Intro by Mayra Orellana-Powell & Chris Kornman
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to roast coffee grown by a doctor. However, with this coffee, from farmer Dr. Carlos Roberto Serrano Roa and his farm, Finca Severa, you can do just that.
Coffee from Finca Severa has been a staple in the Royal menu for years and we’ve Crown Jeweled it almost every season since we started the program. I swear, though, it gets better every time and this current crop is, in my opinion, one of the best Guatemalan coffees I’ve ever tasted. Hints of floral aromatics in the ground coffee, once the water hits and the crust is broken the flavor is a burst of fruit flavors. Apple cider, red grape, yellow plum, starfruit, peach, cranberry, melon… it’s just a cornucopia of fresh, juicy deliciousness.
Sourced from a family-owned estate located within the municipality of Santa Cruz Barillas, in the department of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, Finca Severa was established by Dr. Carlos Roberto Serrano Roa in 1969 and named after his mother Severa. Over the past few decades, Dr. Serrano and his family have developed 111 of the 135 acre estate for coffee cultivation and preserved the remaining portion with natural forest and a pristine water source that is used for processing coffee.
Finca Severa has its own mill where cherry selection, depulping, fermentation, and drying are meticulously executed. Wastewater is treated before it is returned to the environment and coffee pulp is converted into organic fertilizer and returned to the coffee plants. Great care is taken to provide housing, healthcare, education, and social activities to those who work at the estate because the remoteness of the Finca Severa makes these essential amenities an important part of ensuring a dignified quality of life at the estate.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Solid specs here, physically speaking. Average sized EP style prep (16+) is paired with pretty moderate moisture figures and a slightly lower-than-expected density. Keep an eye on the roast notes for this one, you might treat it a little gentler than your typical washed Central.
Dr. Serrano has a nicely diversified menu of cultivars in his farm, including the well regarded dwarf Bourbon mutation Caturra which evolved in Brazil, and its less frequently seen Guatemalan counterpart Pache, first reported in 1949. There are also two introgressed hybrids in the mix, protection from the ever-present risk of rust and other afflictions traditional arabica varieties are prone to. Here, we have Sarchimor (the dwarf Costa Rican Villa Sarchi mutation crossed with the Timor Hybrid) and Anacafe 14, named for the coffee agronomy research and support organization in Guatemala.
Anacafe 14 belongs to the Catimor (Caturra x Timor Hybrid) group, but was then crossed with Pacamara (a hybrid of dwarf Pacas with giant Maragogipe); purportedly the inspiration for the cultivar came from a spontaneous occurrence. In either case, the result of this cross is a varied generation, from which selections were made for the best plants, and then non-uniform seeds bulked and distributed. The result is a genetically complex field of trees, capable of better resistance to disease but with a higher percentage of Arabica than traditional Catimor cultivars.
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.
Our Central American Crown Jewel lineup is notably light on fully washed options this year. We’re seeing a lot of fancy microlots, from honeys and naturals to anaerobics and carbonics. Yet here we have an absolutely pristine example of a prime washed coffee from Dr. Serrano in Huehuetenango.
As expected based on the lower density, it’s the longer roasts here that perform best. The short roast in red was a little nutty, but had a strong apple-y presence despite a little underdevelopment.
The Maillard +30 (blue) profile offered a highly complex cup right out of the gates. melon, marmalade, star fruit and yellow plum, honeysuckle, spiced apple cider, and cranberry all found a moment to shine throughout the cupping. If pressed, this would be my profile of choice. It also happens to be the highest score I’ve dropped for a Central all year.
The longer, lower airflow profile (yellow) also brought out a lot of very clean and delicious flavors. A bit more subtle, its virtues include a solid chocolaty backbone and some hints of jasmine layered on a syrupy, velvety body. More of a chugger than a slurper, this one.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown 7m SR Low AF
Roast Analysis by Candice Madison
Wahey, we’re off to Huehue! I may have come to coffee through my experience with East African offerings, but I could swim all day in a pool of Guatemalan coffee. My first trip to Guatemala, a few years back was, as all origin travel is, for me at least, eye-popping and involved a lot of mountain walking, pick-up trucks, and VERY bumpy roads! All in all, it was magical. What I remember most,other than the people, the places, the food, the hospitality, the biodiversity, the landscape, and the wide open skies is the coffee! To drink coffee from an origin you love whilst there is something I wish upon every coffee lover.
This Huehuetenango offering from Finca Severa grown by Dr. Carlos Roberto Serrano Roa, is a jewel of careful cultivation, precise sorting, and immaculate processing. This relatively dense coffee has a low moisture reading and a fairly even screen size of 16 and above. Because of these specs, even though the batch was less than my usual batch size, at 300g, I chose to only lower the charge temperature by 5 degrees F. Washed coffees tend to be more resistant to taking on heat during the early minutes of the roast, so I knew I would have to take that into account. I also wanted to keep this roast fairly even across both the drying stage and the coloring stage in order to achieve a balanced cup, but one that would play to the origin strengths. Fruit and floral notes buoyed by sweetness all floated across the palate with a lingering, smooth body.
