This is an experimental honey coffee from Santa Elena, Honduras, produced by Gloria Ventura on her farm El Manzano in affiliation with the Catracha Coffee Company.
The flavor profile is punctuated by sugary caramelization notes, balanced acidity, and a range of sweet fruit flavors from fresh citrus like blood oranges to dried dates.
Our roasters found the coffee well behaved, and to benefit from a little additional time during Maillard phase.
When brewed at two roasts as a pour-over on multiple brewers, our baristas found the coffee easy to dial and consistently pleasing with plenty of sweetness.
Taste Analysis by Chris Kornman
Honey processed coffees from the Catracha project in Honduras are a relatively recent addition to the portfolio of clean, traceable and sustainable coffees we see year after year. The team there took their time to dial in the processing method and it really shows in the cup.
Initial cuppings from sample roasts offered a lot of complexity, while production roasts were heavily influenced by sweet caramelization notes and delicate acidity. We noted a wide range of subtle but present fruit flavors as well, from dried dates and raisins to fresh melon, pear, and Meyer lemon. Elise Becker, our Tasting Room manager, texted me from across the building when the barista team was dialing it in, “This Gloria Ventura is fire!” Don’t sleep on this one, with a limited supply available exclusively as a Crown Jewel, it won’t last long.
Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell
Gloria Ventura has a 4 acre farm called El Rincon in the community of La Tejera where she lives. In prior years, Gloria has sold her family’s coffee in cherry to the local middleman. For the last 3 year she has been working with Catracha Coffee. During this time she has improved farm management practices using lime to control the pH of the soil, fertilizing with organic compost, and spraying organic fungicides to control levels of leaf rust. These actions have improved the health of her farm and the quality of his coffee production. Gloria has also learned to process coffee using her own micro-mill so that she can depulp, ferment and dry coffee before delivering it to Catracha Coffee. Gloria follows a strict processing protocol, which includes hand sorting to remove under ripe cherries and floating cherries to remove damaged and less dense beans. She also allows cherries to ferment slightly in the cool night air on raised beds before depulping the next day. Depulped coffee is dry-fermented in plastic barrels for 20 hours and then placed on shade cloth to dry in the sun with the mucilage still attached to the seeds. The resulting honey processed coffee has the same clean crisp acidity as a washed coffee, and with the honey process, an additional fruit forward aroma and flavor. The process also lets Gloria skip the washing stage and significantly reduce water consumption. Gloria’s farm has several different kinds of shade trees including Diphysa Americana (Guachipilin), Sweet Gum, (Liquidambar), and Inga (Guajiniquil). The farm also has a number of fruit bearing trees including several varieties of bananas, avocado, and mango trees.
Mayra Orellana-Powell founded Catracha Coffee Company to connect her coffee growing community with roasters. Ten years later, Catracha Coffee has gained momentum with more than 80 producers and 20 roasters working together on lasting relationships and a profit sharing model, which has consistently paid at least $2.00 per pound directly to producers. This extra income helps increase each producer’s capacity to reinvest in their farm, and overtime, increase their standard of living.
The sale of Catracha Coffee also creates income for a non-profit called Catracha Community (a 501(1)(c)(3) nonprofit), which invests in income diversification opportunities without taking resources from a farmer’s bottomline.
Catracha Community hosts weekly workshops for women and youth to learn craft making skills. Like the coffee, the focus is on quality. With the help of talented volunteers, the group has been able to make many beautiful things and sell them through our network of coffee friends. They even have a name for the group, Catracha Colectivo.
Catracha Community has also established an art residence and studio in Santa Elena to host artists from Honduras and around the world. These artists have been running art classes two days a week for over a year. Every week more than 30 children come and learn art. Art is starting to pop up everywhere around Santa Elena. There are more than 30 murals along the streets of Santa Elena, in peoples homes, and at many schools.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, group activities have been suspended but women continue to make crafts and also masks to earn extra income. Artists have been visiting homes to paint small works of art on windows and doors. They have also been painting stools and selling them for extra income. Many families are also starting family gardens and trading seeds to diversify their harvest.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Catracha coffees are reliably processed and dried, and we’ve come to expect excellent green condition from their sorting and milling practices. This coffee, despite its unique processing, is no exception. Relatively high in density with very stable moisture figures and a medium-large screen size with typical “European Prep” 16+ distribution, this coffee shouldn’t present many challenges for storage and roasting.
The Catuaí hybrid is a Brazilian cross of Mundo Novo (a spontaneous Bourbon-Typica hybrid) with Yellow Caturra (a dwarf Bourbon mutation). It was developed in the 1940s but not released into the public domain until 1970s. It retains the short stature of its Caturra heritage, which allows for dense planting and high per-hectare yields.
Loring S15 Falcon Analysis by Chris Kornman
I’ve been arbitrarily selecting Crown Analysis coffees from time to time to roast our 15kg Loring Smart Roaster. It’s a completely different machine than the smaller Diedrich, and one that handles minimum (or below) batch sizes with surprising grace.
