Intro by Chris Kornman
Ubaldo Gonzáles and his family work a 7.5-hectare plot of land in southern Honduras called Finca La Joya, which has been in his family for more than a century. Partnering with the local Fair Trade and Organic Coop, Cooperativa Regional de Agricultores Orgánicos de la Sierra (RAOS), Ubaldo’s honey process coffee was selected for us by their QC team and approved by ours in May of this year. It’s timely export and arrival are cause for celebration, as is its lovely flavor profile.
Copious sweetness in the form of watermelon candy, butterscotch, and clover honey greet the cupper on first sip. Plum, and soft citrus like an orange marmalade, dried date, and a hint of rose accompany a balanced body and acidity, with a long chocolaty aftertaste.
“The quality of our coffee is the direct result of the combination of geographic diversity and the meticulous work of our family throughout the production chain, from farm production, processing, drying in the sun and delivery for export,” Ubaldo Gonzáles told RAOS. “In this way, Finca la Joya is for years the family heritage, a profitable and sustainable family inheritance of organic agriculture, generating productive knowledge in a diversified way with quality and ecological balance.”
“Finca La Joya is located at 1,500 meters above sea level in the mountainous area of the municipality of San José, 20 km from Marcala, in the Montecillo mountain range, one of the privileged special coffees in Central America, producing areas with a very distinguished Designation of Origin.”
Per Mayra Orellana-Powell, RAOS was “Funded in 1997… [and] was the first cooperative of small and medium organic coffee producers in Honduras. RAOS has 270 members, many of them pioneers in the organic movement with decades of experience cultivating coffee. Others are from a new generation of producers who grew up on their parents’ organic farms.”
We’re proud to continue our longstanding trade relationship with RAOS for excellent organic coffees from Honduras, and are excited to share this lovely single-farmer honey process coffee with you.
Green Analysis by Nate Lumpkin
This honey-processed coffee from Honduras comes to us with above average density, somewhat above average moisture content, and average water activity. It comes well-sorted with a little over 70% of the beans falling into screen sizes 16 through 18. Coffee this dense may resist heat early on in the roast, so consider using a higher charge or higher energy early on for best results.
This coffee is a combination of two varieties, the well-known and widely grown Bourbon and Catuaí. Bourbon, originally brought by the French from Yemen to the island of La Reunion (then called Bourbon), was then delivered in the mid-19th century to the Americas, where it eventually spread to East Africa. Catuaí is a cross of Mundo Novo and Yellow Caturra, known for its short stature and high productivity.
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.
Well, the Ikawas are back at the Crown, and so are our team of intrepid baristas. In addition to preparing the space for to-go coffee service, they’ve each been working on a number of independent projects and collaborative research. One of these has involved Ikawa roasting and tasting basically every coffee on the menu. Thus, instead of my weekly porch-roasting ritual, this coffee was roasted on site and logged by a barista at the Crown.
Cupping blind, it was easy to pick out the fact that each of the roasts had differences, but the coffee’s character also remained quite true to form regardless of roasting style. The sweetness and gentle fruit notes made it quite clear the coffee was a honey process, while the brown sugar, tamarind, and nutty flavors lent some hints at its origin in Central America.
I was underwhelmed by the Maillard +30 roast, which ironically spent the least amount of time in the color change phase, quite the opposite of its intended effect. The result was a nutty, doughy, and somewhat dry finish that felt under-sweet.
Conversely, the 7-minute roast with lower temperature and fan speed settings yielded a juicy cup with both sweet fruity notes like red grape and orange marmalade as well as a hint of rose and some nice candy-like sweetness. The roast tracked close to a 50% / 30% / 20% ratio for its three stages and the results were balanced, nuanced, and enjoyable. Between processing style and physical specs, it probably doesn’t hurt at all to extend your sugar browning a bit during both Maillard as well as after First Crack.
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
Roast Analysis by Candice Madison
There are many reasons to love this solar dried, honey processed coffee by Ubaldo Gonzalez and his family. Honduran coffees are delicious. Used in a blend or as a single origin option, I have found them to have a pleasant, balanced and accessible flavor profile. Honey processed coffees (think dried with some percentage of mucilage still adhered to the parchment) also bring an interesting component to the table, usually in the form of an additional dimension to the coffee’s sweetness, or creating more body. It is a method that also tends to preserve more of the coffee’s perceived acidity than a fully sun-dried, or natural processed coffee.
I usually take a lot of notes when roasting, to sum up how a coffee roasts in a couple of words, is a practice that helps me compartmentalize my mental notes when approaching the same coffee year on year, or origin/process expectations. My notes for this coffee are one word; solid. In capital letters, emphatically circled! This coffee roasted up a dream. Apart from being quite ‘chaffy’, there were no surprises and no need to make any reactionary changes at all.
