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Intro by Chris Kornman
This second entry into the winter season Ecuador Crown Jewel menu comes from the other side of the country, in Loja Province far to the south – not so far from the Peruvian border. Its zesty citrusy acidity is balanced by a complement of vanilla, chamomile, pineapple, and peach, and rounded off by a honey and nougat-like sweetness.
Farmers Jose Fransico Jimenez and his wife Berta Chamba run two small farms called El Guayacan and Las Aguacoras, 5-hectares each, in the Potrerillos Barrio of Gonzanamá in Loja. In 2017 they took 2nd place in Ecuador’s Taza Dorada national quality competition. They are also working with their neighbors, helping them manage irrigation projects and creating housing developments for the under-sheltered in the region.
Their process for harvest is as precise as its results are delicious. Hand-picked cherries, by the family a few seasonal employees, are delivered to the wet mill where they are first floated for density before pulping and then fermenting for roughly 18-20 hours. Afterwards, a fresh water wash removes the remaining mucilage and the wet parchment is taken to dry in a system of raised beds under shaded canopies.
We’re thrilled to share this gem of southern Ecuador with the world, available exclusively as Crown Jewels in a limited supply.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Uncommonly high density, a hallmark of great Ecuadorian coffees, is present here, accompanied by perfect moisture figures and a fairly average looking screen size, with about 40% at the 16 screen This should prove a consistent coffee in the roaster, perhaps needing a little extra heat during early stages to penetrate the dry, dense seed. It will undoubtedly keep its quality for some time on the shelf as green as well.
Cultivars in play here include an Improved Typica, classic Red Bourbon, and a Yellow iteration of the hybrid Catucaí.
Typica was the world’s first commercial arabica variety grown outside of Ethiopia and Yemen, and sports elongated leaves and seeds. While I don’t know the exact nature of the improvement, most often this designation indicates the trees were bred and then subsequent generations selected and perhaps backcrossed for desirable traits such as higher yields or quality, for example.
Red Bourbon made its first appearance after French traders lifted it from Yemen and grew it on Reunion Island. It became a popular variety in the Americas as its introduction was higher yielding than the originally introduced Typica from Java.
Catucaí is a hybrid in the style of a Catimor. It crosses the Catuaí hybrid (Mundo Novo, itself a spontaneous Typica x Bourbon tree, and Caturra, a dwarf Bourbon mutation) with Icatu. Icatu is the Brazilian Instituto Agronômico de Campinas’ version of the Timor Hybrid: its parents are a robusta tree and a Red Bourbon. Its high yields and disease resistance are among its core benefits.
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.
These super-dense Ecuador coffees are a wild ride for the roaster. I made a few adjustments to my standard sample roast profile to facilitate a longer drying phase and a more rapid heat delta during Maillard. Note: this profile does NOT produce great results for most coffees, or even most high density coffees for that matter, but we were pretty impressed by how well CJ1333 turned out. Loja coffees are unique and definitely worth keeping an eye on when roasting. Check Candice & Evan’s notes for more specifics on how this coffee handles heat transfer.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown LowMC High g/L SR 1.0
Roast Analysis by Candice Madison
I was happy and I must say a little nervous, but very excited, when this offering from Jose Francisco Jimenez and Berta Chamba dropped into our laps. Never having roasted an Ecuadorian coffee before, the thought of doing so gave me pause, but in a good way! Sometimes roasting coffee can feel a little rote, and although I don’t get a chance to rest on my laurels here at Royal, I have been roasting origins that I am familiar with, and even encountered coffees that I have met in previous lives.
Looking at the green metrics supplied by Chris, I was struck by the seemingly disparate delta of the density and moisture content. This indicated to me that the density of the bean came from sugars, carbohydrates and other molecules, rather than extra water content. I decided to stick with my usual roast plan, including charge temperature and weight, even though I realized that this might in fact cause the coffee to stall out, should it need more energy than I was initially putting into the drum.
