This is a traditional washed coffee from Chiapas, Mexico, produced by a small family group – uncles and cousins of exporter Rosalba Cifuentes.
The flavor profile is chocolatey and sweet, citrusy and creamy, chuggable and complex.
Our roasters found the coffee performs well with a high charge temperature and may crack a little late.
Our tasting room is serving the coffee as a light roast drip option, and tested the coffee as espresso to rave reviews, sweetness being the predominate characteristic across all methods.
Taste Analysis by Sandra Loofbourow
Looking for chocolatey sweetness? How about dynamic citric acidity? A creamy thick body? The Cifuentes family lot has it all. This coffee is surprisingly decadent and yet well balanced, providing stellar complexity and chuggable sweetness across multiple brew methods. At The Crown we loved serving last year’s harvest on espresso, where it was thick and chocolate with just a hint of orange brightness. This year we’re excited to feature Rosalba’s family’s coffee on batch brew, where it’s undeniably sweet – think honey, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon – while remaining clean and crisp with notes of lime, tangerine, and cherry.
Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell and Chris Kornman
Royal is very fortunate to have a strong network of supply partners. One of the rising stars in recent years has been Rosalba Cifuentes Tovía, who owns and operates Mayan Harvest out of Bella Vista in Chiapas, Mexico. (You can read our 2018 interview with her here, or check out this excellent, moving 15-minute biography by Revista (Roast Magazine’s Spanish language partner).
Rosalba ensures traceability for her community coffee by personally exporting the coffee directly to the Bay Area. Rosalba also concerns herself with the small details like being sure to pull samples without piercing the producers bags, which has eliminated the cost for replacing damaged bags. These efforts allow producers to earn higher prices and reinvest in better agricultural practices and improve the livelihoods for their families.
Rosalba’s influence continues to grow as her ambitious projects gain the attention of roasters and producers alike. In addition to the swelling number of contributing farmers, Rosalba’s scope has included improvements to milling equipment, upgrades to pulping and fermentation setups, and taking on the bulk of quality control for her operation during the Covid pandemic.
Not only this, but Rosalba has once again managed to deliver coffee to our warehouse in a timely manner despite a complex international shipping slowdown. We’re absolutely delighted to have her coffee back in house and ready to share it with you.
This year’s Crown Jewel comes from a small group of family members in the Bella Vista community, where Rosalba was born and raised. Eugenio Roblero, Froilan Roblero Cifuentes, Otoniel Roblero Cifuentes, and Omar Roblero Cifuentes, who are uncles and cousins to Rosalba, each own farms located within the municipality of Bella Vista in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Rosalba’s family’s coffee is prepped in much the same style as we expect to see from all of the Mayan Harvest selections. A spread of screen sizes a little outside the usual bounds of EP standards isn’t too much to be worried about taken on its own, while average-looking density and solid in-the-pocket moisture specs show off consistent attention to detail in processing. There are some minor physical flaws in the coffee again this season, mostly a few chipped beans, which may make the task of roasting an otherwise easy coffee slightly more interesting. Ultimately, after roasting and cupping a number of times our team decided that the resulting flavors were lush, the minor physical flaws inconsequential, and the legacy and story of Rosalba’s work more than reason enough to return this coffee to our menu of Crown Jewels. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Diedrich Analysis by Candice Madison
I love this coffee! The fact that we have full transparency and get regular visits from the producers throughout the year, to hear about life on the farm and this year’s growing cycle is a privilege I am wholly aware of. It is also a pleasure to be able to give feedback about a coffee, to the producer themselves – nothing like a five–star review given in person!
The quality of the coffee gets better every year, and even though there are some residual concerns with broken beans, overall, the improvements to the sorting are clearly evident. My concerns going into the roast were to ensure that I compensated for any heat transfer resistance. I suspected that the spread of screen sizes and the moisture level would mean that I would have to put more heat into the roast up front. I would also have to compensate for the broken and chipped beans that would be prone to taking on heat at a faster rate.
To achieve this balancing act on my machine, I decided to start with a hot drum and high heat, but keep the airflow low, so as not to encourage accelerated heat transfer too early and risk scorched beans. I had already discussed with the tasting room staff that I wanted to roast this coffee for espresso. I usually don’t stipulate, but I wanted to give myself the luxury of stretching out the post crack development as much as I wanted, without worrying about the sacrifice this may make to the acidity or floral characteristics.
After starting with a charge temperature of 380F, 90% gas and 50% air, I waited for the coffee to turn, before lowering the gas to 75%. This felt early but knowing that I may battle with keeping the coffee stable once the moisture had been driven off, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t building up more heat in the beans than I could handle later on. It was the right instinct. Before color change, the rate of rise/change (RoR/RoC) clearly slowed down and the coffee began to take off, but luckily, that earlier change and the low and regular airflow, meant I didn’t have to do anything more to the roast except wait for first crack.
