fbpx

intro

Intro by Mayra Orellana-Powell & Chris Kornman

We’ve partnered with Beneficio Santa Rosa this year for the first time to source some pretty spectacular microlots, and this dry-processed coffee grown by Conversión Hernández is a spectacular example of innovative attention to detail.

We fell in love with this coffee way back at our Coffee Buyer’s Cupping Table event in April, and scooped up 3 vacuum-sealed 35-kg boxes and converted them into a few CJs for lucky buyers. Such a juicy and clean natural coffee, bursting with star fruit, plum, concord grape, and raspberry, with strong floral complimentary notes.

Don Hernández operates a tiny farm, just over a hectare in size, with his family in Santa Cruz, located in the country’s southwestern department of Lempira. Here, in addition to coffee, he grows plantains, oranges, and avocados. For coffee, his focus has been picking fully ripe cherry, and washing these cherries prior to a very long drying period on raised beds, up to 22 days.

Beneficio Santa Rosa is the powerhouse of western Honduras, boasting one of the most state-of-the-art dry mill operations in all of Central America. It starts with location. Santa Rosa de Copan has mild weather conditions, which makes for an ideal warehouse location for resting parchment and preparing coffee for export. Copan is the second largest growing region in Honduras, which means Beneficio Santa Rosa is well situated to receive coffee from many excellent sources. Most importantly, Beneficio Santa Rosa has a fully staffed cupping lab equipped to cup through thousands of samples and identify the potential for every coffee that is received. So it should be no surprise that Beneficio Santa Rosa has delivered an exceptional number of “Top Tier” micro-lots for Royal this season.

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

Nothing terribly exciting here in terms of green coffee analysis. Medium density, average moisture, and a water activity just a touch above dead center all speak to quality work. The screen size is a little larger than average about 30% at 19 and up, and over 60% at 18 plus.

Classic American cultivars are in play here, including legacy Bourbon and the dwarf mutation Caturra. Catuaí, a hybrid of Yellow Caturra and Mundo Novo, is also a short-stature plant. Each are genetically direct descendents of some of the first seeds lifted or gifted from Ethiopia via Yemen in the earliest days of Arabica globalization.

taste

probatino

Roast Analysis by Alex Taylor

One of the best parts of working on roast analysis for Crown Jewels is that I never really know what’s going to pop up in the queue next, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that CJ1315 is a natural coffee from Honduras with a shockingly large screen size. To help come up with a plan, I re-read Candice’s analysis of CJ1313, a honey-processed Pacamara from El Salvador, in hopes that this coffee might behave similarly.

My main takeaway from Candice’s analysis was that I would want to make my adjustments earlier than usual, as this large, dense coffee might need a little more time to react. No problem, right? Wrong. About halfway through my first roast, I guess I thought I knew more than Candice (I definitely do NOT); so I turned the gas down too late. And not enough. So I turned it down some more. And then I was late again to turn down the gas when I tried to anticipate first crack. And then the coffee stalled. I swear, I could hear the coffee laughing at me. All jokes aside, it wasn’t a terrible roast; my roast stages lined up pretty close to where I wanted them to be, and the other stats (time, development, etc) were normal, it was just the funky heat application that had me frustrated. Fortunately for me, I get to have a second go at it!

I took a deep breath before starting the second roast, and actually stuck to the plan this time, and what do you know, everything went super smoothly! I stepped off the gas about halfway into the second stage of the roast, and then again about 30 seconds before first crack. Despite my wonky first roast, both coffees tasted spectacular on the cupping table. The first roast was a little more muted – probably the result of the heat application late in the roast – but incredibly sweet with notes of concord grape, brown sugar, plum, toffee, and vanilla. The second roast was bright, juicy, complex, and delicious! We tasted star fruit, white grape, cranberry, lime, caramel, dates, and cocoa, with a delicate floral finish. This coffee is lots of fun to roast and has a wide range of flavor packed inside, so this should be a winner regardless of whether you want it to be rich and sweet or light, juicy, and floral!

One of the best parts of working on roast analysis for Crown Jewels is that I never really know what’s going to pop up in the queue next, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that CJ1315 is a natural coffee from Honduras with a shockingly large screen size. To help come up with a plan, I re-read Candice’s analysis of CJ1313, a honey-processed Pacamara from El Salvador, in hopes that this coffee might behave similarly.

My main takeaway from Candice’s analysis was that I would want to make my adjustments earlier than usual, as this large, dense coffee might need a little more time to react. No problem, right? Wrong. About halfway through my first roast, I guess I thought I knew more than Candice (I definitely do NOT); so I turned the gas down too late. And not enough. So I turned it down some more. And then I was late again to turn down the gas when I tried to anticipate first crack. And then the coffee stalled. I swear, I could hear the coffee laughing at me. All jokes aside, it wasn’t a terrible roast; my roast stages lined up pretty close to where I wanted them to be, and the other stats (time, development, etc) were normal, it was just the funky heat application that had me frustrated. Fortunately for me, I get to have a second go at it!

