This is an experimental macerated natural coffee from Nariño, Colombia, produced by Juan Francisco Alfonso Ortiz Sepulveda on his farm Finca La Paz. Exporter Azahar Coffee sourced this coffee and has provided full farmgate financial transparency.
The flavor profile is wild, sweet, floral, and fruity with notes of rosewater, brown sugar, and kumquat.
Our roasters found that the coffee accepted a lot of heat early in the roasting process, and that the beans produced significant amounts of chaff around first crack.
Cupping the coffee produces the most profound fruitiness, while pour-overs can result in subtler flavors. Our experience with similar coffees indicates that this macerated natural would slay as a cold brew and shine on espresso.
Taste Analysis by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow
On the cupping table, this coffee is absolutely wild. Tropical, floral, juicy, it’s a kool-aid punch in the face. On pour over, I was surprised to find it more refined and delicate, with notes of rosewater, honey sweetness, and kumquat. The dark chocolate undertone gives this coffee great structure, and the ease of roasting makes it ideal for multiple applications.
Source Analysis by Charlie Habegger
The Andes of northern Nariño create a rugged and broad landscape for coffee with high altitudes and steep slopes. The department’s coffee producers are overwhelmingly small and remote, which until the past decade kept them largely undiscovered in Colombia’s microlot market. The municipalities of Buesaco and La Unión, not far from Chachagüí, were some of the first municipalities to gain international attention with competition-winning coffees, bringing buyers with strong beliefs in the potential of Nariño’s high altitudes, volcanic soil composition (the department has 6 of Colombia’s 16 volcanoes), and willing producers.
Finca La Paz, belonging to Juan Francisco Alfonso Ortiz Sepulveda and his family, is a member farm in Café Occidente, Nariño’s formidable coffee growers’ union. Café Occidente has around 2000 associate producers, 20 purchasing stations and 8 storage warehouses across the department. La Paz is located in the community of Casabuy, just west of the town of Chachagüí.
Prior to setting the cherry to dry at La Paz, Juan utilizes a curing step that until recently was almost unheard of, but is becoming more common among quality-minded producers. This involves bagging cherry just after picking and allowing the whole fruit to cure in a low-light, low-oxygen environment for multiple days. At La Paz cherry is bagged this way for 4 days before being dried in a combination of shaded raised beds and mechanical drying drums. The effect of the curing stage, when done well, often creates a concentrated tartness in the final cup reminiscent of pickled plum or cherry syrup. In an otherwise high-elevation, complex coffee such as this one, the note adds a certain kick to the rest of the coffee’s balance, which arrived tasting like dessert wine, dried cherry, and chocolate.
Azahar Coffee, the sourcing company and exporter of Juan’s coffee, originally began as a specialty roaster and coffee boutique in Bogotá serving Colombia’s top quality microlots to a developing local consumer base. In time, Azahar began making international connections to their farmer contacts and exporting green coffee, with top traceability and ambitious price transparency, to select buyers in a few northern markets. The business has evolved to what is now a very sophisticated exporting model. Azahar partners with local grower organizations to identify coffees and producers of the highest potential, pull these aside from the usual export stream, and market them directly to buyers internationally on a quality-based pricing scale. The net effect of the intervention is often significantly more money than a farm could receive without the added exposure and marketing. Through Azahar, countless farms and communities are being uncovered and sold globally with traceability not experienced before. For this lot, Juan Francisco Alfonso Ortiz Sepulveda was paid 1,150,000 COP per carga (unprocessed, dried cherry), which converts to roughly $2.59 per pound paid directly to the farmer prior to processing and export.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Coffee from Nariño has earned a reputation for being a little smaller and denser than similar coffees from nearby departments like Cauca and Huila. This lot from Finca La Paz fits the mold, with a very high density and overall smallish screen size. The coffee sizes are distributed a bit widely, with roughly 80% of the beans falling between 15-17, with a good percentage in the 14 and 18 screens as well. The moisture and especially Water Activity numbers are very low, an encouraging sign for any coffee, particularly one which arrived a number of months after harvest and which was processed unconventionally. That processing technique is evident from the initial aroma of the green coffee: sweet, herbaceous, and above all very, very fruity.
The Colombia cultivar was one of the country’s first widely available F5 composite hybrids, first released in the early 1980s. It follows the Catimor recipe, using Caturra and Timor Hybrid parents. The offspring is selected for desirable attributes and bred down to a fifth generation to produce a complex seed stock with good stability and disease resistance.
Diedrich IR-5 Analysis by Candice Madison
Much to my surprise, and earlier in the week than I had expected, Chris dropped this coffee on my desk. In times gone by, I would have been running to the roaster to find out what this unusual processing method had to offer. However, it is a testament to the success of diversifying the processing link in the supply chain, and the evolution in technique and skills that vanguard producers around the world are displaying that I merely strolled (very quickly) to taste the fruits of Sr. Ortiz’ labor!
Because I was greedy, I had no green specs for this coffee prior to roasting, so I made a few calls from prior experience. As this was a naturally processed coffee that had been subject to multiple fermentation steps, I assumed I should treat it gently. I figured that the moisture content would be low and the density, moderate. Well, I was, of course, very wrong in those assumptions – understandable as they might have been! We can see now that this is a very dense coffee aggregating around the higher end of the screen sizes. It has a low moisture content, meaning the density is mainly due to carbohydrates. This would lead me to roast hot and fast at the beginning to activate the chemical reactions leading to precursors for all the delicious aroma and flavor compounds to be produced in abundance.
