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Every morning during the week, we make our coffee in our Wilfa automatic. We sit with it for a while, sort out our day ahead, and then we go off to work. On the weekends we have more time to hang out with the coffee and soak it up, so we bring home a new or especially intriguing coffee that’s been rocking us and brew it in a Chemex. Why a Chemex? The long answer is for another blog post, but the short answer is we have found that the Chemex really captures all of the essential aspects of a coffee for us in a very balanced way that’s halfway between the Hario V60 and French Press brewing styles. Now that we have some extra quarantine time (QT), we thought we'd share this first installment of the Saturday Morning Chemex with you. We might be cooped up, but a little time spent with a well-produced coffee from far away can quickly transport us to another breezy mind space.
We chose this lovely coffee from Finca Villa Losada for our inaugural Chemex because it excited us from the moment it landed on our cupping table. Aldemar Losada grows this blend of Red and Yellow Caturra and a small amount of Typica beans high up near Santa Maria in the Huila department of Colombia. Many of our favorite Colombian coffees have come from Huila. We have found that when roasted just so, they often share the characteristics of a deeply sweet cherry dipped in gooey chocolate. Pure coffee enjoyment (PCE).
The profile of this coffee goes well beyond our previous experiences with Huila coffees. The fragrance of the dry grounds was like lightly grilled sugar cane. In the cup, there are several stone fruits, but they are ripe apricot and white peach, not cherry. The mouth feel at the beginning has a pithiness to it like an apricot or peach that changes halfway through to a creamy almost marzipan that finishes with vanilla and almond. All of these notes sound clear and composed like those of a quintet who has played together for years. We think the clarity, prominence, and balance of these notes is a result of the double fermentation process Losada used for this microlot.
Double fermentation is a process by which the cherries are fermented for 12-24 hours right after they are picked. These cherries are then depulped (skins removed by mechanical mill) and fermented again for perhaps 24-48 hours to soften the remain mucilage or fruit meat so it is easy to remove in the agitation phase. The two fermentation phases produce two aspects in the cup profile: 1) the longer contact time of the mucilage on the seeds saturates the beans with sugars and acids that enhance the aroma and flavor and 2) the second, longer fermentation phase ensures a much cleaner bean that it easier to grade and separate for quality.
This is a lot of extra work for a farmer and producer. As you can imagine, this extra work carries corresponding extra costs in labor and equipment, but it shows up in the cup. This is a clear example of what sets specialty coffees apart from run-of-the-mill coffees that people over roast in order to hide their deficiencies. This extra work and its resulting, extra deliciousness is why we we select and pay more for our coffees like Aldemar Losada’s. May the sweetness of this special coffee get you through your days.