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intro

Intro by Chris Kornman

About 20 miles east of Cauca’s capital city of Popayán, indigenous coffee farmers in small communities harvested this delightful coffee in the district of Totoró. We picked up this coffee for the first time last year, and are thrilled at its return for a second time, this year exclusively available in Crown Jewel 10kg boxes.

Last year during pre shipment sampling, at Royal’s California office, we fell in love with the name of the coffee well before we tasted it or learned about it. The wink at Miyazaki’s iconic Studio Ghibli animation was hard to resist.

But the coffee itself is also exceptional. Classic Cauca flavor notes act as an anchor: the coffee is deep like melted dark chocolate and fudge brownies, topped with brown sugar sweetness and a cola-like effervescence. And then there are the fruit notes: lots of raisin and dark cherry, juicy nectarine, bright passionfruit, soft mandarin orange. There’s lots to love about it.

Sourced for us by Banexport, this year’s lot from Totoró sees the return of two familiar farmers: Ciro Antonio Camayo Camayo, growing coffee on his farm Vista Hermosa, and Ramiro Antonio Vainas Zambrano’s whose farm is called La Laguna. They are joined by a few newcomers: Dominga Camayo Camayo’s Finca El Roblar, William Dario Camayo Campo’s Finca La Dorada, Hugo Hernan Vainas Zambrano’s Finca Los Naranjos, and Maria Cristina Becca Vainas’ Finca Alto Pesares.  The community has a “School & Coffee” program that provides training for new generations of farmers.

The farms all range from 2000 to 2050 masl, and average between one and eight hectares in size. The coffee is washed (they’re careful to choose darker red cherries from the Colombia cultivar trees for better ripeness) and pulped traditionally (including the use of a mesh to remove lower density “floaters”) on the afternoon it was picked. It is then fermented in sacks for 18-24 hours and triple washed before moving to parabolic drying tables for 10-15 days. This is followed by 15 days of local conditioning before it is moved into a more centrally located storage facility.

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

Marked by extremely high density, this is a great example of why people prize high-grown coffees. There simply isn’t a way to get such a stark concentration of coffee solids into beans grown at low elevations. Sorting out lower density coffee at the pulper, as has been done here, is another value-add, not to mention long drying times at relatively low temperatures helps preserve the character of the coffee with the added benefit of low moisture and water activity levels. The screen size could be described as 15+, falling closely in-line with Central American 15-18 European Prep designations.

The cultivars grown here, Castillo, and to a lesser extent, its predecessor Colombia, represent the FNC’s attempts to marry sensory quality with resilience and productivity. Both have a bit of an unfair reputation with some cuppers, whose romanticization of heirloom varieties like Bourbon and Caturra have clashed with research striving to improve sustainable coffee farming. Yet over and over at the cupping table sufficient evidence arises that the two can coexist under the right conditions. This exceptionally tasty Totoró coffee makes a strong case for the kinds of attention to detail in picking and processing that can result in high caliber specialty flavor paired with agronomically advantageous cultivars.

 

taste

ikawa

You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown 7.5 sample roast ck7

Ikawa Analysis by Chris Kornman

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, and were recalibrated in September 2019.

This coffee proved challenging in the Ikawa, at least at first. I’d set barista James Scott to working with a known profile and then roasting an experiment to cup, but for this coffee neither of those roasts ended up tasting particularly good (perhaps because the base profile I’d proved was intended for natural coffees, sorry James!).

The coffee presented an opportunity to continue dialing a profile I’ve been trying to get working for a few weeks now — one that replicates as closely as possible a drum sample roast. I went ahead and roasted a control on our Proaster perforated barrel sample roaster, and worked through five different iterations of the profile on Ikawa using this Totoró. Cuppers unanimously preferred the profile published below, and in a blind taste-off preferred it to the Proaster control sample, so it’s with a high degree of confidence I’m sharing this and ignoring the other trial roasts. I plan to continue testing this profile on other coffees to get a better sense of its application: I hope eventually to have a small core library of ‘default’ profiles — I suspect this roast, or one very similar, will be included.

The roast pairs a high charge temperature with a quick turnaround and sharp decrease in airflow approaching Maillard reactions. Once color change begins, the RoR drops and is paired with a gradual increase in airflow, just enough to abate smoke without pushing beans out of the chamber and into the chaff. First crack usually starts popping around 6:20, leaving roughly 70s for development, just over 15% of the total roast time. The slope of both temperature and fan speed remain increasing, but their rate dips to just a hair above stalling to keep the color of the roast fairly light.

This roast left me with impressions of cantaloupe, mandarin orange, and red plum, and had a very solid caramelly sweetness and medium body.

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.

