Intro by Chris Kornman and Mayra Orellana-Powell
Last year, we stumbled upon an absolutely delightful coffee, almost by accident, from a producer named Juanita Bravo. Her coffee, featured for the first time as a single-farmer microlot, absolutely blew us away. We served it in the tasting room and couldn’t get enough of its near-perfect balance of sweetness and floral notes, juicy tropical fruits and smooth chocolaty finish.
Well, it brought me joy and FOMO in equal parts this year when I saw that Juanita Bravo’s coffee had been pre-booked and we wouldn’t get to have any for Crown Jewels. Apparently, a lot of other folks shared our opinion.
The good news is that a message from our CEO Max Nicholas-Fulmer alerted us to another lot, again serendipitously spectacular on the cupping table, and again, a first time feature for a single producer named Adrián Hernández.
Good supply chains deliver tasty coffee. This is certainly the case with a collection of micro-lots that just arrived courtesy of the Federación Comercializadora de Café Especial de Guatemala (FECCEG), an umbrella organization that helps producers with small farms gain access to the international market.
Adrián Hernández produced one of these lovely micro-lots on his 6-acre farm called La Galera near the village of La Pinada in the municipality of Santiago Chimaltenango. This is the first time Adrián has seen his coffee featured as a micro-lot. He has worked up to this goal for the last three years through his membership in Cooperativa Integral de Ahorro y Crédito Café Responsabilidad Limitada (COPECAFE).
COPECAFE has focused attention on training producers on the best organic practices to manage their farms and diversification projects. Adrián has put his training in action, making his own organic fertilizer and diversifying his farm with citrus and banana trees, and also cultivating Habanero chile peppers.
Adrián has his own micro-mill to process harvested cherries. First he floats the cherry in water to remove less dense and damaged beans. Then he depulps, ferments, washes and dries the coffee to 11 percent moisture. At this stage, FECCEG steps in to support Adrián with transportation, warehousing and cupping analysis, and later provides the preparation for export. FECCEG has worked hard to ensure coffee traceability so that Adrián receives more income for improved quality. Increased earnings from coffee sales help Adrián strengthen his family’s livelihood.
We love the blood orange and pomegranate flavors on the cupping table, and they’re joined by a delicate rose or honeysuckle type of florality. There’s a lot of supporting flavors here as well, from fudge brownie to vanilla and marmalade to lime candy and maple syrup. We’re thrilled that Adrián Hernández has picked up the mantle and carried on the high standard set by Juanita Bravo last year, and we can’t wait for you to try it.
Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This coffee from Guatemala comes to us with somewhat below average density, and average moisture content and water activity. Its screen-size is mostly clustered into sizes 16, 17, and 18, with small but possibly significant amounts falling outside of that. Coffee with a little bit wider of a size distribution can lead to inconsistent roasting, so consider taking measures to counteract that, like slowing down the roast during color change.
Caturra is the parent variety of the Catimor and Catuai group. Its primary characteristic is its short height, which allows for denser planting and therefore higher production. Catimor was created at the Centro de Investigação das Ferrugens do Cafeeiro (CIFC) as a cross between the Timor Hybrid (itself an interspecific cross-breed of robusta and arabica) and Caturra. It retains Caturra’s short stature, and shows improvement to leaf rust resistance and yield. Catuai is a cross between Caturra and Mondo Novo, and is common in Brazil, Honduras, and Costa Rica, in addition to Guatemala.
Ikawa Analysis by Chris Kornman
As of September 2020 we are running all Crown Jewel Analysis roasts on a brand new Ikawa Pro V3, using the most recent app and firmware version on “closed loop” setting.
If you’ve been reading Nate Lumpkin’s recent Ikawa analysis, you’ll no doubt have taken note of the new inlet temperature data. Our V3 has been humming along, keeping pace with the original profiles programmed on the V2 a few months back.
I took the opportunity to take this lovely Guatemalan coffee for a test drive, and was pleased with the results on all three of my usual settings. I was really pleased when I ran the numbers in Cropster to see that all three profiles tracked the exhaust temperature beat for beat, including nearly identical first crack and end temperatures for this coffee. Nice to have the reassurance that the machines are calibrated, and that you can expect this coffee to behave predictably.
The shortest and longest roasts were the nicest, in my opinion. The 6 minute standard profile brought out some lovely peach and honeysuckle flavors and had a very sturdy fudge backbone. The 7 minute low airflow profile offered up some more complex pomegranate and blood orange flavors and had a lovely rose floral note. The Maillard +30 profile was nice as well, but slightly simple by comparison (though, score wise, only a ½ point off the standard profile).
Roast this coffee confidently, don’t be afraid to keep it light if you like the floral notes, but it should handle medium and dark roasts with equal charm and success.
