About the bean
Our new batch of Nicaragua FTO makes us think of balmy nights and basking in the pause of the season. This is a smooth, creamy cup, pleasant and sweet (even a bit nutty), with a chocolate finish (that ranges from caramel to baker's chocolate depending on the roast). A fine summer companion, easy to sit with, and that's what these slow-down days are calling us to do.
Nicaragua coffee is known for quality and, increasingly, variety of flavour. Most of the country's offerings are shade grown and cultivated at high altitudes. The world's largest coffee beans (elephant beans) are produced here. Typically, beans from this region are similar in character to other Central Americans but Nicaraguans are the mild ones of the bunch.
Summer fine. Deep dive into this coffee pause.
Region: San Juan del Rio Coco, Madriz
Supplier: Procafe RL Cooperative (approx. 90 small-holder farmers)
Process: Sun dried, washed Arabica
Certification: Fair Trade, Organic, Smithsonian Bird Friendly (Bird friendly, organic, shade-grown coffee supports bird conservation, a healthy environment and the livelihood of small-scale farm owners).
Process: Sun and mechanically dried
Altitude: 900 - 1,900 masl.
SHG: Strictly high-grown
EP: European Process (Indicates the coffee has undergone rigorous sorting - usually by hand to ensure defective beans and foreign material have been removed).
Full City roast profile brewed in a French Press: This is the sweet spot. The bean's brightness is balanced by a pronounced sweetness and a smooth, round body; a most enjoyable brew. Opt for a pour over brew for more expression or a plunge-press for amped-up body. A lighter roast (City) gave us a muted sweetness (stone fruit, roasted chestnut) and a medium to high acidity; the nutty flavour really developed on the cool-down.
Embrace the darkness - this is a bean suited to a Vienna roast, espresso and for chillin' (cold-brew style). And that's what we did!
Cold Brew (Full City roast, coarse ground) brewed in a Bodum Bean Cold Brew Ice Coffee Maker: Using a 1 to 4 coffee-water ratio, we let this one sit overnight and supped our chill Nicaraguan for breakfast. What a delight! At this temperature, we have a more fruity cup (watermelon, a touch of cucumber) with a splash of nut. This is just the ticket for a hot summer night; maybe even add a dash of cream or milk. So nice.
Roast recommendation: The dark side. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
We have our favourites, too!
Ah, Brazil. There's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil ... But we keep going back to this one because it's our favourite from this coffee producing powerhouse.
Our Brazil Planalto is sourced from the family-run Planalto Estate in the highlands of Nova Rezende, in the south of Mina Gerais - the country's main producer of milk and coffee. The farm's 3,600-foot altitude and surrounding natural forest create a unique microclimate, perfect for growing high-quality coffee.
The Taste Test
Hario V60 drip brew - American Roast
Very aromatic during the brewing process. This is a particularly well-balanced coffee with some jazz to it - yellow fruits and a medium-high brightness. This bean is one we enjoy because it offers more than the typical bean from Brazil, although it does offer nutty notes and good body as you might expect from a Brazilian coffee; the Planalto brings some extra special.
French Press - Full City Roast
Notes of chocolate and nut emerged at this roast profile. A Full City cup proffered a sweet and pleasant coffee; most enjoyable.
The Brazilian Planalto is a great pick for espresso, drip brews and, if it were summer, cold brews.
Species: Arabica, single origin
Cultivar: Yellow Catuai / Mundo Novo
Altitude: 1,200 m
Flavour: Citrus, slight berry; rich and caramelized.
Certifications: Humaniterra Foundation, UTZ Certified, Aliment préparé au Québec
Roasting recommendation: Nice light; medium to dark is also just right.
Beyond the cup
The Planalto Estate covers 350 acres of strictly preserved native forest and vegetation. Liquid wastes from coffee processing are recycled and treated. Coffee pulp is reused for its nutritional value.
Estate employees enjoy a full range of benefits, as well as salaries above the regional average. Worker safety is a priority.