This week, I did some comparative roasting on the Quest M3s. Our Probatino is currently undergoing maintenance, so the majority of roast comparisons came from yours truly! For three different coffees (CJ1319, CJ1321, and this lovely lot) I attempted similar heat application techniques. For my first roast of each coffee, I charged with a lower Environmental Temperature and a higher temperature as read at the Bean Temperature probe. For example, in my first roasts, I usually charged at around 260F ET and 400F BT.

For my second roast of each coffee, I started with a higher average ET and lower BT (about 275ET and 385BT at charge). The result, as you can see in the graphs below, is more time spent in Maillard for my first roasts, and more time spent in drying phase for my second roasts.

For the first roast of this coffee, I started airflow just after turning point. I kept the airflow set to ‘3’ on the dial until 5:17 / 360F, when I turned all the way to full while also lowering heat application. I turned off heat application entirely at 6:30 / 385F, just before first crack. Much like my first roast of CJ1319, this coffee drank in heat early and was able to continue developing after I removed heat application, and spent most of its time in Maillard phase.

The second roast also took an approach similar to CJ1319’s second roast, but I cut heat just a little bit later in the roast. I started my roast with the back open to completely stop airflow, closed the back just after turning point, then maxed out airflow at 4:00 / 320F. Instead of ramping down heat application, I cut heat application entirely a bit later at 5:40 / 370F. Like CJ1319 and CJ1321, this second roast spent more time in drying phase than in Maillard. Another pattern I saw in my second-roasts this week is that crack occurred at a slightly lower temperature. Does more time in drying phase lead to a lower crack temperature?

This delicious Colombian coffee was more divisive than any other roast this week, with a slight preference going to my first roast. Tropical fruit notes like pineapple and passion fruit appeared alongside yellow peach, nectarine, and lime. The first roast was decidedly fruit-forward, and perhaps even floral. The second roast displayed more sugar browning notes like vanilla, golden raisin, and brown sugar while retaining peach and nectarine fruitiness.

The jury is truly out on which roast style we’d rather drink – you should give it a go, and have a taste for yourself! For my own part, I’d recommend this coffee for filter drip. The clarity you’ll get from a light brew (maybe even 1:17 ratio) will please even the pickiest palate.

brew

Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor

Totoró is BACK! Last January when The Crown’s barista staff came aboard, this was one of the first coffees we tasted, and was also one of the first coffees to be featured on our menu, so I’ve got some fond memories of this coffee. I remembered loving this coffee brewed on a conical dripper last winter, so I pulled out some v60’s and cranked out two brews using the same brew recipe, but different roasts. The coffee brewed exactly as expected (thank you, high quality coffee and trusty v60). At around 1.55 TDS, these brews are a little stronger than I like to drink, but the 1:15 brew ratio has been tasting really great during brew analysis lately.

Both of these coffees were super sweet! We tasted vanilla ice cream, brown sugar, maple syrup, marshmallow, bourbon, pipe tobacco, and dark chocolate. Considering how sweet this coffee is, I was pleasantly surprised at how complex its acidity was as well. We found notes of peach, lime, cantaloupe, mandarin orange, crisp red apple, and kiwi! This coffee’s got a lot to offer! Don’t worry about whether it has what you need, go ahead and grab some, and you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for somewhere in the cup!

Origin Information

Grower
Ciro Antonio Camayo, Dominga Camayo, William Camayo, Maria Cristina Becca, Hugo Hernan Vainas, and Ramiro Antonio Vainas Region: Totoro, Cauca, Colombia
Variety
Castillo, Colombia
Region
Totoro, Cauca, Colombia
Harvest
June - August
Altitude
2000-2050 meters
Soil
Clay minerals
Process
Fully washed and dried inside solar dryers that provide protection from the rain
Certifications

Background Details

Coffee cultivation from small family owned farms is the backbone of production in Colombia. Banexport, a Colombian export company, works directly with many of these producers who have a shared commitment for exquisite coffee processing, and loving care for their farms and the environment. Banexport helps producers gain access to technical support regarding best practices for farm management, processing the harvest, and cupping feedback, which helps producers improve the quality of their coffee. The model of collaborative effort produces traceable community blends with vibrant regional profiles. This lot comes from 6 producers with small farms in the municipality of El Totoro within the department of Cauca. Each producer has their own micro-mill where they carefully harvest cherries, depulp, ferment, wash and gently dry the parchment on raised beds. While individual producers have designed farm management and post-harvest solutions to fit their needs, the strong alliance with Banexport provides crucial logistical support for things like warehousing and milling coffee for export to the international market, which provides better income for everyone to reinvest in their farms and strengthen their families’ livelihoods.