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Cupping Room May 2010

It is spring just outside the doors of our cupping room, so blooming dogwood and cherry trees are comingling their scents with that of new lilac. Similar arrangements are duplicated daily in many of our cuppings. The past few months we have been roasting and cupping table after table of day lot and separation lot samples in order to build the lots that are now beginning to make their long journey to our cups. Pre-ship samples for coffees from Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua are beginning to roll across our table. Mid-May will see a release of five or six of the Guatemalan lots, as well as coffees from Costa Rica and Nicaragua by the end of the month and into June.

The big Central American story this year comes from Luis Pedro Zelaya and Zelcafe in Guatemala. The amount and level of quality available this season due to the impeccable work of Luis Pedro and his company has been truly astounding. Several of these are selections we know from last year, while some are new. The first of these, the Bella Carmona-Antigua Buenavista came from a farm personally owned and run by Luis Pedro which was processed at his family’s wet mill that they have owned and operated since 1908. This coffee has some of the classic Bourbon characteristics of clove, ripe plum and silken mouth feel married to the Caturra’s bright acidity and apricot and maple-like sweetness. It walked into our warehouse just yesterday and is ready for your cup.

A returning Antiguan lot from Luis Pedro is this year’s Guatemala Finca Semillero. The Tekisik varietal that makes up this entire lot is a dwarf mutation of Bourbon and has similar characteristics. It’s even heavier mouth feel is balanced with a complex and layered acidity that at times tastes like candied orange or tangerine, while at others suggests pink lemonade. This is a micro-lot exclusive to Stumptown. There is very little of this available and it will last a month or less, so grab some immediately. Because of its limited number of bags, it will only be available in Portland and on the web.

Another new Guatemalan addition is the Finca Puerta Verde. The Minondo family, fourth-generation coffee producers and farm owners, introduced us to this lot which is a combination of Caturra, Catuai and Bourbon varietals. We have roasted and cupped this coffee several times over the last few weeks. Sometimes we sense a toasted almond aroma while other times we are reminded of toasted hazelnut (must be the Oregon in us). We do agree on the rose, rose hips, butter and green grape flavor notes revealed by the profile.