famous soil composition. Such a variety of producers begets coffees with endless combinations of microclimates, elevations and varieties. There is a lot to work with here, and a lot of talent.
“LPZ” and the Bella Vista mill
Luis Pedro Zelaya (LPZ) is a fourth-generation producer and miller who for the past 20 years has established one of the best quality reputations in the country. Originally an employee of Bella Vista, he now runs the entire combination wet and dry mill in Antigua. Bella Vista services the coffee produced from LPZ’s own family estates and numerous other legacy farms which he manages via a unique profit-sharing agreement with the owners. Many of these farms are among the oldest in the country. Bella Vista also processes coffee from hundreds of smallholders across the greater Antigua area, most notably along the slopes of Volcán de Agua, whose blend is sold as “Hunapú”, after the local indigenous title of the volcano. As a result of relentless perfectionism from harvest management to dry-milling and customer service, the brands designed and produced by LPZ and his quality team, particularly Bella Carmona and Hunapú, are some of the best-recognized Central American coffees in the specialty world.
Processing Detail & Quality Control
Cherry is delivered daily at Bella Vista from all over the valley. Processing is separated into numerous channels that represent Bella Carmona farms, Hunapú farms, and microlots such as this one, in which only the bourbon variety from each farm is picked and combined. Once inspected and weighed, cherry is depulped and fermented overnight in one of the mill’s many tanks, washed clean the next day, and patio-dried.
Each individual batch of cherry is tracked electronically using a software created by Bella Vista, and drying or finished parchment is tagged with a QR code that allows the team to scan and review the exact blend in each batch, by contributing farm or farmer, variety, and location. This traceability follows each lot to the cupping table, where the Bella Vista team approves individual day lots for blending and shipment.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Given the immense amount of organizational and operational infrastructure at Bella Vista, it’s no surprise that this coffee has been meticulously processed and exhibits picture-perfect green coffee stats. It’s modestly high in density, slightly lower than average in moisture and water activity (great for storage!) and sorted a little more narrowly than the average Central American EP, with the vast majority of beans in the 16-18 range. It should make for consistent and predictable roasting.
As a 100% Bourbon cultivar selection, the coffee represents genetic lineage with a direct line back to Yemen. In 1715, French colonists – on good relations with Imam Al-Mahdi and with his blessing — transplanted Yemeni trees to the island known now as Reunion, then as Bourbon. The coffee cultivated there would eventually be introduced to Brazil in 1859 and thereafter to much of the Americas. Its high productivity compared to Typica meant that it quickly became the cultivar of choice for farmers, especially as the Western Hemisphere became the dominant coffee supply region whilst rust swept through the Pacific in the late 19th century. Today, the cultivar remains recognizable for its roundish bean shape and high sensory quality ceiling despite having relatively low productivity compared to more modern tree types.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Doris Garrido.
Before roasting this coffee, I took into mind my notes from the sample I have tasted; I noted a great potential of nice citric acidities like mandarin, and nectarine but also noticed an easy way to turn it into a rough greenish grapefruit or grapefruit zest that could taste a little bitter. To avoid that I decided to use air! Lately, the air has been an amazing tool that has helped me bring some florals in coffee, in this case, I plan to use air during drying.
I charged it with a low temperature of 413F and let it run all the way to the turning point. Just before turning, I start adding gas, 70 % to start. This was my first roast of the day, which means that the Diedrich was hot. Pretty soon, I went to 100% gas and started lowering it at 4 minutes to 30% gas and marked the color change. The coffee was able to slow down with a great pace and crack at 384F (a little earlier than I expected) and run for 1:31 seconds and drop at 392.6F. Since I was running with the lowest gas since the color change, I let the coffee develop until I was about to hit negative numbers. I used the trier to find the sweet aroma and drop it.
For airflow, I started the roast with 50% air, ran air for almost 3 minutes, and closed it. I wanted it to allow the heat to reach a good point and the air was making it difficult. After the color change, I opened to 50% again and then the full 100% just before first crack.
