The floodgates are opening. Shimmering new arrivals from the northern hemisphere are landing and while we’re still thrilled to feature a number of lovely coffees from south of the equator, this Antiguan coffee has all the hallmarks of a sparkling clean Guatemalan coffee. Delightfully sweet with notes of maple syrup and vanilla and a mild, the coffee has some soft orange fruit notes like apricot and canteloup, with a silky mouthfeel and a whisper of florality — complex enough for the attentive cupper yet easy to appreciate for the casual drinker, this coffee strikes an uncommon balance in its flavor profile.
Producer and exporter Luis Pedro Zelaya Zamora is a force to be reckoned with in Antigua coffees. He’s a fourth-generation coffee professional whose reputation, in part, results from his remarkably clean and efficient beneficio that produces world-class coffees. Among the many impressive features of the mill are the sizable fermentation tanks and guardiolas. However, this lot was not mechanically dried but rather sent to the greenhouse, where Luis Pedro has stacked raised beds three tiers high and maintains a strict rotation schedule to ensure even drying. While not all of the coffees processed at Beneficio Bella Vista are grown on his farms, this particular Crown Jewel is exactly that. The single-variety Bourbon lot comes from a farm called Hacienda Bella Carmona, located within the traditional Antigua growing region.
Located a mere ninety-minute drive from Guatemala’s capital city, Antigua was once itself the capital of the Spanish colonial Kingdom of Guatemala which included nearly all of Central America, stretching from Chiapas, Mexico south to Costa Rica. World renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city contains a remarkable concentration of beautiful architecture connected by cobblestone streets. Coffee from the highlands surrounding the city has a protected designation of origin and benefits from the volcanic soil in the region; Guatemala is home to numerous dormant, extinct, and active volcanoes. Antigua rests in the shadows of Volcán de Fuego, from which smoke can be seen rising on a daily basis.
In June of 2018, Fuego erupted killing nearly 100 souls living in the areas of Alotenango, Escuintla, Chimaltenango, and parts of Acetenango, displacing thousands. Clouds of ash covered the coffee fields in neighboring regions, including Antigua. Overcoming adversity is a common theme in coffee production, and the resilience of these trees and farmers stand testament to dedication and passion.
One of the consistently impressive feats Don Luis Pedro accomplishes at his magnificent dry mill in Antigua is absolute precision in drying practices. Year after year, coffees processed at the mill exceed expectation for their longevity and physical specs. This Bella Carmona tracks on-trend: tighter than average screen size for the region paired with perfect moisture figures and relatively high density make this coffee a sure-fire bet to stay delicious for months to come.
Bourbon trees in Guatemala were planted during the middle-to-late 19th century after the initial introduction of Typica from as early as 1740 – Guatemala was among the first mainland countries in Mesoamerica to adopt the crop. Bourbon trees tend to yield a little more than Typica, and have rounder appearance – both the shape of the foliage and the shape of the fruit and seeds. The Bourbon phenotype was first described on the French island now known as Réunion and descends directly from a Yemeni landrace transplanted from the peninsula to the islet in 1715. It remains among the most popular “legacy” plants in the arabica catalog.
We’ve updated our V2 Ikawa Pro machines with the latest Firmware version (24) and run on “closed loop” setting. Our roasters underwent full service in October of 2018 which included replacement heating elements and an updated PT 1000 temperature sensor.
Two fairly dissimilar roasts using updated Firmware 24 below on our V2, Roast 1 (blue) at a trim 5:00 produced a light-bodied coffee with a bit of floral and apricot tones against a milk chocolate backdrop. The 1-minute-longer Roast 2 (red) yielded a lot of nice sweetness, vanilla and maple sweetness, and a dried apricot and lemon-like acidity. We’re still dialing airflow with the new firmware, but these tried and true profiles produced solid, albeit different, results.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: 5:00 412 \m/fc
Roast 2: RC ckornman 6m afmod dec2018
The Probatino was one of the first machines I used – and loved. As my career as a roaster progressed, I moved on to other machinery but never lost my love for this particular machine. My intention was to present two very different roasts, and I did, for the most part; but I’m looking forward to getting to know this roaster intimately again.
I wanted to roast this coffee in two ways, to emphasize each of the two attributes that stood out to me on the sample cupping table; the aromatic acidity and the complex layered sugar notes.
