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overview

Overview

This is a traditional washed coffee from San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala, produced by Juan Carlos Chen on his farm Finca El Pilar.

The flavor profile is sweet, balanced, and easy to enjoy. We enjoyed its dark chocolate and caramel profile, which is accented by notes of lime, apple, and raisin.

Our roasters found the coffee to roast easily with minimal gas movement, and noted it reached coloring and first crack slightly early. We’d recommend a gentle approach during later stages as a result

When brewed, the coffee offered a dynamic range of sweetness and acidity, and was easy to manipulate to produce chuggable brews. The coffee is in service at The Crown as our light roast batch brew.

taste

Taste Analysis by Elise Becker

This Guatemala really delivers on chuggability. It has a chocolatey sweetness that makes it very easy to drink, and it sacrifices nothing in terms of acidity. We tasted plenty of crisp, tart apple as well as syrupy berry, pineapple, and sweet pastry crust. There’s plenty of citric acidity here, and a wide range of fruity notes to be explored here. It is possible to see pronounced flavor variations from minor tweaks in both roast and in brew, so this one is super fun to play with and should be pretty easy to tailor to specific needs. This one was very approachable as a brewed coffee and would likely be a standout espresso as well!

source

Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger

Finca El Pilar is a family farm located near the small but sprawling city of San Juan Sacatepéquez, in the northern mountains of the Guatemala Department, the country’s capitol region. Although not far from Guatemala City, the landscape here is remote and mountainous, with coffee farms averaging 400 meters higher in elevation than nearby Antigua, to the south. So, while typical harvest months on the whole are similar to elsewhere in central Guatemala, the peak of harvest, and by far the best qualities, usually occurs at the beginning of March. 

El Pilar is almost 280 hectares in its entirely, 190 of which remains preserved forest. 90 hectares are planted with coffee. For the past 5 years Juan Carlos Chen, Pilar’s owner, has been renovating the coffee operation and updating the farm’s technology to better manage both the coffee and the surrounding forest ecosystem, the latest of which involves satellite technology to diagnose soil composition for more precise fertilization—something that helps reduce overall inputs where not necessary, and also better minimize runoff and groundwater health.  

While the farm is not certified organic, organic methods are prioritized throughout. Organic certified inputs are used wherever possible, and all plant matter produced from pruning and processing contributes to organic manure for the coffee plants. 

El Pilar’s coffee is deliciously sweet and balanced, with papaya and sweet banana flavors, a layered mouthfeel and a fragrant, almost cinnamon-like nose that lingers well past the end of the sip.  

green

Green Analysis by Chris Kornman

This a very standard looking Guatemalan green coffee: by-the-books sizing at 16-18 for a classy European prep style, we’ve also got moderate density conjoined with slightly higher than average moisture figures. The beans shouldn’t cause many irregularities in the roaster. Keep the green stored in a cool, dry environment and it’ll last well into the winter.

Juan Carlos Chen is growing a few legacy arabica cultivars we see frequently in Central America. Bourbon, characterized by rounded leaves, fruits, and seeds, first evolved after selection from Yemen on the island of Reunion and became a globally dominant cultivar by the late 1800s. Caturra is a single-gene mutation resulting in dwarfism, and Catuai is a 100% arabica hybrid that also exhibits short stature, making the trees ideal for dense planting and high per-hectare yields.

diedrich ir-5

Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Chris Kornman

This was a fun and easy coffee to roast. Based on early sample roast and cupping profiles we made the decision to slot this coffee into our light roast batch brew at The Crown and I wanted to produce a profile with ample development for sweetness at a lighter color that didn’t overpower the average coffee drinker with too much acidity.

Using a fairly standard pour-over profile at a 5.5 lb charge (conveniently doses to create 4 equal roasts from a 22lb box, and sufficiently proximate to our standard 6 lb batch size), I loaded the coffee and started roasting with a high gas setting (about 70%) let the batch ride. I noticed at about 3 minutes in I’d forgotten to close up my airflow baffle early in the roast, and honestly I think I preferred the style for this type of coffee.

The coffee seemed to take on color a little early and I cut the legs out from under the roast at 6 minutes, which had the effect of dropping my rate of rise a bit even as I opened up the airflow fully at first crack. Checking the color visually, I dropped the coffee with a slightly longer development at a little over 90 seconds. The low temp kept the browning slow and I ended up with a 56 Colortrack (ground), solidly in the pocket for a crowd-pleasing moderately light roast. The coffee cupped with excellent balance and a clean caramelized sweetness matched by gentle acidity and flavors like fig, date, and apple.

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 200g batch size, and begin roasting when I’ve reached my desired charge temperature.  Read my initial post here and my updated post here.

Some coffees deserve to be singled out. This is a super balanced and quaffable coffee that is new to the Crown Jewel program, but with any luck will be a repeat guest on the menu. Like its cousin, the Bella Carmona (also recently released), this is an incredibly sweet and approachable coffee from about 12 miles Northeast, as the crow flies. Taking a look at the green specs before roasting, I noticed a slightly higher than normal moisture content and water activity, and I wanted to see what I could do to really bring out the acids in this coffee, because I knew the coffee would have an easy time of sugar development with the higher moisture content.