On tasting this coffee, citrus fruit, lemon, lemongrass, bright without being tart, very clean, honeycomb, palm sugar, nutmeg, black pepper, creamy, chamomile, and three cuppers called out florals. I believe the goal was hit, and the acidity worked just as I wanted. On the sweetness side, If I were to roast again, I would push it a little more by stretching Maillard and development just to give it a bit more complexity, but for now, I just enjoy a delicate brew that Taylor Brandon just dialed for a pour-over, cheers to Guatemala season!
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!
I always appreciate Guatemalan coffees for their deep sweetness, their adaptability in the roaster, and for the generally strict attention to detail they get at the processing level. Especially as regards high end specialty coffees, Guatemala tends to produce some very sweet lots indeed, whether that’s a super syrupy comfort coffee or a complex, zesty, and fruity selection. This lot from Luis Pedro Zelaya is one of the former, with tons of sweetness and plenty of latitude to work with in the roaster. His reputation precedes him, and I’m not surprised in the slightest at the solid quality of this coffee.
Anyhow, I started this coffee off with a good push, wanting to hit it with plenty of heat from the outset and lots of airflow to get a slightly shorter roast time than usual. This may or may not have been the best idea, but gentlefolks, it’s what I went with this time around! Stick around for the journey..
With a charge temperature of 464F, P8 power and F2 fan this coffee was cooking through Green/Drying, reaching a peak RoR of 40F/min. For reference, this is quite high and I usually shoot for 32-35F/min maximum. At the peak I reduced heat application to P7, but kept fan speed where it was until 3:50 / 330F, just after the start of Maillard. I continued from there, raising fan speed by one mark roughly every two minutes until reaching F5, where I stayed until drop. My other moves were to decrease power incrementally as well, to P6 at 5:25 / 355F, then to P5 a little after First Crack. It turns out I could have waited a bit longer, or simply stayed at P6 until the end of roast as I didn’t achieve my desired end temperature of 394F, instead only hitting 391F after 1:15 development. Then there was the crash induced by strong airflow and not enough residual heat to keep the coffee cooking. Dang!
The results weren’t all bad, though. This was a roast that turned out lighter than I like, but I did find some nice notes here, especially after waiting a few days to brew. The cupping left a lot to be desired, but when brewed in a Chemex, this was a nice sunny morning coffee. Super strong caramel sweetness, body like peachy oolong tea, ruby red grapefruit, and brown sugar came through. The acidity was pretty sharply lemony, so I might (once again) suggest taking this coffee a bit darker than I did here. This is clearly a sugar-forward coffee, so go with the flow and take it for a ride through Maillard.
I could also see this coffee performing phenomenally as espresso – all those sugars! Take my roast below with a grain of salt to cut the acidity, and hit this coffee with some good heat so it maintains a little further in late Maillard:
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.
Our newbie Crown Jewel is reminiscent of all the ideal attributes you would want from a Guatemalan coffee, with a refined and spring-forward profile that will keep you dreaming about sipping on your next cup of coffee. When it first entered our lab we got notes of lemongrass, honeycomb, molasses, tea-like, nutmeg and rye. Doris and I took a look at these profiles head-to-head with a reference cup from our Diedrich analysis roast. The high-density vs low-density profiles will be interesting to observe on a coffee like this one that has a middle of the road density spec.
On first pass of aroma I was sure the high-density roast would be the preferred cup with some light florals in the aroma. When cupping, the flavors presented as herbal when hot and as it cooled, notes of caramel, lemon verbena, oat straw, orange zest and bitter chocolate emerged. This cup had acidity and some complex flavors to it, but retained those herbal notes and was slightly thin.