Keeping the gas at 2 before the turning point, I then turned it up to 3, keeping it there until just before first crack. Being aware that the coffee might take off during first crack, I turned the gas down to 2.5 at 384F. First crack began to roll at around 393F, at which point I came off the gas completely and, deciding to take the coffee a little deeper into post-crack development than I usually do for analysis roasts, I dropped the coffee at 404F, with a healthy 18% post-crack development.
That extra few moments in the drum delivered a bounteous cup of bakers cocoa, blackcurrant and purple grapes, highlighted by floral notes. The complex sweetness of raisin and ripe banana was matched with clear articulations of plum skin and Meyer lemon acidity held together by a smooth, viscous body. What more could you ask for from your morning cup?
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
This coffee smells fantastic right off the bat. Even though I got this coffee alongside a fragrant Ethiopian selection, its sweet green smell came through loud and clear. I haven’t had a lot of Guatemalan coffee this year, but I know that I really appreciate the heavy sweetness in these coffees, and the sometimes ephemeral top notes, especially from some Huehuetenango coffees. While I haven’t been there myself, I’ve been to nearby Bella Vista, Chiapas – just 100 miles Southwest, on the other side of the border. The area is lush and mountainous, and when there’s no work to be had in Guatemala, folks head over to Mexico since their families have been defying arbitrary and porous political demarcations for generations (more power to them). All that aside, the coffee from this area of the world is resolutely delicious thanks to these folks.
I approached this coffee with sugar development in mind. My sweet tooth rules all. With my usual manual roasting, 100% (P5) power, high drum speed, and 225g of coffee, I was ready to go. I kept P5 on until 9:15, then introduced lower power of 75% (P4) for one minute in order to really drag this coffee through Maillard. Back to P5 at 10:15, I waited until first crack to lower heat to P4 again. First crack occurred at 11:25, at which point I also opened the door of the roaster a bit to allow smoke and heat to escape. After 1:10 of post crack development, I hit ‘COOL’ and finished the roast, leaving the door wide open for the coffee to cool faster.
This roast had a fair bit of chaff, so make sure to clean thoroughly afterwards, no matter what roaster you’re using. Surprisingly, this didn’t equate to more smoke as far as I could tell. The smells coming out of the roaster were pure chocolate, honey, and vanilla. Very aromatic, and made me reach for a double chocolate cookie my partner had baked up the previous evening.
Just from the smell, I knew this coffee would be delicious!
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
My first brew of this lovely coffee started with a mistake, though perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. I generally start with grind 22 on the Baratza Virtuoso, but I started with 24 in this case as I had recently adjusted a bit coarser for another coffee. As I say, this may have been a blessing, since the first cup (otherwise brewed at my usual parameters – 1:16 ratio, 150g pulse pours, and 200F water) has the bitter aftertaste I associate with coffees ground a bit too fine. There was a curious pecan and vanilla side to it that I knew could be opened up a bit, however. And when this cup was hot, I got an incredible rose floral that just dissipated on cooling.
I wanted to open up that pecan, and get the rose florality to blossom a bit longer in the cup, so I decided to fall back on one of my favorite techniques lately: bypass. I made my original brew a bit stronger (540g final brew water), and used agitation to pull as much as I could from the coffee before adding my 100g bypass water. With the grind the same, I wasn’t surprised that I got a more pleasant cup with this methodology. Clean pecan, a touch of grape and melon, and a resolutely clean finish made this brew superior in all ways but one – it lost the floral rose note! Even curiouser, I hit the exact same TDS and extraction percentage after adding my bypass water. This coffee is consistent.
My last gasp to get a more thorough extraction was to try a full immersion method. AeroPress never fails, and I tend to count it more as full immersion than filtered coffee – the filter doesn’t really block all those solids. I used grind 18 on the Baratza Virtuoso, and went for the same 1:16 ratio using the inverted method. I even used the same parameters for preinfusion, and plenty of agitation as well. At 1:30 I flipped the AeroPress to press through the coffee into my cup, and finished the push at 3:00.
This did the trick, and I never poo-pooh the AeroPress after seeing the stats of the brew it produces and (of course) the flavorful cups that it provides. This cup, besides being my third cup of the day, was exactly what I needed. Bright and juicy limeade acidity, bourbon and pear sweetness, and that rose note! It’s a shame the serving size was so small.. But now we can replicate the flavor and quaff with confidence.
Try a full immersion technique for this coffee. I’d definitely suggest espresso if that’s your thing, and a siphon pot of this coffee would be lovely. It’s a solid coffee, so don’t be afraid of a little solids in your coffee!