I started my roast with a higher charge temperature of 390F on the Quest M3s, with amperage and fan speed cranked fully open. I didn’t make too many adjustments, and this coffee moved through the roast cycle very easily. At 250F / 2:42 I increased fan speed to 3, and at 275F / 3:15 I lowered amperage to 7.5A. This coffee coasted along, gradually reducing in rate of rise without any trouble, and I increased fan speed to full at 300F / 3:58. In retrospect, I could have done this just a little bit sooner, but lowering amperage to 5A at crack got me a decent amount of time in post-crack development. This coffee actually progressed through Maillard faster than expected, and I’m guessing that this is not only because of the higher water activity, but also because of the very tight screen size distribution. Further, first crack happened very early, and at a lower temperature than I was expecting for such a dense coffee. Your mileage may vary, but I would suggest a delicate approach to Maillard, and ramping heat down starting around 260F if you’re using the Quest M3s or similar barrel roaster with electric heating coils.

Regardless, this coffee was absolutely phenomenal in the cup. Super ripe pineapple, pears covered in brown sugar, and a delicate grapefruit acidity that was completely lacking in astringency. Normally I tend to dislike grapefruit, but this had me recalling my best experiences with a citrus that can sometimes be far too bitter for my palate. This coffee would make a ridiculous espresso, and I’m certain that it will be an amazing light roasted offering on bar at The Crown!

ikawa

Ikawa Pro V3 Analysis by Nate Lumpkin

The roasts from our Ikawa V3 presented cups of wonderful complexity and sweetness, with lush tropical fruits and some hints of florality. We’re planning to offer this coffee at the Crown as our Light Roast Batch Brew, and I can’t wait to welcome it to the bar.

Our standard hot and fast profile took me entirely off-guard: right from the start it had a bright, complex quality to it, with notes of lime, rose, and dark chocolate, with a syrupy body and intense brown sugar sweetness. As it cooled, its flavors emptied a little bit, so I’d direct your attention to some of the other profiles below. I should note that this coffee cracked a little earlier than expected, so maybe that had an impact on the flavor profile.

Our extended Maillard profile produced an aroma of honey and lime on the break. In the cup, this coffee was extremely sweet but, counterintuitively, a little lighter than the previous profile: I tasted salted caramel, dark chocolate, and white sugar, as well as lemon tea, white tea leaves, and honey. Like the previous profile, this coffee cracked just a little early.

On the longer, cooler low air flow profile this coffee really shined. It had an aroma of rich chocolate ganache, and in the cup I tasted a range of berry notes, like strawberry jam, fresh blueberries, sliced papaya, white sugar, and a heavy dark chocolate finish. This cup was sweet, complex, and balanced, and was very well-behaved in the roaster, so I highly recommend a cooler profile 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 SRLowAF2    

brew

Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill

Hearing that this was a dynamic bean, I really wanted to play around with recipes to see how the flavor ranges and mouthfeel could change. I stuck with Saint Anthony Industries’ C70 brewer and played around a little bit with dosing and then a little bit with grind, and for this analysis, I want to focus in on two similar recipes with a small variation in grind that yielded fun contrasts in flavor and mouthfeel. The brews had very similar TDS readings, yet also had notable, pleasing variations in acidity.

The first brew caught our attention with its pronounced malic acid note, giving it a tartness with a creamy mouthfeel. We tasted granny smith and gala apples, as well as notes of quince. It was a juicy brew with a honey sweetness, and it also had notes of chocolate, wine, and dried fruits—especially dates and raisins. This brew was easy to drink!

Coarsening the grind up just a bit yielded a slightly lighter extraction with a juicy body and mellow, caramel sweetness. The acidity on this one lacked the mouthfeel of the previous brew, and had a bright lime note to it. This was a much more straightforward brew, perfect for those who enjoy a bright, clean cup. The pronounced variations from minor recipe changes—still yielded tasty brews—makes this a fun coffee to play with!

Origin Information

Grower
Juan Carlos Chen | Finca El Pilar
Variety
Bourbon, Catuai, and Caturra
Region
San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala Department, Guatemala
Harvest
January - March
Altitude
1950 masl
Soil
Volcanic loam
Process
Washed after pulping and fermenting, and dried in the sun
Certifications

Background Details

Finca El Pilar is a family farm located near the small but sprawling city of San Juan Sacatepéquez, in the northern mountains of the Guatemala Department, the country’s capitol region. Although not far from Guatemala City, the landscape here is remote and mountainous, with coffee farms averaging 400 meters higher in elevation than nearby Antigua, to the south. So, while typical harvest months on the whole are similar to elsewhere in central Guatemala, the peak of harvest, and by far the best qualities, usually occurs at the beginning of March.  El Pilar is almost 280 hectares in its entirely, 190 of which remains preserved forest. 90 hectares are planted with coffee. For the past 5 years Juan Carlos Chen, Pilar’s owner, has been renovating the coffee operation and updating the farm’s technology to better manage both the coffee and the surrounding forest ecosystem, the latest of which involves satellite technology to diagnose soil composition for more precise fertilization—something that helps reduce overall inputs where not necessary, and also better minimize runoff and groundwater health.   While the farm is not certified organic, organic methods are prioritized throughout. Organic certified inputs are used wherever possible, and all plant matter produced from pruning and processing contributes to organic manure for the coffee plants.  El Pilar’s coffee is deliciously sweet and balanced, with papaya and sweet banana flavors, a layered mouthfeel and a fragrant, almost cinnamon-like nose that lingers well past the end of the sip.