I took a deep breath before starting the second roast, and actually stuck to the plan this time, and what do you know, everything went super smoothly! I stepped off the gas about halfway into the second stage of the roast, and then again about 30 seconds before first crack. Despite my wonky first roast, both coffees tasted spectacular on the cupping table. The first roast was a little more muted – probably the result of the heat application late in the roast – but incredibly sweet with notes of concord grape, brown sugar, plum, toffee, and vanilla. The second roast was bright, juicy, complex, and delicious! We tasted star fruit, white grape, cranberry, lime, caramel, dates, and cocoa, with a delicate floral finish. This coffee is lots of fun to roast and has a wide range of flavor packed inside, so this should be a winner regardless of whether you want it to be rich and sweet or light, juicy, and floral!

quest m3s

Quest M3s Analysis by Evan Gilman

Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Quest roasts. Generally, I’ll allow the machine to warm up for 15 minutes until my environmental temperature reading is at least 250F, weigh out 150g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature. Read my initial post here and my updated post here.

I am always wary of roasting natural coffees, and tend to hold back a bit on heat application. This coffee in particular warrants extra caution! This coffee soaks up heat almost unlike any other I’ve had in the Quest. Fortunately for all of us, despite my very fast roast this coffee ended up tasting very nice on the cupping table; clearly this is a very special coffee ripe for use as a single origin drip offering.

The roast experience was extra fun this week, because I was joined by our newest barista hire, Nate, as well as James, and a Crown Jewel fan who will remain nameless since I didn’t get a release form from him (sensible chuckle). We all packed into the roast lab, and hovered around the Quest while these wild roasts went down.

My charge temperature for this coffee was a middling 390F, though I might suggest lowering your charge temperature a bit for your roasts if you’re using the Quest M3s. This coffee took up a lot of heat, and had one of the lowest turning point temperatures I’ve seen (210F) despite a very average environmental temperature. The result of this behavior is that the coffee really started gaining momentum as soon as we reached Maillard stage. Fully 50% of this roast was spent in drying stage, and only 31% in Maillard! I even cut heat entirely at the 5:00 minute mark, to no avail. Drats! Be very mindful of your heat application with this coffee.

All that being said, my roast loss was at a reasonable 12.4%, I achieved 18% post-crack development time, and my drop temperature was at about 406F. All fairly reasonable. These stats may be what saved this coffee, which showed some very nice apricot, dark chocolate, and lime notes on the cupping table. The acidity of this coffee wasn’t cooked out at all – plenty of bright and tart characteristics were maintained. I just would have liked to see more of the full berry and floral notes we saw in other roasts!

This coffee is a very forgiving one, despite its idiosyncrasies. I think I’ll have a cup later today…

brew

Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor

Working on brew analysis for coffees that I also roasted is always a joy, and this juicy natural Honduras was no exception! I had pretty high expectations for this coffee after our cupping, and it certainly did not disappoint.

No new gadgets or gizmos to test out this week, so I prepared a 1:17ish brew on the Phoenix c70 and a 1:15 brew on the Origami dripper (with a Kalita filter). To mix things up a little, I used the Melodrip, a fun tool that acts as a dispersion screen of sorts for your pourover. I also cranked the grind a little finer than I usually care to for the 1:15 brew, just to see if I could push this coffee a little. My first brew clocked in at 1.44TDS and 21.14% extraction, and the second came in at 1.78TDS (yowza!) and 23.22% extraction! Time to taste…

The first brew turned out super floral, which honestly, we weren’t expecting! Violet, jasmine, melon, apple, and brown sugar were the highlights in this cup, with a nice clean finish. The second brew was significantly more intense (hello, 1.78TDS), but still juicy and sweet, and not unpleasantly strong. I usually don’t care for coffees on the stronger end of the spectrum, but I think I actually preferred the second of these two brews. Juicy blackberry kicked things off, with a smooth vanilla note taking over in the middle, and a gentle, but lingering finish. Just, wow! I’m excited to keep playing with this coffee, and I’ll probably brew up the leftovers at home this weekend!

Origin Information

Grower
Conversion Hernández
Variety
Bourbon, Catuai, and Caturra
Region
Santa Cruz, Lempira, Honduras
Harvest
January - March
Altitude
1500 meters
Soil
Clay minerals
Process
Full natural and dried on elevated tables
Certifications

Background Details

Beneficio Santa Rosa is the powerhouse of western Honduras, boasting one of the most state-of-the-art dry mill operations in all of Central America. It starts with location. Santa Rosa de Copan has mild weather conditions, which makes for an ideal warehouse location for resting parchment and preparing coffee for export. Copan is the second largest growing region in Honduras, which means Beneficio Santa Rosa is well situated to receive coffee from many excellent sources. Most importantly, Beneficio Santa Rosa has a fully staffed cupping lab equipped to cup through thousands of samples and identify the potential for every coffee that is received. So it should be no surprise that Beneficio Santa Rosa has delivered an exceptional number of “Top Tier” micro-lots for Royal this season. Conversion Hernández cultivated and harvested this micro-lot on his 3.5-acre farm called San Luis. This farm is located in Santa Cruz a municipality within the Department of Lempira, Honduras. Conversion has been farming coffee for the last seven years. In addition to coffee he cultivates plantains, oranges and avocado trees. Ripe cherries for this natural processed coffee were carefully hand sorted and then floated to remove less dense beans. The cherry was then placed on raised beds in thin layers and moved regularly for a period of 22 days.