Intro by Chris Kornman
Nilson Luis López Diaz was born into a coffee growing family in 1978 to Maria Etelvina Diaz de Lopez and Humberto Luis Loaiza. His father Humberto passed away in 2003, and in his early twenties Nilson found himself managing the health of the trees on his mother’s farm called El Bado in the village of El Bermejal near Buesaco, Nariño. El Bado was recognized in 2012 with first place finish in the Southern Colombia Cup of Excellence. Nilson López began to work his own land, inherited from his family about 10 years ago, on a plot called San Antonio.
Nariño is Colombia’s southwestern-most coffee growing state, bordering Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean. Nariño boasts about 40,000 coffee farms, two-thirds of which average just 3 acres in size. Nariño’s proximity to the equator delivers intense exposure to the sun (relatively constant and powerful year-round), which influences the cherry maturation rate. In Buesaco, warm air rises from the deep canyons at night and acts like a protective blanket for the coffee plants perched at high elevations (up to 2300 masl) on the mountain tops. These combined attributes cause coffee plants to passively absorb the sun’s energy during the day and then come alive at night when the conditions are less harsh. This translates into concentrated flowering and long cherry maturation periods.
The coffee strikes a nice balance in the cup and present roasters with some interesting options for flavor development. It’s cocoa-like flavors provide a solid structure and baseline, with supporting flavors ranging from green apple, golden raisin, blackberry, to a strong presence of lemon zest, black tea, chrysanthemum, and nutmeg, and a lasting sweetness characterized by brown sugar and carob.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Coffee from Nariño tends to be some of the densest in Colombia. High elevations and particular weather conditions sometimes stunt the size of cherries (we seem to see less Supremo grade from this department), but the sensory and physical quality is otherwise unmatched.
This selection from Nilson López exhibits many common, high-quality characteristics of the region. Very high density is paired with medium sized beans, and the coffee has been nicely dried with good water activity figures.
The cultivars grown here on San Antonio are representative of the majority of coffee grown in Colombia. Caturra is a vastly popular dwarf Bourbon mutation with wide distribution across the Americas. Colombia was one of Cenicafé’s early disease-resistant cultivars, released in 1982. It is an F5 composite selection of Catimor (Caturra x Timor Hybrid). Castillo, introduced in 2005, has both F5 and F6 generations with 16 regional iterations as well as a “general” profile, intended to provide a more comprehensive resistance to devastating blights like Roya.
Castillo caused a stir with specialty coffee roasters, as its hybrid nature was subject to quality bias. After winning numerous regional and national quality competitions, and being subject to an intensive Colombia Sensory Trial, I think it can be decisively concluded that under the right conditions, including attention to cherry ripeness and fermentation style, Castillo’s quality potential is comparable to other “legacy” Arabica varieties like Bourbon and Caturra.
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.
After attempting to replicate the results of CJ1320 Colombia Totoró using a 7.5 minute sample roast across a number of iterations with unfavorable results, I fell back on a 6 minute profile that I originally whipped up for some natural Ethiopias, but has been my go-to profile for most high density coffees lately.
This roast was largely characterized by its green apple and cocoa like flavors. Cuppers noted that it favored acidity over body (pretty standard Kornman roasting style) and had some nice stone fruit accents but generally lacked the citrus notes other roasting styles were able to bring out. A slightly dry finish drew mixed reactions.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown 6m NatEth ck1.4
Roast Analysis by Candice Madison
Four Colombian coffees walked through our door this week and we were delighted to greet them. The first of these is this offering from Nilson López, a familiar coffee for the others, a new one for me, but here I am, already looking forward to next year’s harvest!
As with the other three we are looking at this week, this coffee from Nariño is dense. Looking at the moisture numbers, I can tell this density is sugar-biased, but the bean size spread aggregates around the median so I chose to be careful with my heat application for this reason.
I started off on the lowest gas application I use on the Probatino – 2, and only raised the gas to 3 at 273F, a little more than halfway between the turning point and the Maillard stage of the roast. I wanted to be sure to spend as much time as possible in the middle part of the roast, where the alchemy really takes hold. In order to ensure that that work had not been done in vain, I stepped off of the gas a notch (to 2.5) at 370, and then reduced to a minimum before first crack (raising the gas back up to 2.5, once first crack had commenced).