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 Low AF
Probatino Analysis by Alex Taylor
Back on the Probatino for this week’s roast analysis! It can be a speedy little roaster, and my batch size was just barely on the lower side of things, so I wanted to be careful while roasting this coffee. I took a sort of “no-sudden-movements” approach, out of an abundance of caution and was pleasantly surprised to find that the coffee didn’t overreact to gas adjustments. Go figure, high quality green coffee is easy to work with!
I followed a pretty typical roast plan for me: low heat at the start of the roast, about a 1 minute “soak”, then crank the heat up. I typically start stepping off the gas sometime between color change and 350F, depending on how the coffee is roasting. If it’s greedily holding on to all the heat’s energy and picking up momentum, I’ll start stepping off the gas earlier. But in this case, the coffee was practically roasting itself, so I let it find its own way for a bit, and then started lowering the gas right around 350F. I thought I saw hints that the coffee would try to take off at first crack, so I lowered the gas to our idle level to try to keep things under control. At this point, the coffee laughed in my face and tried to crash! I had been duped! I just about staved off the crash and kept things going, ending the roast at 6:48 and 401F, with 1 minute post crack development. Overall, I was plenty happy with how the roast went. The coffee was easy to control in the roaster, so dialing in your roast profile for this coffee should be a breeze.
On the cupping table, this coffee was a delight! Classic apple and clementine acidity up front that coupled nicely with some dried fruit notes (raisin, mostly) and plenty of sweetness in the form of maple syrup, powdered sugar, and milk chocolate. In a nutshell, this coffee tasted like an assorted ½ dozen donuts; a true breakfast blend, without even being a blend! This coffee was super rich and somewhat creamy as well, with a pleasantly mouth-coating sweetness that lingered, leaving me wanting my next sip almost immediately. Subsequent sips were both refreshing and decadent, as the juicy clementine and apple notes hit immediately and then gradually faded into the more syrupy sweet notes. There’s a lot to love about this coffee!
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.
We tend to get a fair amount of coffee from this area of Guatemala here at Royal, and I’ve come to see that the latest arrivals tend to be some of the sweetest and most complex of the year, despite the sort of misgivings some might have about ‘late’ coffee. These coffees are the last ones harvested, as they are the highest up the slopes, and ripen last. Last but not least, as they say.
Guatemalan coffees are, to me, what I recommend to people who prefer washed coffees but also have a sweet tooth. The sugary, confectionary nature of these coffees leaves me yearning for buttercream icing on chocolate cake. Though I’ve got a long way to go until my next birthday, why not have a birthday in a cup?
Roasting this coffee with the sugars in mind, everything went according to plan – and I can’t stress how enjoyable that feeling is! I hit this coffee with high heat and drum speed from the outset, waited until 9:50 to engage P4 for 75% heat, and crack happened exactly a minute later at 10:50. The start of first crack was slow but steady, and I opened the door of the roaster at 11:15 to abate heat and smoke, though there wasn’t much smoke to speak of. After a scant 50 seconds of development time, I cooled the coffee and had a sip of the Banko Gotiti washed I had roasted earlier.
I had a slight preview of this coffee when I tasted Alex’s roast on a brief visit to The Crown, and was able to pick out its Guatemala-ness. What I tasted in my cupping was also very typically Guatemalan, in the very best way. This is the sort of coffee that makes you stretch your flavor vocabulary for all the sorts of sugars you’ve tasted. Clean milk chocolate, tootsie roll, panela, brown sugar, caramel apple.. All those were in my notes. On cooling, I got a very nice tart dried peach acidity, and more of that mellow red apple flavor.
If you’re into sugary coffees, this is an excellent choice. Happy birthday to your taste buds!
Brew Analysis by Elise Becker
This coffee from Adrián Hernández really blew me away; so much decadence and surprising complexity packed into a rather unassuming package! I made sure to test its versatility with both a flat-bottomed brewer (Kalita) as well as a cone (v60) and an immersion (Aeropress) brewer.
In the Kalita, the delicate florality and sweetness came through with oodles of tropical fruit. It straight up tasted like vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone, or perhaps on an apple pie! Add a touch honey, juicy orange, lime zest, guava, papaya, and green apple candy, and you have a winning cup with the Kalita!
The V60 also produced delicious results, with the apple pie flavors from the Kalita crystalizing into clear apple, cinnamon, brown sugar, and baking spice. This was an incredibly aromatic brew, with cardamom and bergamot coming through in the finish.
When tasting the Aeropress, I half expected the flavors to be muddled, but was instead rewarded with clear pink lady apple, ripe plum, blood orange, grilled peach, a creamy peanut buttery body, and a deep dark chocolate finish.
Such a pleasure to brew and drink this deliciously comforting coffee!