Intro by Chris Kornman & Sandra Loofbourow
It feels like a lifetime ago, but back in March, Edith and Ivan Meza travelled from Satipo to California and joined us at the Crown for a bit of tasting, training, and conversation. They joined us for a few of the last in-person classes we taught; Edith spoke about her experience with coffee processing in a fermentation class and they led one of our last public tastings with coffees from their 2019 harvest. We’d made many additional plans, all of which were shut down by shelter-in-place orders, and Edith and Ivan were forced to return home far earlier than expected.
Fortunately, they kept in touch and Edith even joined us for a webinar to discuss the situation on the ground in Peru as the coffee world watched and waited with uncertainty about harvest timelines and logistical complications.
After a very long summer, the fruits of Finca Tasta’s harvest have returned to our warehouse again. This honey process has been a perennial favorite for the Crown, and we’re thrilled to have it back on the menu.
Finca Tasta is located in Peru’s central forest and is run by siblings Edith and Ivan. The farm was their late mother’s project, and the two have since taken over operations. In the last handful of years they’ve refined their processing methods and expanded their operations, and hope to become a beacon of specialty coffee and sustainability.
Edith and her brother Ivan are leading by example, focusing on sustainability and independence by diversifying crops beyond just coffee to include food for themselves and their workers. They harvest three varieties of plantains, yucca, beans, corn, tomatoes, pine trees, sugarcane. This year they are planting raspberries, blackberries, and pumpkins.
They hope to inspire other farmers to move away from monoculture and back towards a model of truly sustainable agriculture. Their commitment to environmental protection is runs so deep that they leave nine of their twenty-three hectares of land completely wild to protect native animals like deer, monkeys, and native birds. They also include a deer and a tree in their logo as a symbol of their dedication to the creatures and ecosystems they are committed to protecting.
The obvious energy behind the project is palpable when speaking with Edith, as our own Mayra Orellana-Powell recently did in an interview (you can read that interview here). Her passion for continuing and improving the work of her mother and engaging with her community is clear. She’s an active member of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and has set up outreach events locally to engage residents in and around Challhuamayo with events like specialty coffee workshops.
Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This honey-processed coffee from Peru comes to us with well above average density, somewhat below average moisture content, and well below average water activity. Its screen size is very well sorted into a tight range of screen sizes, with the great majority of the coffee falling into screen size 16 through 18, and only small amounts falling outside that. This coffee’s very high density may cause it to resist heat, especially early in the roast, so consider using a higher charge temperature or increased energy early on. Its very low water activity means that its quality should last a long time in storage, especially under good conditions.
Caturra is a single-gene mutation of Bourbon. Its primary mutation characteristic is its short stature, which allows for denser planting and therefore easier picking and higher yield. It was first discovered in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil in the early 1900s, and from there spread to Guatemala in the 1940s and then the rest of Central America.
Ikawa Pro V3
Ikawa Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
As of September 2020 we are running all Crown Jewel Analysis roasts on an Ikawa Pro V3, using the most recent app and firmware version on “closed loop” setting.
I’ve been enjoying the recent Peruvian coffees which I’ve had the chance to taste recently, so I was really looking forward to playing around with this coffee from Finca Tasta. I’m happy to report that this coffee was delicious and juicy no matter what I did with it! I found this coffee to be easy to roast and easy to brew, with a strong citrus backbone that presented small variations as I put it through the paces.
The first roast I tried was our standard hot and fast roast, with a charge temperature of 315F and a total time of six minutes. This roast ended up cracking a little later than I expected and spent just over 10% of its time in post-crack development. However, the result in the cup was really delicious, with notes of plum, orange, and allspice, a brown sugar sweetness, and the sweet and complex flavor of dried fruit, like raisin and prune, and a heavy dark chocolate fudge finish.
The second roast extends Maillard phase a little bit. It has a lower charge temperature of 280F and a roast time of six minutes and thirty seconds. Like the first roast, this coffee ended up cracking pretty late, and spent only 8.3% of its time in development. In the cup, this coffee exhibited bright citrus notes of tangerine, mandarin orange, grape, plum, and Meyer lemon, with some sugar browning notes of caramel, brown sugar, and fruitcake, with a vanilla finish.
The last roast is a cooler and slower roast, with a charge temperature of 265 F and a total time of seven minutes. This roast cracked at a more expected point and spent 15% of its time in post-crack development. Again, the results were really delicious. It had an aroma of blood orange, and in the cup tasted like orange juice, red apple, and blueberry, with a powdered sugar and sour candy sweetness. This cup was a little less complex than the previous roasts, but I nevertheless found it really delicious. If you’re looking for a simple but bright and juicy cup, consider trying a roast like this one.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown 7m SR LowAF 2
Probatino Analysis by Candice Madison
Two coffees were up this week, one played naughty and one played nice, but both were delicious! This coffee from Finca Tasta was as lovely to roast as its producers, Edith and Ivan, and it also roasts a dream! About one hundred years ago, or earlier this year (but who’s counting!) Edith and Ivan came to visit us at The Crown, I can’t wait until we can fling the doors open and welcome Peru, Oakland and the rest of the world into our tasting room.
