I brew most coffees the first time using a 1:16 ratio (21 g/340 g water) on my go-to Origami dripper with a Kalita filter and adjust it as necessary to achieve a pleasing extraction profile. If the brew is too slow (longer than 3:30 mins) I will next try a V60 filter with the Origami dripper to reduce the total brew time (TBT). If the brew tastes too dense or lacks distinct flavor notes I repeat the brew at 1:17. If that still doesn't make the coffee show off it's best flavor profile I try different drippers: V60, Kalita or Beehouse until I find that sweet spot. My brew protocol is as follows: At 0 secs pour 50 ml with a 30 second bloom (no stirring) then pour in pulses: at 1 min pour 50 mls, at 1:30, 2 and 2:30 and 3 mins pour 60 ml each for a total brew time of 3:15-3:30 mins and a total water volume of 340 ml. Do a gentle swirl after the 2:30 min pour to enhance extraction.
Coffee: Faith Estate
Producer/Farm: Cecilia Wanjiku, Faith Estate
Origin/Region: Kenya, Kirinyaga
Altitude: 1850 masl
Dry Fragrance: caramel, pineapple, fruity
Tasting Notes: Fruity and floral qualities predominate in this Kenyan coffee with characteristic juiciness and nectar sweetness. Flavor notes are tropical and candy-like: honeyed-pineapple, fresh cherries, hibiscus and just a hint of butterscotch and cinnamon. The mouthfeel is syrupy with a pleasant lingering aftertaste. Overall, it’s a bright, well-balanced coffee that keeps you coming back for more.
Roaster’s notes: Cecilia Wanjiku is the owner and co-founder of Faith State, a farmer cooperative located in the region of Kirinyaga in the centre of Kenya. As it happens in many other coffee producer countries, the smallholder’s farmers in Kenya, organize themselves into small coops. Faith Estate provides monthly training about growing, processing coffee and business planning to more than 30 small estate owners in the area, with the goal of improving the production of high-quality coffees. The AA nomenclature of this coffee means that the size of the beans (screen size 17/18 or 7.2 mm) are high-quality. As most of the Kenyan coffees, this one is fully washed. After a selective handpicking the beans are de-pulped and fermented for 24 hours. The beans are washed with cold water and then dried on raised beds. Note: Roaster’s notes taken from the Nomad website were edited as needed for clarity.
Brew recommendations: The hibiscus notes in this coffee can impart a touch of astringency so it’s best to brew this one under 3:15 minutes. The flavor profile was better on the Origami dripper using a fast-flow V60 filter. I did my usual protocol and a 1:16 ratio (21 g/340 g water) with a 30 second bloom. Pour in pulses: 0 secs 50 ml, 1 min 50 mls, 1:30, 2 and 2:30* and 3 mins add 60 ml to finish around 3:10 (*swirl gently after the 280 pour).
Nomad shared this brew recipe on V60: We use 15 g of medium ground coffee and 260 gr of water at a temperature of 96ºC. We pour the water in 2 times. One of 50 gr, we wait 30 seconds and then pour the rest of the water until it reaches 260 grams. The total infusion time should be between 2 and a half and 3 minutes.
Coffee: Felipe Contreras
Roaster: Manhattan Coffee Roasters, Rotterdam, Amsterdam
Producer/Farm: Felipe Contreras
Origin/Region: Guatemala, Antigua
Varieties: Green Tip Gesha
Aroma: jasmine, nectar, cinnamon spice
Tasting Notes: The aromatic profile of this coffee hits you before your first sip making it very apparent that this is the Geisha variety. Florality and sweetness make this a lovely cup, it’s worth taking your time to enjoy this one. Honey, lavender, lemon, bergamot, nougat and a light but definite note of fresh manadarin are layered in this complex but beautifully light coffee. The mouthfeel is silky-syrupy. The acidity is pleasant and a perfect counterbalance to the nectar sweetness.
Roaster’s notes: Every farmer’s love story with coffee begins in a unique way. For Gildardo Contreras, it started as a young boy where in his back garden his parents has 50 bourbon coffee trees, they would pick and process together. In 2012, Gildardo made his dream a reality when he purchased a farm from a relative who grew both avocado and coffee. He slowly started buying up the neighboring parcels until reaching the current farm size of 54 acres. Felipe, Gildardo’s son, now manages the farm focusing on quality, and works with the neighbors to improve both quality and processing techniques. They are always looking at natural remedies for plagues and even have a magic concoction of garlic, chili, onion and water that eliminate one plague mould (fumagina). Coffee parcels are renovated by 20% (3 acres). They plan to replace the Bourbons planted at 1800 masl with SL28 which is supported by an irrigation system.
A note about green tip Geisha: Geisha originated in Ethiopia. This variety is distinguished as a Geisha with the growing tip leaves being green in color as opposed to bronze. There is sometimes confusion as to what is actually a Geisha and what is not. The most authoritative information on this is provided by World Coffee Research.
Coffee: Augusto Castillo
Roaster: Sweet Bloom, Lakewood, CO
Producer/Farm: Augusto Castillo
Origin/Region: Guatemala, Huehuetenango
Altitude: 1800 masl
Varieties: Bourbon, Typica, Maragogipe, Caturra
Dry Fragrance: fruity, berries, cane sugar
Tasting Notes: Tart apple, dense chocolate brownie and nougat make a harmonious and structured cup with this coffee from Sweet Bloom. The mouthfeel is syrupy, smooth and lightly juicy. The lingering aftertaste is very pleasant and the tart apple acidity is the perfect counterbalance to the sweet brownie and nougat flavor profile. As it cools the apple flavor notes subside a bit but the tartness holds on with the sweetness - the mark of a very good coffee.
Note: Lot #2 is available as of this date for ordering online.
Brew recommendations: I brewed this on Kalita and Origami for a good cup but the best brew was on the V60 as it really popped the apple notes and gave a denser, sweeter profile. I recommend a brew ratio of 1:16, water temperature of 203 degrees F and #17 on the Baratza Encore grinder and a TBT of 3:15-3:30 mins.
The Castillo family has been producing coffee in Huehuetenango, Guatemala for over 100 years. In the last three years, Augusto and his father have taken over the stewardship of that century-long legacy. Their farms, Colomba and MiraCerros, are located on steep hillsides at over 5,000 feet of elevation. This altitude, along with Augusto’s skill and care in growing and processing, are creating some of the finest Guatemalan coffees Sweet Bloom has ever been privileged to share. When asked, Augusto says he loves the opportunity to grow coffee. “I love being able to provide jobs and the income people need to improve their lives. And Huehue is such a beautiful place, and it makes such beautiful coffee.”