About the bean
Strictly Soft (SS) | Fine Cup (FC)
The Swiss Water Process begins with pure water and ends with amazing coffee that is 99.9% caffeine free.
Brazilian beans with a 17/18 screen size tend to be a more consistent, higher quality offering without the pungent floral notes associated with smaller, less mature beans.
Fine Cup (FC) beans are a specialty grade coffee. Strictly Soft (SS) beans are grown at relatively low altitudes (under 4,000 ft).
Medium body, chocolate and nut notes. Good for both drip and espresso.View full product details
About the bean
We like a strong cup in the morning that's more of a classic brew: good body, sensitive to our new-day tummies, and reliably flavorful - chocolatey sweet and nutty; no big shakes but not a dull drink, either. The Cerrado is consistently this and more: we use the Cerrado for all of our coffee whims - espresso, specialty options, cold brew, blends ... And the price is so nice! Just what we need for this time of year as we move into darker days and find ourselves gobbling our caffeine supplies a little/lot more than we have been.
Sweet, nutty and priced to please.
This coffee is an SS/FC grade - what does that mean?
FC (Fine Cup): Indicates specialty grade coffee.
SS (Strictly Soft): Grown at relatively low altitudes.
We sampled the Cerrado as a City and City+ roast brewed in a Hario V60 pour over (for the City) and a French press (for the City+), as we do, to give you a sense of a new crop in the cup. At the City roast, the Cerrado gave us that Good-Morning-Wake-Up we were after. Sweet and strong with a syrupy body and a chocolate belly. Softly acidic.
At a Full City+ we enjoyed a more mellow result, which is surprising for a darker roast profile. The sweetness remained pronounced, the body grew heavier and the nutty notes came out to play. A stronger flavour overall.
We also put the Full City+ to work as a latte. The Cerrado's sweet, nutty character performed to good effect here; nicely uniform and tasty.
Roast recommendation: City to Full City (soft bean, will roast quickly). For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.
About the bean
We're so reliant on the Brazilian Peaberry, we never stop to consider this frontline workhorse as a bean study for our Coffee of the Week series. And, yet, the Bra Pea (as we call it) is our go-to for espresso ... everything. It's the only bean we always have available in our servery. No Bra Pea? Lights out, folks.
And the price is marvellous. Peaberries can be a bit on the pricey side because they're unique - they're the only child of their coffee cherry; one seed is fertilized instead of two, leading some folks to believe the peaberry offers a more intense and sweeter flavour profile than twin-seed normals, and other perceived merits. Peaberries do tend to be hand-sorted because that's usually how these mutant darlings of the coffee world are discovered, so that increases the price right there. Peaberries also make for an easier roast because their small, typically uniform size produces a more consistent result. On that score, the Brazilian Peaberry, in particular, makes an excellent starter bean for the novice roaster - the price is forgiving and the Bra Pea makes the journey worthwhile.
Our servery staple and a humble star - espresso, blends and a punchy standalone.
Region: Vale da Grama
Source: Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama
Process: Natural and Pulped Natural
Drying Method: Greenhouses, Raised beds, Concrete patio, Asphalt patio
Altitude: 1,100-1,250 masl.
Brightness: Medium (acidity)
Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama, located in Brazil's prestigious Vale da Grama region, has been a family affair since 1890. The farm was originally established by Inês Carvalho Dias, a young widow at the time who knew a good property investment when she saw one. The farm's steep, rolling topography makes mechanization difficult so most work is done by hand. Social and environmental sustainability is a foremost priority here: native species are planted for increased ecological balance; wastewater is treated to avoid polluting the site's waterways. The farm offers a school and other benefits to staff and their families, including housing.
We played around with a medium roast profile and enjoyed a strong base of cocoa, top notes of ripe fruit and a nice chocolate sweetness (just enough). Good body. Expect a strong, flavorful brew with little in the way of complexity. Reviews of the Brazilian Peaberry have always impressed us over time - folks really dig this humble star.
Roast recommendation: City to Full City. For an explanation of our different roasts, see here: http://greenbeanery.ca/pages/roasting-chart.