Finca Tasta is not new to us here at The Crown and is a perennial crowd-pleaser, so I was excited to try. However, honey processed coffees can be a little wild in the roaster, so I braced myself for theatrics ahead. With a high density, but low moisture level, however, indicated more solid matter than moisture to contend with and quite possibly, then, a less eventful roast. I could not have been more right!
Taking the density into account, I started the drop temperature 10 degrees higher than usual, at about 370F, with the gas at 2 on the dial. At the turning point, I pushed the coffee to 3 on the dial. My thought was to ride out the roast at 3; a high gas application to take on all of the sugars and other carbohydrates, etc., making up the high density of the coffee. I was half right; the coffee was an efficient roast and only need the push of that high heat for about 30 seconds. I ended up pulling the gas back to 2.5 on the dial well before marking the coloring stage. From there, that was it, there was nothing left for me to do but monitor the roast and wait for first crack.
I reduced the gas to 2 at first crack, but that is because I was aiming for a specific temperature/post-crack development ratio. If you were to take this coffee further past first crack, I would advise being cautious reducing the heat too quickly, it needs energy as the humidity the sugars release at first crack – it’s definitely a good idea to look at adjusting your airflow to allow more through the drum at this point.
As the coloring stage was longer than usual, I made sure the post-crack development had a slight bit more time added to it, to take advantage of the reactions from the Maillard stage of the roast. In the end my post-crack development ratio was around 16% at 400F.
Fruity and juicy in the cup, I got notes of orange, pear and Meyer lemon that rounded out the acidity of Macintosh apple. The cup was viscous, full of rich chocolate, with the bright sweetness of confectioner’s sugar and a soft, full velvety body. It may not be the most a coffee can be, but it is lovely, delicious and eminently quaffable.
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.
Seeing Edith and Ivan going on one of the last days The Crown was open is one of my last memories of pre-pandemic times. That they arrived safely in Peru, and their coffee arrived safely here in Oakland is a blessing in many ways. We hope they’ll get another chance to visit and meet you all once this is under control!
Anyhow, their coffee is great. Straight out of the bag as green, I got a spice-like fragrance that I don’t usually associate with Honey process coffees but was nevertheless quite pleasant. Ginger and lemongrass came to mind.
I started this 150g batch of coffee off in the Quest M3s at my standard charge temperature lately, 390F. With 7.5A heat application and fan on full at the start, this coffee dipped a bit lower than usual to 218F at its lowest point. Not the lowest I’ve ever seen, but notable since this coffee tended to be very resistant to heat application.
At turning point, I ramped up heat application to 10A, and turned the airflow off until 3:10 / 275F when I reintroduced airflow to 3 on the dial. I also dialed heat back to 7.5A as this coffee absorbed heat in the drum. At 4:35 / 325F, I reduced heat application further to 5A, and turned airflow up to its maximum setting as the coffee moved towards crack. As it turned out, it was a slow movement, but I spent a lovely 47% of the roast in Maillard as a result!
Dropping this coffee after 1:18 post-crack development time at a temperature of 392.5F (quite low, all things considered), resulted in a cup with heavy chocolate pudding sweetness, ripe pear notes, and a really heavy body. I almost convinced myself that my cup of filter drip was full immersion, this cup was so thick. Upon grinding, you’re going to get that spicy fragrance I noted from the green as well.
This coffee would make a ridiculously sweet espresso, but I’d really suggest drinking a cup of either filter drip after a slice of sweet potato pie. This is a desserty coffee in my estimation, full of all the sweetness you’d need to complement a good meal. Thanks, Edith and Ivan, and come back soon!
Brew Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
After getting the chance to cup this coffee’s Ikawa roasts, I knew I was in for a bright and juicy pour over, so I was excited to see what this coffee had to offer! I went for a simple pairing of the Hario v60 and the Fellow Stagg, two devices that I know both make a delicious cup, but often with different results. For both brews I used a dose of 20g and 300g of brew water.
The Hario v60 brewed through at 2:50, and produced notes of apple cider, mandarin orange, and peanut butter, with a creamy body and milk chocolate finish. I found this cup bright and sparkling, with a mandarin orange and grape acidity. Others tastes notes of white chocolate, apple pie, and doughnut, like a spice winter pastry.
The Fellow Stagg brewed through a little faster, at 2:22, which isn’t typically what I expect for the Stagg, but did push the extraction a little higher than the v60. In the cup, the Stagg produced notes of tangerine, sweet orange, cinnamon, and brown sugar, with a buttery body and a milk chocolate finish. Others noted flavors of peanut butter candy, cinnamon bun, cloves, and almonds. This was a slightly heavier cup, with some darker caramel flavors, and a little less of that sparkling acidity, but still with those signature citrus notes.
I’m happy to report both of these brews were really delicious! If you’re looking for something a little heavier, try a brew style like the Stagg, and for something a little brighter and cleaner, try a conical filter like the v60.