The dropping of the gas before First Crack and raising after not only allowed me to extend post-crack development of all of the delicious sugar notes, but also aided in combating the moisture loss I deduced would occur, and prevent the coffee from stalling. I finished the roast at 401F in just under 7 minutes.
The long Maillard stage and gentle post-crack development was evident on the cupping table with notes of sweet brown sugars (panela, dark brown sugar, and light brown sugar), golden raisin, and vanilla. We also found fruit in the form of tangerine, lemon, apple, mandarin, peach and tropical fruit. The body was silky, like drinking milk chocolate. A delicious, bountiful start to any morning. Personally, I’d pop it in the Chemex, give it my all and reap the rewards!
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 brought us four very dense coffees from Colombia. This one stood out to me, since it is a return Crown Jewel from yesteryear. I enjoyed this coffee on the selection table, and was happy to see a familiar name once it was revealed!
Since this coffee was so dense, I decided to hit it with a lot of heat right from the get go. Keeping my heat application at 9.5A, I charged 125g of this coffee at 389F – slightly high for the Quest, but not outside of the usual. The difference in my approach this week is that I waited to introduce airflow until about 290F, where I usually begin increasing fan speed around Turning Point.
This coffee took on heat well – perhaps a little too well – and I ended up bringing airflow to full at 5:45 / 368F, just a touch too late to keep this coffee from racing after first crack. First Crack occurred at 6:26 / 385F, and I cut heat application entirely at 7:10 / 398F. The rate of rise definitely dropped a bit, but the coffee kept chugging along. I decided to drop the coffee at 7:57 / 408.7F, which is a little bit hotter than I prefer. Make sure to temper your temperature with this coffee – I think that more time in Maillard would have yielded an even sweeter cup.
On the cupping table, this coffee didn’t have any trouble holding its own. Tons of deep sweetness came through, with nectarine and pecan top notes. Carob, nectarine, and nutmeg made appearances in the cupping notes, and Sr López’s coffee proved itself as chuggable once again. We’re glad it’s back!
Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor
What a way to start off the new year! Four new Crown Jewels in our first week back at it, and all of them delicious coffees from Colombia. Rather than working on completely different brews and methods for each of these four coffees, I decided to pick two brew recipes and follow them for all four CJs, hopefully allowing more of the nuance between these coffees to shine through for you. You can find the analysis for this week’s other additions on their respective pages, CJ1324, CJ1325, and CJ1326. But for now, back to this selection from Nilson López.
I wanted to give the coffee the opportunity to show its different sides, so I planned for one brew via a pourover (a v60 in this case), and another on the Aeropress. It’s been a minute since I last brewed on an Aeropress, but my warm-up brews were encouraging, so I stuck with it. I’m hoping to include more brews on the Aeropress and other immersion or hybrid brewers this year, for diversity’s sake. I could brew and write about conical pour-over brews until I’m blue in the face, but Crown Jewel analysis isn’t for me, it’s for you! Anyway…
With four coffees lined up for analysis, I was ready to hustle and crank through the process as quickly as I could. But as soon as I stopped to taste my first brew of this, the first of four new coffees from Colombia, I knew it was time to stop and smell (or drink, in this case) the roses. With my first sip of the v60 brew, I was blasted with bright, juicy clementine notes, my #3 favorite citrus! As the clementine swirled and faded, I found further notes of light honey, cherry, vanilla, and milk chocolate, and a crisp, clean finish. I was very pleased with my Aeropress brew of this coffee as well; the team tasted orange, lemon, and peach up front, a heavier honey note in the middle, and loads of butterscotch and chocolate with an incredibly round, creamy body. It’s also worth noting that following a fairly standard 1:15 recipe for the v60 brew yielded a whopping 1.75 TDS, even with a total brew time well under 4:00, yielding an extraction of 24.15% (all very high numbers). This means you might be able to down-dose notably, and still get a brew with your preferred strength, thereby extending the time in which you can enjoy this wonderful coffee!