The low-density roast expressed flavors of cashew butter, caramel, carrot cake, nutmeg and stone fruit. The cup was immensely sweet with a full body but was lower in complexity and acidity. This is where Doris and I diverge. An ideal cup for me has lovely sweetness and body, and I can sacrifice a little bit of complexity if it is paired with any sort of astringency or thinness. Doris is the opposite in that she is always striving for luminous acidity and complexity in her roasts. With that being said, I leaned towards the LD roast and Doris preferred the HD roast. The reference Diedrich roast was a nice balance of acidity, complexity, and sweetness. We were discussing that a profile in the middle ground might be best for this coffee as it does have an average density. No matter your route, the meticulous care and attention to detail Luis Pedro Zelaya and his team at the Bella Vista wet mill put into this coffee is not one to miss out on. Grab a box while they last and happy cupping!
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 Taylor Brandon
Our first brew of this coffee turned out to be our favorite; immediately presenting its fruit forward strength. I opted for the flat bed Kalita Wave brewer, a dose of 18 grams of coffee, and a grind of 9 on the EK43. We utilized our standard brew recipe of three pulses to total 300 grams of water. This brought our TDS to 1.43 and made for an ideal extraction rate of 20.34%. Notes of blood orange, cherry chocolate, mango, strawberry, and an organic fruit leather you got in your school lunch shined through. Although this brew was exceptional, I still wanted to see what other directions I could take the coffee.
In my second attempt, I kept all variables the same but decided on a coarser grind of 10 to further clarify what we were tasting. A TDS of 1.36 and a lower extraction rate of 19.8% brought forth notes of zesty lime and black tea that were not present before. I was missing the depth from my original brew so in my third I went back to a 9 grind but upped my dose to 19 grams of coffee. This brew presented with more rose, tobacco, and molasses flavor; a TDS of 1.49 and an extraction rate of 20.23%.
At this stage in the game, I switched to a V60 brewer in search of more clarity, and I found that the second brew on this device was my favorite. For the second brew on the V60 we used a grind of 9 and upped the dose to 19. The TDS came out to 1.50 and the extraction rate was 21.83%. This brew was reminiscent of the first with fruity flavors of raspberry, mango, and pear.
This is a delicious coffee that benefits from a flatbed brewer like the Kalita Wave and a finer grind to highlight the depths of its fruit flavors. Notes of Crème Brule and mulled wine are also accompanied by a smooth and full mouth feel.
Espresso Analysis by MJ Smith
Recipe 1: 18.5g dose, 36g yield, 32 seconds
Recipe 2: 19g dose, 37g yield, 28 seconds
Guatemalan coffees have always had a special place in my heart. The first single origin espresso I ever tried was from Guatemala, back in 2012 at a coffee roastery I worked at in Texas, and it was love at first sip. This coffee from LPZ did not disappoint! Super chocolatey, delightfully fruity, slightly floral and herbaceous, with just a hint of savoriness… this coffee is all that and the kitchen sink!
For my first dial recipe, I went with a lower dose of 18.5g of coffee, as well as a lower yield of 36g, pulled at 32 seconds. This was a really fun shot with a lot of exciting things happening in it! I shared some with Taylor, who’s writing the brew analysis for this coffee, and we came up with notes of Cosmic Brownie, molasses, mulled wine, dates, watermelon candy, lemonade, and currant. While both shots I’m writing about were delicious, I think I liked this one just a little bit more.
Next up, I increased the dose and yield to 19.5g in, 37g out, and pulled it at 28 seconds. This shot brought out a lot more of the floral, herbal, and savory notes I mentioned earlier. I shared some sips with the rest of the barista team and here’s what we were tasting: chocolate cake, rose water, blood orange, tomato jam, fennel, balsamic, and graham cracker. Like I said, all that and the kitchen sink…
This coffee makes for a lovely espresso but, I will say, less is more when it comes to the dose and yield. The sweet spots lie somewhere in the 18.5-19g dose, 36-37g yield range. While it’s great on its own, this espresso also works quite well in milk. Hope you enjoy!