This week's coffee: Guatemala 'Chajul'
This past weekend I recieved a note from my friend Eric, who had ordered a pound of our coffee online. He told me that he had decided to go with one of our lighter roasted, Full City selections, the Guatemalan 'Chajul' Organic/Fair Trade. As Alexander roasted up a fresh batch, for Eric and a plethora of our wholesale accounts, I realized that I hadn't brewed up the Guatemalan in at least two weeks, and I was dying to taste it again.
The standard brew, here at the shop, for tasting coffees is done in a Melitta cone brewer. This is a low-tech method that requires a Melitta cone, a two cup pyrex pitcher, non bleached coffee filter, and 33 grams of Full City coffee ground at a 'drip' level (more coarse than espresso, more fine than French Press). Once I had all of my tools and ingredients, I began to boil my water. Here at Mocha Joe's, we boil the water to 198 degrees, as we have found that this brings out all of the flavor without scorching the grounds.
While I waited for the water to boil, I threw on some good coffee tunes – Leonard Cohen's 'Chelsea Hotel', and googled Guatemala for some fun facts. For instance, did you know that the name Guatemala comes from a Mayan word for 'land of the tress'? I sighed and thought of how much I'd like to put Guatemala on the list of countries I've been to on my travels.
I heard the water boiling, and checked it with my old-school mercury thermometer – I was close to 198, so I dumped my grounds into the Melitta cone and, once I reached temperature, I poured.
It's important on the initial pour to cover all of the grounds evenly and let the water slowly work it's way through the coffee. Only pour once, then wait for the grounds to expand and foam a bit, this is called 'the bloom'. After the bloom, and once all of the initial pour has gone through, pour again and continue until you reach 2 cups.
The first flavor that I tasted was a subtle dark chocolate with a touch of caramel, alongside a bright and tingly mouthfeel. As it began to cool, the fruity acidity of the brew jumped out at me. The fruit flavor was, at first, hard to place, but then I realized it actually tasted like coffee fruit. For anyone who has never had the chance to taste a coffee cherry, you can always come and snag one off of our coffee tree here in the roasting shop. The taste, to me, is like a cross between a nectarine and a sweet Michigan cherry.
I decided to finish my cup on the porch, overlooking the scenic Connecticut River and the majestic Mount Wantastiquet. I gazed out, inhaled the crisp Vermont winter air and sipped the next bit of coffee. At this point I noticed heavy chocolate and nut flavors coming out. The diversity of flavor from when I first brewed it was astounding. Great coffees, such as this Guatemalan, can have dramatic flavor changes as they cool and this one had gone from chocolate to fruit, and then did a complete 360 back to chocolate, but now with a hint of macadamia nut. The last sip was sweet and savory and left a brilliant flowery and nutty aftertaste.
This 100% Organic and Fair Trade selection consistantly pleases the pallate and is ideal for those who want a medium bodied, light roasted, Central American brew. This is an ideal morning brew which would be complemented brilliantly by a chocolate filled croissant.
Kudos to my pal Eric M. in Michigan, for picking a great coffee and inspiring me to brew it again!