This coffee marks year two of us buying coffees from Peru with the help of our friends at Red Fox Coffee Merchants. They've been developing relationships in Southern Peru over the past few years but were drawn north to Coopbam. This association was developed by Conservation International to fight deforestation and promote socioeconomic development through coffee. With everything set and rolling in the right direction, Coopbam was left looking for a dedicated buyer who could help them get off the ground. (Check out Red Fox's article on Coopbam here) The first year started slowly with 30-40 bags of "solid coffee," but the harvest after then has been extraordinary. Hugo, the leader of the coop, pushed them deeper into the forest on the Amazonas side, where the coffees are elegant, juicy, and complex. Those characteristics are what first drew us into this coffee when Aleco brought this coffee to a public cupping at our roastery. As the coffees in Northern Peru continue to develop, we expect to see more across our cupping table.
WASHED PROCESSED COFFEES
Processing in coffee refers to the conversion of the raw coffee cherry into green coffee, a finished product for roasters to manipulate. Washed coffee can also be known as “wet processed.” It refers to the removal of the fruit that covers the beans (seeds) before they are laid to dry. To do this coffee cherries are then squeezed through a screen called a pulper. The fruit/skin travels down one shoot, while the coffee beans go into a large tank. The seeds at this point still are covered in a sticky, mucilage-like substance, think the stringy fruit left on a peach pit.
From here the coffee goes through a 24-hour fermentation. This step is a delicate time in processing where bacteria is eating and converting the mucilage and changing the flavor of the coffee. If this fermentation happens for too long and the coffee becomes vinegary, too little and you end up drying coffee with mucilage semi-intact. The coffee is washed several times to remove any remaining mucilage that is left.
Wanna know more about how we brew? Then visit our brew methods page cause "this is how we brew it" (think Montell Jordan when reading that last part).
FILTER – Clever Dripper
25g Coffee : 400g Water 205°F
~4:00 Drain Time
This coffee is sweet, like burnt sugar or molasses, but is brighter than traditional coffees from Peru. Look for balance when dialing-in this coffee with its notes of concord grape and tart apple. We liked the Clever Dripper, or other immersion recipes, for this coffee to draw out more sweetness and body to balance the complex acidity. We poured all our water at once and began the drawdown phase at 3:00. If your grind is too coarse and drains fast, under-extracts, it will taste tart and a little like peppers. If your grind is too fine and drains slow, over-extracts, it will taste drying like grape skin and artificial apple.
ESPRESSO – Modbar EP
Brew Temp: 198°F, Line Pressure: ~3.5 bars, Max Pressure: 9 bars
Pressure Profile: 0 sec to 4 sec - line pressure, from 4 sec till done - 9 bars
19.5g in : ~45g out @ ~27s
This coffee is easily soluble in an espresso machine. We could easily enjoy doses of 18g-19g with its delightful texture but found 19.5g gave us more sweetness. We found the best balance at 26s-27s brought out the pleasant grape, apple, and molasses notes. If this shot pulls too quickly, under-extracts, it tastes tart and sour, lacking sweetness. If this shot pulls too long, over-extracts, it is drying and still quite tart.
This coffee came to us with the help of our friends from Red Fox Coffee Merchants. They have been doing significant work in Peru, and that investment shows in the quality of this coffee. We purchased nineteen 69-kilo bags of this coffee for $3.65/lb and we cupped it at an 87.
• The Coffee Commodity purchase price was $1.10/lb when we purchased this coffee.
• The Fair Trade Coffee minimum price was $1.60/lb when we purchased this coffee.
We as a company believe transparency is unbelievably important. However, we decided only to list what is shown here because we don’t know where to stop. Do we list the amount of coffee lost in roasting due to moisture loss? Should we list our roaster Mark's salary? The warehouse rent? The utilities? The point of listing things above is not to justify what we charge or what we profit, but to give a realistic snapshot of the industry and how Specialty Coffee can be different than other commodity industries. If you have concerns feel free to email us and I’ll write you back when I’m available.
Relationship Coffee is an initiative we, at Onyx, have purposely created to describe our sourcing and buying practices and how we document them. Certifications like Direct Trade, Fair Trade, and others have impacted the coffee communities in mostly positive ways but also in some negative ways. We find that blanket terms and applying them to a multitude of business models no longer describes what we do.
In reality, every company is different, and we wanted to step out from the mold and create a new set of standards that exceeds in every department from quality to transparency to pricing. The growers, exporters, importers, associations, cooperatives, and other entities are always a set of relationships. To be honest, many are our friends as much as they are our producers and partners. We share information, family news, meals, housing, many faiths, and argue politics. Oh, and we love it. Relationship Coffee for Onyx is the mark of an honest exchange ethos that permeates our company, and we hope it encourages the growth of specialty coffee for the future.
We visited the farm or cupping lab and listened to the producer/agronomist or head cooperative/association to ascertain better knowledge about the culture and practices.
We cupped the coffee, and it scored to our industry-high standards.
We do not buy futures or multiple harvests to ensure that what we cupped for that year is what we serve.
We do not ask for exclusivity from producers, binding their options.
We pay what the coffee is worth. This always is at least double Fair Trade minimum due to the quality we buy, and many times is three to ten times the amount.
We do not finance any coffee. Cash flow is just as important as the final price. Coffee is paid in full upon delivery, and we pay a percentage upfront upon contracting.
We are completely transparent from price to logistics to cupping score, to who we work with buying and shipping coffee.
We work to set premiums after a contracted price to incentivize quality and community building. This can be .10¢ - .25¢ extra per pound or community projects such as school supplies in the growing village, sports jerseys, vented chimneys for kitchen fires, etc.