Honduras Clave de Sol Honey
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A microlot is generally defined as the highest quality beans of a harvest sorted out and sold separately. These beans then receive special honey-processing to bring out their full potential. So this small microlot won an award of recognition from the COMSA co-op, and they decided to allow the beans to be sold separately and traced back to the farmer. The farmer is Dania Penalba of the "Finca Clave de Sol" farm. It is rare to get a honey processed coffee out of Honduras, which usually exports washed process beans. He produced 37 bags of this coffee. It was harvested in April 2017 and made it to the USA in July 2017. It is certified fair trade and organic and packed in a GrainPro bag at origin to preserve absolute freshness.
It has more body than an African coffee, but otherwise, a lot of similarities exist. It is nicely sweet and smooth -- a "soft" coffee that you can mindlessly sip at all day. The undertones are that of fruits, with some red apple and stone fruit in the aftertaste. A few cuppers suggested "pinapple" but I am thinking more of a "peach" experience. The coffee is normal enough that the average person won't shun it -- but the connoisseur can certainly appreciate its sweetness and subtleties.
But where I really got excited was when we decided to try it as espresso and took it almost to the 2nd cracks. At that roast level, as espresso, it is creamy and intensely chocolatey. Over half the shot was crema and the taste was incredible with only slight bitterness.
By definition, a honey coffee has had the sugars of the coffee fruit imbued into the pit during the processing, so it is a delicate bean that is susceptible to scorching. Home roasting units won't have a problem, but if you have a large drum roaster, don't preheat it above 350 degrees. Charging your drum too hot before dropping the beans into it will scorch them and ruin your batch. Once the roast is underway, nudge the heat up gently, evenly, get it through the 1st cracks, maybe wait 30-40 more seconds, let it out. If in doubt, err on the side of being too light. For coffee, we do a "City Roast" on this one. A few degrees darker than a natural Ethiopian, but not anywhere close to 2nd cracks. As you get darker, its still nice, but it loses its undertones. As you get into the 2nd cracks the sugars burn and it loses its appeal altogether. Try to keep the roast at 15 minutes or less. We also turn the exhaust fan down towards the end which lets the smoke mingle with the beans and speeds up the roast without adding more flame.
US Arrival July 2017
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