On the Quest, I loaded 150g and charged the drum at 360 degrees F, my preferred charge temperature for this weight, and this style of roast (light, developed, fruit/acidity highlighted). I started at 5 amps and no airflow (0 on the dial). At the turning point, (199.4 degrees F) I raised the amperage to 9 – the maximum on the dial. Keeping the airflow at zero, I noted coloring at 291 degrees F. At 306 degrees, wanting to keep the rate of change in steady descent, I turned the amperage down to 8.
And then nothing! Being a differently processed coffee than the norm, I expected some twists and turns in the roaster, but this coffee was decently dense, with a good moisture content and an average water activity reading. The fact that the coffee is well-prepared, and quite even in screen size, goes leaps and bounds towards helping establish such stability in the roaster.
The coffee cracked at 392 degrees F, at which point I turned the heat down to 3 amps and the airflow to max (9 on the dial). As I wanted to extend the development a little longer, I turned the heat off completely at 400 degrees F and dropped the coffee a little later than usual, at 408. The roast finished in just under 12 minutes. Longer than usual, just right for this coffee. In the cup, lots of English toffee sweetness, milk chocolate, stewed apple, notes of dark honey complemented a smooth, silky body. The purple plum skin acidity gave complexity to the cup that tied the flavor profile up in a neat bow.
For those asking, yes, I did filter the cupping bowls and drank it over a desk full of work. Perfect start to a Monday morning!
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.
Roasting a honey process coffee is always fun, and not all of them are high density like this one. Generally, when I see medium to high moisture content, I also expect fairly high water activity. For the Behmor, this means that the end of the roast (again, generally speaking) will have quite a bit of momentum and won’t need too much development time.
Looking at Chris’ Ikawa notes above, I surmised that this coffee would do well in the Behmor, since by default coffees spend most of their time in the drying stage due to the way this machine heats the coffee. I wasn’t wrong!
I subjected 225g of this coffee to my usual routine: Full power (P5) manual roasting mode, and high drum speed. The most notable thing about roasting this coffee is the early puffs you’ll hear that are definitely not first crack. Around 8:00, the puffs started, and continued through until actual start of first crack. I engaged P4 (75% power) at 10:15, and first crack started just a bit later at 10:30. I didn’t want to give this coffee too much development, so I opened the door to abate smoke (which was plentiful) and heat for 30 seconds just after first crack. After 1:05 of development, I stopped the roast by hitting COOL.
At first smell, I was overwhelmed by an umami scent like soy sauce or good old fashioned BBQ. I thought I had taken this coffee too far! At 13.7% weight loss percentage, I thought it was confirmed. But remember: higher moisture content means generally higher weight loss percentage.
In the cup, I was pleasantly surprised by a lack of BBQ or soy sauce flavors. The chocolatey carob notes from this coffee definitely took the point, with a flavor like those honey and sesame crisps not far behind. Plummy acidity came through on cooling, and made this coffee a more balanced and delicious one than I expected from the smells emanating from the Behmor.
This coffee may be a bit surprising to roast, but spending a good amount of time in drying phase, and limiting the amount of development will get you a very tasty result. I would highly recommend opening the door late in roast, because like many honey coffees, this one is quite chaffy and generates a good amount of smoke. Keep it clean!
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
This is an amazingly flexible and delectable coffee to work with.
If I’m going to be honest, I was very happy with my first brew on the Chemex, using a 1:16 ratio and a grind of 24 on the Baratza Virtuoso. My first set of pours was slower in order to account for a slightly coarser grind size, and my final brew time was a bit long at 5:20. This was not a problem, as my extraction percentage was a solid 20%! I got some delicate peach, sweet marshmallow, and juicy grape notes from this thick, sweet cup of coffee. This one is a heavy hitter.
So what did I try to do but make it heavier? I always recall how a family friend said he liked to be able to stick a fork in his coffee and have it stand up straight. Could this be the coffee he was after? I decided to give it a shot.
Grinding at 22 on the Virtuoso and sticking to a 1:16 ratio, I was able to achieve 21% extraction with little effort. No agitation, and no 1:15 ratio. The result was tasty, but perhaps something more for the history books than for my morning cup. The thick carob notes that came through on my initial cupping were present, along with the sesame/honey crisp.. But the finish was all Darjeeling black tea and sticky tootsie roll. Really, a very thick cup of coffee.
I’d hazard to say that this one would be a dream for those of you who brew full immersion, but the filter drip was just as good. Perhaps even espresso would be fitting. This is, again, a super flexible coffee that can give you a range of flavor notes depending both on roast and brew parameters. If you like to experiment, this might be a great coffee for you!