Dropping the coffee in at 360F, I had no idea of the wild ride I was about to be taken on! I started on a low heat setting (2 on the dial) and decided to raise it slightly (2.5 on the dial) 30 seconds after the turning point. All seemed perfectly normal, even having to raise the gas again 30 seconds before the Maillard stage began. However, the coffee either wanted to stall or race depending on the very slight adjustments being made. I found that, in order to keep a steadily declining RoR/RoC, I had to make adjustments between 2.5 and 3 on the dial, more than once before first crack at 392F.
The coffee itself roasted steadily through all of the changes, but I felt as though I was dancing alongside it. After coloring, I had turned the gas down but found that the moisture released at first crack was significant enough to warrant me turning the gas up a little – next time I would choose to do so just before first crack, as I had to come off the gas again before dropping the coffee at 401F.
This roast gave me a good idea of what to expect should I be roasting this coffee again. It needs a little more heat than usual going into the drum, a steady hand through the Maillard stage, and stepping down off of the gas before first crack, finished with a little bump up on the gas dial to get you through to the end of your roast.
Expect a crisp, chocolatey cup with notes of milk chocolate, white grape, chardonnay, cotton candy and the sweetness of honey and graham cracker. I predict a stellar espresso or sweet late morning batch brew in your future.
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 delicious coffee was a tricky one to roast! This is only my second time roasting an Ecuador coffee, so I’m still not entirely sure what to expect – but the coffee tastes good, so I’m certainly not complaining about any quirkiness in the roast!
I charged this coffee at a middling temperature for the Quest, 384.7F. As usual, I maxed out heat application and airflow until turning point, where I reduced heat application to 9.5A and airflow to 0. I observed a fairly quick rate of rise through the drying phase, and returned airflow to maximum at 2:16 / 265F. The coffee kept cooking, or so I thought – so I reduced heat application to 7.5A at 2:30 / 280F. This coffee cracked fairly early at 5:36 / 382F, leading me to reduce heat application to 0A at 5:58 / 386F. Much to my chagrin, the rate of rise on this roast really fell off immediately afterwards. Even though I spent 1:24 in PCD (20% post crack development!), I only achieved 9.6% roast loss. I was a bit disappointed at this, but if you read Candice’s notes above, you’ll know you’re in for a ride with this coffee.
The potential here is obvious, though. This is an excellent coffee, and the proof is in the pudding.
While we did get lots of sweet honey and apricot notes on the cupping table, some of these came from a place of (in my humble opinion) underdevelopment. Judgement aside, people enjoyed the tropical fruit notes they got (jackfruit, pineapple) despite a slightly bitter breadiness. With more heat application towards the end of roast to see this coffee through post crack development, some clean and clear sugars should express themselves. This coffee is a clear standout as a single origin drip offering; give it a shot, and make sure to give it a little extra push towards the end!
Brew Analysis by Alex Taylor
For all the fuss we were making about how tricky this coffee could be to roast, it was delightfully easy to brew a delicious cup! Anticipating a little more difficulty from this coffee, I didn’t stray too far from home with my brew methods, and brewed my first cup on the v60 and the second on the Kalita.
I found both brews to be quite delicious, and, although they were quite similar on paper, there were some subtle differences between the two cups. The v60 brew was super bright and crisp with notes of lemon zest, bing cherry, and vanilla up front, with a brown sugar and dark chocolate backbone. The balance in this cup was superb: bright citrus up front, fading into chocolatey sweetness that lasts forever and leaves you wanting more! The second cup was also delicious but tasted a bit richer. We found notes of blood orange (possibly even candied blood orange) instead of the first cup’s lemon zest, and the smooth brown sugar and dark chocolate of the first cup presented more as molasses, cocoa powder and maple syrup in the second brew. Both cups were delicious, and certainly have plenty to offer to anyone looking for a complex, balanced, and clean Ecuador!