For the first roast (red on the graph), I wanted to try a fairly aggressive first roast, pushing the coffee through the dehydration stage and ‘up the hill’ through coloring and into first crack. I started with a middling amount of heat, or so I thought. The roast moved quickly, and I ended up hitting first crack at almost 6 minutes (5.45mins); a full minute before I intended. I decided to extend my original roast plan, post first crack, by a few seconds. As things happened, I ended up pulling the roast about 30 seconds later than I had intended. The colortrack reading and lengthened end of roast led me to believe that this roast would taste both underdeveloped and baked. However, although the body was thinner than I had hoped, but it was still sweet and fruity; an eminently drinkable cup, if a little green on the finish. Cupping the coffee, there were delicious notes of green apple, honey blossom, panela and lime.
The second roast (seen here in green) was to be longer and more expressive of the coloring portion of the endothermic stage of the roast. I wanted to allow the beans to take up the heat gradually and fully express the non-enzymatic reactions taking place in the roaster and my roast went to plan. I started on a low heat and allowed the turning point to drop a few degrees lower than previously, so that I could raise the gas to mimic the first stage of the curve of the previous roast, yet still have time to lengthen out the second stage, allowing for a good post-first crack development within my time goals. I wanted to preserve the acidity, so dropped the coffee just over a minute after first crack. The heat delta was a gentler, more steady downslope and the resulting cup was the proof in the pudding. The complex, layered sugar notes were there – brown sugar, honey, malt and dried fig with honey blossom aromatics. These notes were complimented by a creamy, syrupy body, which contrasted well with a red apple and lime acidity. I filtered the cupping bowls and drank the whole sample!
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
This coffee was smooth and steady on the cupping table. If you’re looking for a coffee to get you through the springtime rains and into the summer, this coffee offers a perfectly flavored transition. Sugars are the primary drive behind the flavors in this coffee, with heavy maple syrup and brown sugar coming through quite consistently through all our roasts this week. Mellow, crisp apple acidity backs up the steady sugars in this coffee.
As far as the roast goes, I wanted to get ample sugar development while attempting to eliminate any smoky flavors that could result from having the coffee in the roaster for too long. To that effect, I opened the door of the Behmor a few seconds after first crack, just to allow some smoke to exit. I then engaged P4 to ramp down the heat a bit, and allowed the coffee to develop for 1:10.
While most of us found this coffee enjoyable on the cupping table, I would have liked just a touch more development. At 12.5% roast loss, I wasn’t particularly heavy handed. For my next roast of this coffee, I’ll be shooting for an even 13%, perhaps without ramping the power down at the end.
After cupping Candice’s Probatino roasts of this new Crown Jewel, we were excited to start brewing it on the bar. Doris took the first crack, whipping up two different brews on the Chemex. Doris chose a 1:17 ratio for this coffee, which we thought might allow some of the more delicate tasting notes to shine through, but unfortunately the thick filter on the Chemex and relatively deep coffee bed led to back-to-back choked brews, with total brew times of 6:30 and 6:40, and the bitter, papery tasting notes you would expect along with them. Even so, hints of the green apple and honey poked through, so we adjusted our plan and tried again.
I’ve been enjoying brewing with Fellow’s new Stagg brewer on the bar the past few weeks, largely because its design allows for short brew times that still yield high extractions. After our two choked Chemex brews, the Stagg seemed like a good choice. I made two brews of the 2nd Probatino roast with almost exactly the same parameters; the only difference between the two was the water temperature. For the first, I used 200 degree water and the second 205 degree water, curious to see if the hotter brew water made the acidity pop. While I can’t say whether the acidity was significantly more notable in the hotter brew, I will say they were both delicious. We picked up lots of stone fruit, honey, chocolate, and baking spices, with a nice delicate florality on the finish. I was satisfied, but wanted to see if we could improve on our initial attempts with the Chemex, so I made two more brews, this time of Candice’s 1st roast. The resulting brews were an improvement, with a pleasant tea like body and the same stone fruit and honey notes, but the total brew times were still almost 2 minutes longer than the brews on the Stagg.
Overall, this coffee’s sweetness and complexity impressed many of us, shining through even on our choked, over-extracted brews. It offers a super clean and balanced cup of coffee that should satisfy a wide variety of coffee drinkers. It’ll be hitting the espresso bar at The Crown soon, too, so if you’re in the area, definitely stop in for a shot of this delicious new coffee!