However, without that information, and wanting to introduce heat gently in order not to scorch a potentially soft, light bean, but wanting to compensate for the larger screen size of the batch, I hedged my bets and started my roast of with a gas application of 50%, opening the airflow to 100%. At the turn, I raised the gas to 90%. I was worried turning it up so high, on a small batch without information, but I was quickly shown, by the slow ascent of the RoR, that I needed even more heat than I assumed, and bumped the gas up to 100% – leaving the airflow the same.
Wanting to give the sugars a chance to develop, I made my usual change of coming down off the heat – first to 90% and then, within a minute, to 50%. The roast proceeded without fuss and any more input from me, until just before first crack, when I opened the air back up to 100% and lowered the gas to 20%. A lot of humidity releases into the drum at FC, so be aware of that and mitigate as necessary. My roaster was hot enough and the batch small enough that, in this case, I didn’t have to make any modifications to my profile.
This coffee will give you two things: a lot of chaff and an unusually smooth ride. Giving the correct heat to this coffee in a timely manner leads to a super easy roast and a very unusual and special cup. I drank a brew of this after cupping, because I was so intrigued by the flavors I was tasting. Resting on a bass note of sweet pink cocoa, I tasted red berries, rose water and kumquat that cut through the rich sweetness of demerara sugar and caramel. Adding to the complex flavor profile was a clarifying note of black tea and a hint of baking spices all held together by a viscous, silky body. I might ask The Crown baristas to make me an espresso – I think it might be even better with steamed milk!
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.
A coffee like this crosses our paths every so often. Fruity aromas confront you even before roasting, promising a wild ride all the way through the roaster and into the cup. Not for the faint of heart, these supernatural fruit bombs divide the ranks into the acetic-averse and the zealots of zest.
This coffee is quite dense, and I went into the roast expecting some resistance to heat, but those of you out there roasting on the Quest might like to add even more heat than usual. This coffee is very resistant to heat! A higher charge temperature and consistent heat application will really benefit your roast.
That said, I did start out my own roast at a middling 385F charge temperature. The result was a slow rise through drying phase, resulting in a whopping 52% of time spent in drying. I didn’t engage fan until later than usual, at 280F / 4:30, and I only reduced heat application at 300F / 5:10 in an effort to slow this coffee down through Maillard. Being as dense as it is, this coffee kept its speed up after making it through drying phase, and I wasn’t able to slow down the roast too much, even after reducing heat application further to 5A at 320F / 5:40 and engaging full fan speed at 330F / 6:00. Crack was quite sparse at first, but a true rolling of first crack started at 385F / 8:21, 10 seconds after I cut heat application entirely to get a nice amount of post-crack development without exceeding a final temperature of 400F.
Chaff warning! You absolutely must clear your chaff cup after roasting this coffee. Clearing it a little before first crack might even help if you’re confident you can accomplish the sleight of hand. This coffee is a chaff monster!
Looking at this coffee as it came out of the roaster, I was incredibly pleased at the consistency of the roast. Many times, coffees with this much fruit that were processed in unconventional manners don’t come out with even coloration.
In the cup, all the fruit came through loud and clear, though I think some crispness and clarity would be the result of stronger heat application in the beginning of the roast. Fresh raspberry and grape jelly flavors fade into a milk chocolate sweetness, which in turn gave way into a curious spiced black tea note. I wouldn’t call it chai.. But something about the final impression of this coffee brought me back to the early 2000s heyday of natural coffees and big-couch coffeehouses. On cooling, some big juicy tropical notes came through as well. Keep an eye to the horizon for cantaloupe island!
Ikawa Pro V3 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.
Our previous macerated natural coffee from Colombia, CJ1400 Colombia Planadas, has been on bar at the Crown in many forms since it released, so I was very curious to try another macerated coffee from Colombia. I was pleased to find this coffee really versatile and delicious on the Ikawa V3, full of complex and light fruit flavors that shone through no matter how I roasted it, with minor variations in body and caramelization. I did encounter a late crack on a couple of these roasts, but it didn’t seem to impact the roast quality.
Our standard hot and fast roast profile produced a cup with notes of dried strawberry, watermelon, and tamarind, with a lime-like acidity and a caramel sweetness. Its body was a touch thin, but as it cooled the flavors of dried strawberry intensified into fresh, ripe strawberries that lingered on the finish.
Our Maillard profile produced juicy notes of concord grape, watermelon, and apple, with an intense raisin-like sweetness, and caramelized notes of toffee, nougat, and caramel reminiscent of a candy bar. It was really clean, and had a quality that reminded me of a nice white wine. This roast had a very late crack, but I enjoyed it a lot anyway.
Our longer low airflow profile produced notes of raisin, orange, nectarine, candied cherry, marshmallow, and chocolate. I loved its flavor profile, and its body was very light and delicate. I thought this was a really nice cup, but preferred the prior two roasts for their intensity of flavor of sweetness.
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
Brew Analysis by Elise Becker
The Crown has been serving a different and delicious macerated natural Colombia for a few months, and since that coffee performed well as espresso, cold brew, and as a delightful batch brew, I was excited to try a different coffee with similar processing and origin. This coffee does not disappoint, and was fun to brew and taste!
For this week’s analysis, our Barista and production roasting assistant Doris Garrido pulled out the V60, the Kalita, and the Origami drippers for plenty of comparison. The V60 was on the simpler side, but plenty sweet and fruity. Our team tasted plenty of brown sugar, peach, milk chocolate, and a pleasant nuttiness. The Kalita was super clean and brown sugar sweet, with mango, peach, ripe cantaloupe, and dark chocolate. The Origami was even juicier, with watermelon candy, mandarin orange, cherry, and an effervescent quality like a lemon-lime soda. Overall, this was a coffee that packed a very funky punch on the cupping table, but which brewed very clean and tasty!