The hump in the RoC graph, shows that I missed hearing the initial pops of first crack; they were quieter than I realized and had already started rolling before I caught first crack and turned the gas down. Turning the gas down and the air up to 100% help to slow any wildness during the crucial post-crack development stage. Wanting this to perform as an espresso, and to ensure that I introduced a little more body in place of a little less acidity, I took this roast up to just under 400F in 90 seconds.
It was delicious and a welcome back to one of my favorites, eminently chuggable cups of coffee. This is like drinking a smooth cup of milk chocolate overlayed with complex, but delicate acidity, hints of bright fruit notes that cut through the viscous, sugary bass of this brew. I got notes of demerara sugar, granny smith apples, fresh cantaloupe, vanilla, tamarind, lemon and lime and, of course, milk chocolate. Ignore this year’s harvest at your peril, this coffee gets better and better year on year.
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.
Seeing this coffee arrive always makes me incredibly happy. The progression of a visit from Rosalba a few years ago to our current relationship with Mayan Harvest which brings in several containers per year is really something to reminisce upon. Her growth shows not only her skill as a businessperson but also her dedication to her community of Bella Vista, where she provides the highest prices for high quality parchment. And the coffee is delicious.
Approaching this coffee, I knew there would be a stronger resistance to heat. Moisture content here is at 11% and there is a decent spread of screen sizes. Both things pointed me towards using a higher charge temperature and steady heat application.
I started with a very high charge temperature indeed, 397F. My heat application was full at 10A, and I also left the fan off for the first part of this roast, eschewing the traditional high fan speed until turning point. Allowing this to roll, I only introduced fan speed to ‘3’ at 280F / 3:20 and began reducing heat application to 7.5A at 295F / 3:40 and 5A at 310F / 4:00. My rate of rise peaked at this point, and I quickly ramped up to full fan speed at 320F / 4:15 to wick away moisture and heat. A little before first crack, I returned to 5A heat application, but just until crack started. My previous reductions in heat were effective in getting this coffee to slow down through first crack.
This coffee was very difficult to push through the drying stage of roast. A little more airflow towards the beginning of my roast may have allowed me to carry off some of the resistant moisture, but this coffee will require quite a bit of heat application regardless!
Honestly, I was a little afraid of this coffee coming across as baked, but the low rate of rise past first crack and the lower-than-average finish temperature did not seem to bring out flattened flavors whatsoever. This roast cools phenomenally well, however. Upon first sip, all I got was brown sugar sweetness and some dark chocolate, but as this coffee cooled, heady vanilla, tart tamarind, and a thick chocolate mousse flavor and texture really made themselves known. That texture has me very curious what an espresso of this coffee would be like. Fingers crossed for an inclusion on the menu at The Crown!
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.
This coffee acted a little strangely in the Ikawa, namely in that two of the roasts showed a somewhat late first crack. As Evan notes in his Quest analysis, this may have something to do with the 11% moisture content and screen size giving the coffee some resistance to heat. I suspect that this coffee just prefers to have a little bit longer time under heat, and may not function well in the Ikawa under a low charge temperature.
Our hotter, faster profile cracked quite late, and in the cup tasted a little bit simple, like chocolate fudge, caramel, honey, and sweet cherry. Our long and cool low airflow profile showed a little more complexity, with notes of apple, strawberry, rosemary, dark chocolate, and white sugar, but was overall a little simple and had an overly thin body.
My preferred roast lengthened the Maillard phase. It cracked at a more appropriate time, and showed tasted notes of strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, currant, dark chocolate, orange zest, almond, and white sugar. This was really pleasant, tart, and sweet, and I absolutely recommend giving this coffee a little more time under heat to show its best qualities.
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
At The Crown, we’ve had the great fortune and pleasure of welcoming Rosalba in our space and serving previous lots of the Mayan Harvest on the espresso bar. Her coffee has gained a strong fan base among our staff as well as among our other guests, and we were very excited to snag Rosalba’s family lot to showcase as a Crown Jewel this year!
Working closely with Candice, we discussed how we wanted to brew and serve this one well in advance. As it was a favorite on the espresso bar last season, she delivered me a beautiful espresso profile and I dialed in brewing largely on the 3 group La Marzocco Linea PB in our Tasting Room. While I took great care to taste shots pulled at a wide variety of specs, here I’ll share details of the most delicious shot I was able to pull; as an espresso this coffee was dense and sweet, with a thick chocolatey mouthfeel reminiscent of a bite of German chocolate cake with syrupy dark cherries. It had a creaminess to it like macadamia nut, and it also had a lingering and grounded note of sweet, vanilla pipe tobacco that I found to perfectly round out the finish. For wildly different comparison, I also brewed it using our trusty Curtis batch brewer, and honestly, the results were spectacular! The brewed cup was super sweet and well rounded, with plenty of juicy orange, honey, allspice, and milk chocolate. We loved drinking the batch so much that we’re putting it on the menu at The Crown for a limited run!