This is a traditional washed coffee from Chiapas, Mexico. It is a rare, unclassified cultivar grown on the Finca San Carlos estate by Alfred Klein and Annette Schnippenkoetter.
The flavor profile is complex, with great structure and juiciness including notes of kumquat, marshmallow, and orange blossom.
Our roasters found the coffee to need an intentional, steady hand and even Maillard development for the best results.
Our tasting room will be serving this coffee as a pour-over, and found brews to be a sweet treat with plenty of fruity acidity and florality.
Taste Analysis by Sandra Loofbourow
Year after year, Alfred Klein and Annette Schnippenkoetter continue to impress with their Jade Centennial. Marshmallow sweetness, delicate kumquat acidity, and plenty of floral notes which are supported by a foundation of honey, chocolate, and baking spice. We’ll be serving this coffee as a pour-over at The Crown’s Tasting Room, but with great structure and pervasive juiciness, this cafecito would shine in nearly every application.
Source Analysis by Mayra Orellana-Powell
With too many producers on the brink of extinction in Mexico, we’re happy to offer a comeback story with coffee from Chiapas.
The estate is called San Carlos, located at the very order between Mexico and Guatemala on the western slope of Volcán Tacaná, and it has a rich heritage that dates back to 1896. The comeback story starts in 1996 when the grandson (Otto Hotzen) of the man who planted the first coffee trees at San Carlos offered to sell the farm to Alfred Klein.
Alfred had made his reputation in the coffee world as the guy who could restore old mill equipment and his work restoring mill equipment at San Carlos impressed Otto. For the next two decades, Alfred worked hard to pay Otto, but San Carlos suffered from every possible consequence of climate disaster (wind, hail, and hurricanes), peso devaluation, and skyrocketing inflation.
At the bottom in 2004, Alfred lost ownership of San Carlos due to his inability to make the agreed payments to Otto. Alfred continued to manage San Carlos another decade for the Hotzen family and developed a strong relationship with Royal during this time. But by 2012, more than 85 percent of San Carlos had been destroyed by leaf rust.
And now the comeback story: With some financial support from Royal, Alfred repurchased San Carlos from the Hotzen family in 2013. With his gift for restoration, Alfred immediately began an aggressive plan to renovate San Carlos to its original luster, legacy varieties and vintage mill equipment all included.
In 2020 we visited San Carlos and it’s clear that Alfred, Annette, and their 40 full time employees have done the job. Processing coffee at San Carlos has no compromises. Coffee cherry is carefully sorted, depulped with the vintage vertical depulpers, slowly fermented for 48 hours in cold spring water, then double washed with a 48-hour soak.
There is versatility with drying strategies. Micro-lots are slowly dried on patios and raised beds, while mechanical dryers are used for drying larger lots. Although there is an abundance of spring water, Alfred has configured the mill to operate with 5,000 liters per day, which is recycled several times and then returned downstream, clean, pH balanced, and oxygenated thanks to a state-of-the-art water purification system and bio-digester.
All of these layers of efficiency are essential because weather patterns have become more and more unpredictable. Alfred also runs his own dry mill using a series of 3 vintage catadores (wind channels) to classify his coffee. He explained that cherry selection and classification at the wet mill is so good that he does not need any more equipment in his dry mill to sort the coffee.
Alfred’s wife Annette is also deeply involved in the business, handling human resource and labor law compliance for employees, as well as all the export logistics from Tapachula, including refrigerated banana containers, expediting their shipping schedule.
Alfred and Annette have done much to save their coffee business against all odds but it is no less important to recognize that two-thirds of their 370 acre estate is dedicated to crop diversification (including guanabana, cardamom, macadamia, and banana trees) and preserving natural habitat for many native species. For further reading about Finca San Carlos, check out our three-part (One, Two, Three) producer profile series, a blog about refrigerated banana containers, another about climate change, and an opinion piece Alfred wrote about bees and coffee.
The Jade Centennial microlot returns to our menu for the fourth consecutive season, and we’re pretty thrilled to have it back. Alfred & Annette Klein’s attention to detail at the farm level, and their clever selection of reefered banana container shipping logistics has provided us with an exceptional, early landing Northern Hemisphere coffee.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Alfred Klein chose the name for this coffee, and it certainly has a ring to it. Jade Centennial refers to the deeper than usual hue of the coffee and the hundred-year history of the farm. There’s more to the story of course – a parcel of the farm called Centenario is home to many of the trees, and on the parcel a hand-carved Mayan jade figurine was unearthed.
The trees were planted on the farm by a Guatemalan worker who claimed to have brought the seedlings from Quetzaltenango. Sr. Klein isn’t sure of the exact variety. Per his description, the bean size is close to Maragogype, the bean shape like old Bourbons, the tree structure like Catuaí with large, deep green leaves and light green new growth. The tree is tolerant, though not resistant to roya and ojo de gallo. To my eye, the polished seeds appear long, more like Typica, Java, or Gesha.
The treatment this season is typically precise. A very solid moisture and low water activity indicate good shelf life, while a wide spread of sizes and slightly lower overall density are unsurprising given the oblong shape of the seeds. Green coffees like this tend to require a little extra attention in the roaster as they may be prone to unusual heat absorption, so pay close attention to our roaster’s notes to make the best of this lovely, complex coffee.
Diedrich Analysis by Candice Madison
The second of this week’s arrivals from Mexico, and yet another perennial favorite. I did a little hand clap, as the new releases were confirmed, as this coffee is a delight – charming, drinkable and complex without being unapproachable. What more can you ask for?!
The moisture level is just under ideal and the density is a little low, however, reading Chris green coffee analysis and reviewing the metrics, I figured this coffee may have a something tricky up its sleeve for me. The long beans can be challenging to a roaster trying to manage even heat transfer. I decided to start hot and with 90% gas, 380 F charge temperature, and, for this roast – one intended for filter extraction, I turned the airflow up all the way to 100%.