Low batch finesse as a roast operator is always a tricky road to navigate, but an important one when considering special coffees, limited releases, or trial batches. We all will eventually be faced with the necessity to roast a little under our usual volume comfort level. Typical strategies include lowering the charge temperature, waiting to apply heat (and in lower increments) and anticipating shorter roasting times.
With the Loring’s already shorter than average turning point, I opted to wait until well into the drying phase to raise the burner power beyond minimum. Just a few seconds at 50% power made an immediate difference, and with the knowledge that this coffee was an experimental honey process and with relatively high density, I wanted to do my best to spend a decent amount of time in Maillard Reactions after color change.
Both coffee and roaster behaved predictably as I edged lower with the burner, and was able to return to the minimum 20% setting about 5:45 into the roast, roughly a minute before first crack. With my rate of rise hovering at around 3-4 degrees per minute, the coffee steadily browned and developed a nice, even coloration. With just under 90 seconds of development time, it never threatened to stall or run away from me.
On the cupping table the next day, loads of sweet sugar browning notes accompanied a balanced acidic profile with distinct mild fruit flavors ranging from fresh apple and melon to dried orange and raisin. The coffee seemed responsive in the roaster and easy to work with, but as with Evan, I noted the coffee was a little late/hot to reach first crack. I’d wager medium-light is about the sweet spot for this coffee, with plenty of wiggle room for drip and espresso applications. Roast with confidence!
Bullet R1 IBTS
Aillio Bullet R1 IBTS Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, we use both the roast.world site and Artisan software to document our roasts on the Bullet. You can find our roast documentation below, by searching on roast.world, or by clicking on the Artisan links below.
Generally, we have good results starting our 500g roasts with 195C / 383F preheating, P2 power, F4 fan, and d6 drum speed. Take a look at our roast profiles below, as they are constantly changing!
See this roast on Roast.World here
For this week’s roasts, I decided to use a more realistic median batch size for the Bullet, 500g. This turned out to work very well indeed for the Catracha Coffee, and I got a nice long roast with plenty of time spent in Maillard. My biggest issue on the Bullet so far is that the “flick” is always somewhat sizable, though I haven’t experienced any degradation of quality due to this common roast attribute.
In any event, I went against the grain just a little by starting this roast at F4, and keeping P7 heat application on until just before first crack. At turning point, I reduced fan speed to F1, then ramped up incrementally to a finishing fan speed of F5, which I engaged just after first crack. That’s it! I tried to keep this roast very simple, with minor adjustments.
This tactic really worked, though the roast was a little longer than I was used to. I was able to move through green/drying phase quickly and slow the roast down through Maillard to get ample sugar browning, without losing so much momentum that the coffee stalled out. The only tricky part of this roast was the very quiet and late crack, and the aforementioned flick at the end of the roast (which really had no effect).
This coffee had so much sugar in the cup, I thought it might do better as a dessert. A touch of florals on the nose combined well with bright lime, tootsie roll, nougat, and brown sugar flavors. Clean hazelnut syrup finish really made me feel like this coffee was less of a bitter brown beverage and more of a creamy confection. I would honestly drink this coffee any way it was given to me, but I feel like partial and full immersion methods like French Press or Espresso will push this coffee over the edge into amazing territory. My Chemex was well more than serviceable, and cupping was an absolute pleasure. Drink deep! This is the peak of Honduran coffee this year, as far as I can see!
Brew Analysis by Colin Cahill
The coffees from Catracha are near and dear to our hearts here at Royal, and we are currently enjoying coffee from another Catracha producer on espresso in our tasting room. We were excited to see how this new lot from Gloria Ventura would compare, and we brewed it up a bunch of times on a Bee House brewer and on a Hario V60, comparing sample roasts from our Bullet and our Loring roasters. We have been spoiled by the dependably clean, bright, balanced coffees from Catracha, and this one was another treat for us.
The Bullet roast brewed up uneventfully on the Bee House brewer, coming through with a pretty average brew time and TDS reading. This brew elicited excitement from our crew with rich, crowd-pleasing chocolate notes, the sweetness of honey and caramel, and complex citrus notes, including blood orange and orange zest. This was a sweet, balanced brew—both comforting and stimulating—that we were happy to sip on all morning.
The Loring production roast, brewed up on a Hario V60 with a slightly finer grind size and a slightly shorter bloom time, but with a slightly longer overall brew time, resulted in a similar TDS and extraction percentage. Yet this brew was loaded with a dominant hazelnut note. This brew evoked creamy hazelnut-chocolate spreads. The richness in flavor was balanced with a clean, light body, notes of honey and white peach, and the acidity of Meyer lemons. This was another brew we could just sip on all day long. Dialed to have a heavier or a lighter body, this a coffee that consistently pleases with its notes of chocolate and citrus.