This is an experimental double-macerated honey coffee from Huila, Colombia, produced by a small group of farmers organized around Terra Coffee.
The flavor profile is clean and complex, with notes of tropical fruit like papaya and guava, a zesty malic and citric acidity, hints of floral tones and spiced cider, and an exuberant sweetness.
Our roasters found the coffee well mannered despite unusual green metrics, and urge a little caution against late roast uptick in heat delta.
When brewed, the coffee was complex and showed off a wide range of flavors at various brew styles. We are serving the coffee as a limited pour-over option at The Crown.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
We’re head over heels for this incredible, complex, delicious experimental coffee from Huila. I love Southern Colombia arrivals in the autumn, and this is really one to celebrate. You don’t have to be a fan of Pacamaras or Honey Processing methods to get it, either (though it doesn’t hurt). The coffee stands on its own merits as a meticulously picked and processed microlot showing off a whole new side of Huila you didn’t even know you were missing. One sip and you’ll wonder where it’s been your whole life.
The bright, zesty acidity I think is what really grabs you right off the bat, but it’s not the thing that holds onto your attention. That’d be its complexity, and it starts out just subtle enough to evoke symphonic orchestration rather than cacophonous chaos. Papaya, guava, mango, and pineapple are some of the most unique, idiosyncratic notes we first notice, but there’s so much more. Floral notes reminiscent of lilac round a corner into warm seasonal spice, like a Thai iced tea or fresh hot spiced cider. A lingering, sweet finish of nearly equal parts caramelized and raw sugars completes the experience. It’s on my short list of favorite coffees of the year.
Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell
Ever stop to think about all the variables that factor into creating a distinct, complex, clean and consistent community blend? Here is one you will want to dissect. With one-part terroir (from the coveted department of Huila), one part variety (Pacamara), one part processing innovation (double fermented), and one part farmer collaboration (the backbone of Colombian production).
This community blend with a vibrant regional profile and unique processing character was produced by 8 farmers committed to following a specific processing protocol (double fermented) to draw-out a pronounced fruit forward profile. Using their own micro-mill, each producer fermented their carefully harvested cherries for 40 hours before depulping and then fermenting again in tanks for another 12 hours. After this distinct process of fermenting, the coffee with mucilage still attached was moved to raised beds to gently dry for 25 days.
This is the hallmark influence of Terra Coffee SAS, which has been stepping in with innovative post-harvest strategies and cupping expertise throughout Huila and Nariño. Then Mastercol adds crucial logistical support for things like warehousing and milling so this lot can reach the international market.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Just about everything about this green coffee is really unique. Pacamara is not the world’s most common cultivar, and while grown outside of El Salvador (where it was developed as a Pacas / Maragogipe hybrid) it’s pretty rare. Beyond this, the coffee is a double macerated honey, which is also extraordinary. Honeys rarely undergo formal fermentation, and the two-stage process here prior to drying imparts unique appearance and flavor. Notably, the coffee is covered in a dark, orangey silverskin.
As Pacamaras go, this is a slightly smaller, slightly denser iteration than average, though still registering relatively large in screen size (about 80% 17+, albeit spread somewhat widely and evenly from 16-19). The coffee clocked in at above average moisture and water activity as well. All these factors make for a coffee that could present some interesting idiosyncrasies in the roaster. Mostly, you’ll want to keep an eye on even color development and generally not push too hard with the gas.
Loring S15 Falcon Analysis by Chris Kornman
Switching things up a little this week, I wanted to work on developing a small batch profile on our 15kg capacity Loring S15 Falcon. The apparent recommended minimum roast size on this machine is around 3kg, or 6.6lbs, but in keeping with the spirit of consistency and repeatability, I wanted to work on a 5.5lb (2.5kg) batch, which allows for four roasts out of a 10kg Crown Jewel box.
Despite manufacturer recommended charge temperature well below 300F, I began working with a higher charge temperature on this slightly denser than average Colombian coffee, around 360F. Instead of hitting the gas as soon as possible, I waited until the coffee reached its turning point and ramped up to 50% power for the subsequent 3 minutes of roasting. Color change came quickly and I did my best to ride a balanced approach during Maillard reactions, taking the gas down to 30% and allowing the coffee to stretch during this phase. As soon as first crack was detectable, I dropped the gas to the minimum 20% setting and hoped to coast. The rate of rise remained relatively low, and color developed on pace for a relatively short, light drip style roast.
The longer percentage of time in Maillard allowed color to develop somewhat evenly, and the external and internal Colortrack readings just edged a little over 5 points difference at 60.88 and 54.91, respectively. Overall, the coffee behaved far more predictably than expected, particularly after color change began to be apparent.
For a first roast of this coffee, I was exceedingly pleased with the cupping notes on the table and found the coffee remarkably complex and enjoyable. It might be a good idea for most roasters to keep an eye on rate of rise as first crack begins, and attempt to avoid any late-stage acceleration, probably especially risky if early stages of roasting occur on the quick/hot side.
Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This week we decided to brew this coffee up on the Saint Anthony C70 and Bee House dripper in preparation for releasing it onto our pour-over bar. For both of these brews we used our standard recipe of 18g coffee and 300g brew water, though we varied grind and bloom slightly. Regardless of method, we found a cooperative but complex coffee that showed a range of surprising tasting notes, and I can’t wait to be offering it for service!
On C70, we started with a grind of 8.5 on the EK. This cup brewed through in 3:18, and showed a TDS on the low end, at 1.26, with an extraction of 18.46%. In the cup we tasted a deliciously juicy range of notes, including pineapple, lime zest, strawberry, banana, orange bitters, Thai iced tea, black tea, and almond butter, with a slightly dry finish. It turned even juicier as it cooled!
On Bee House, we started with a grind of 8.5 but fined it up to an 8, to try to punch up the extraction even more. This cup brewed through at 2:43, and as expected showed a higher TDS of 1.38 and an extraction of 20.24%. The first thing we noticed was a strong aroma of tropical fruits that was just amazingly sweet. In the cup we tasted a range of tropical fruit notes like papaya and guava, as well as grape, tangerine, blood orange, sour cherry, lemon-lime, and a hint of sweet wood like cedar, we well as a pleasant dry finish, and an intense sweetness reminiscent of raw sugar. We decided to feature this coffee on our pour-over bar with the Bee House, which you can taste this weekend!