My idea with these parameters, was to ensure that the roast had as much heat as possible at the start, and in that way, the changes I would have to make as the roast progressed, should have to do with heat already in the system.
I can usually get away with two or three gas changes during a roast, using the heat already built up and the airflow to make discrete adjustments from time to time. A cursory look at the data and graph shows, however, that in this case, I had to have a very hands on approach to the entire roast. If I wasn’t managing the gas, I was making multiple, intentional air changes. I don’t love roasting this way, and, roasting this coffee again, I would note the major changes and aim to stick to those, larger and more significant modifications.
So yes, this coffee, due to the bean shape, in conjunction with the other metrics observed, will need a thoughtful profile and a steady hand to see it through the roast. However, I think that, as it roasted fairly solidly in response to the changes made, it will respond well and easily to a dedicated profile.
In the cup? So much yum! It starts off as fudgy, brownie, chocolatey goodness, but is elevate to a bright, clean experience by a delicious skein of pomelo and white grapes. There is a definite Golden Delicious apple note, that ends with the flavor of honeysuckle. The hard candy sweetness of white sugar is tempered by a buttery note of chardonnay. The light, syrupy body coats the mouth, but finishes clean. A really delightful and delicous coffee as usual – I’m already looking forward to next 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.
Say hello to another of our favorite yearly arrivals, the Jade Centennial. This coffee has a consistency of quality that we always look forward to. Further, the green stats of this coffee tend to be very similar year after year. Look for a slightly higher moisture content, a decent spread across the spectrum of screen sizes, and lower water activity. These things add up to a coffee very resistant to heat application.
In comparison to my other roast this week, also a Mexican coffee from the Chiapas region, I started with a slightly elevated charge temperature. I certainly could have taken my initial temp higher than 385F, but the below was my first roast, and I didn’t realize quite how hardy this coffee is; take it from me, start with a high charge temperature on this one!
I started this roast in my traditional manner: 10A heat, full fan until turning off airflow a little before turning point. This coffee just did not want to take off running! Having waited until 270F / 4:25, much later than usual, I introduced fan speed to ‘3’ on the dial. This seemed to have no effect on the rate of rise, which continued on steadily regardless. At 290F / 4:55 I reduced heat application to 7.5A, wary of spending much less time in Maillard than in drying stage. At 325F / 5:55 I increased fan speed to full, and cut heat entirely at 340F / 6:30 as my rate of rise just continued chugging along no matter how I tried to influence a drop. First crack finally happened at 387F / 9:09 (latest crack ever!), and the coffee began to stall out, much to my chagrin. Not going to lie, this was a tricky coffee to roast since I didn’t start with a good, high charge temperature.
All that said, the cup here didn’t display any of the baked characteristics I expected for a coffee that was only able to achieve two degrees above the temperature of crack. For having spent only 39% of the roast in Maillard, this coffee had a very smooth and full texture, something like vanilla pudding. This creaminess was overlaid with a touch of savory herbal like sage or basil, and as the cup cooled, I got a distinct lime acidity (think lime candy rather than sharp, tart lime).
If I was able to achieve a delicious cup from these roast stats, I can only imagine what you can do with the foreknowledge obtained above, dear reader. Push this coffee hard through the first stage of roast, and your uncompromising punctiliousness will be rewarded!
I would love to see this coffee as a filter drip, but it did perform well in cupping, with a texture that would certainly lend itself to porous-filter methods like French press or espresso. A versatile and delicious coffee.
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.
The Jade Centennial is a familiar coffee to many of my coworkers at the Crown, but this was my first time working with it, so I was curious to see what it was all about. I found a lush, sweet, and complex coffee that reminded me (in good ways only) of sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, lime, and brown sugar.
Our hotter and faster roast performed quite well, showing cupping notes of cranberry, lime, orange blossom, caramel, and chocolate. It had a lighter, tea-like body, and a pleasant smoky finish. It reminded me of pound cake and sweet barbecue. In the roaster it showed an appropriate crack and amount of development time, but I wished that it had a little more complexity overall.
My preference was for the longer roast with more time in the Maillard phase. This roast showed all the complexity that the previous roast had hinted at: apple, spiced chai tea, baking spices, orange blossom, thyme, thistle honey, and plenty of nice sugar browning notes like caramel and brown sugar. It had a thick and syrupy body, and again a strong similarity of sweet barbecue. This roast cracked a little later than the other roasts, but its longer time spent in the Maillard phase really allowed its sugar browning and body to develop.
I wouldn’t really recommend a longer, cooler roast profile, which produced a simpler cup and notes of cedar, caramel, lime, lemon tea, and honey. This was not at all an unpleasant cup, but didn’t really show the coffee’s strengths.
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
I’ve been looking forward to our arrivals from Mexico, and definitely had one eye on this jade jewel! Having tasted the Jade Centennial a few years running, I am still blown away by how clean and consistent this coffee is, and I was as excited to brew it for analysis as I am to offer it as a single origin pour–over in The Crown’s Tasting Room.
For brewing, I pulled out the usual suspects – the Hario V60 and Kalita – for a comparison of brewers with different strengths to offer the cup. The V60 came through with a fruity and acid forward cup; it was tart, with a bite of kumquat and tangerine that developed into a spiced apple cider with a honeyed sweetness and a creamy, milk chocolate finish. The Kalita was heavy on sweetness and florality, presenting a cup full of that same tangerine tanginess but with much more orange blossom, hard candy, and smooth chocolate in the mix. My overall impression is that this coffee is chuggably sweet, fruity, and delicious, and capable of standing on its own or taking milk to be an even more decadent treat.