I've had nothing but great coffee from Ruby Coffee Roasters in the past, so when I saw them release an espresso specific version of one of their newest single origins, Cerro La Cruz, I had to pull the trigger. Ruby will be releasing 5 different lots from four different farms that get processed at the Cerro La Cruz processing station. This particular lot of Caturra and Red Catuai varietals is honey processed making it kind of a cross between a washed and a natural processed coffee.
Ruby lists the coffee as having tasting notes of apricot jam, caramel, chocolate cake, and cream. My first shot just 3 days off roast nailed a creamy rich and sweet espresso with a big chocolate cake like finish. In days 3-5 off roast date, shots were pulling at 18 grams in to 36 grams out in 30 seconds, right in line with Ruby's 1:2 ratio in 30 seconds starting parameters. The coffee was filling the demitasse and was very big and fluffy due to it still be a bit on the too fresh side and having a lot of C02 still. What is interesting is that around day 6, the coffee starting pulling shorter and tighter, and actually required a coarser grind to follow those parameters, which kind of goes against the grain of the norm.
In general, I did find their 1:2 ratio in 30 seconds to be pretty accurate, using an 18 gram VST basket. After adjusting the grind coarser on day 7 off roast, much of the chocolate cake flavor went away and the coffee was a little less "creamy" but still very thick, syrupy, and with a ton of honey sweetness and acidity that I suppose came from the apricot jam flavors.
The coffee held up well in milk drinks all the way up to a full 8 ounce latte, though I did find it difficult to pick up any distinct flavors when combined with milk other than, "good cappuccino".
I was able eek out brewing two cups with this coffee in an effort to weigh it against the white honey processed, non-espresso specific roast of Costa Rica Cerro La Cruz, and actually preferred it brewed against the white honey process. Though, with just two cups it was inconclusive and I think this coffee does best as a single origin espresso, it seemed to have a little more acidity and brightness than the El Micro White Honey Lot, but more on that next week.
Overall, this has been another great coffee from Ruby and a very well balanced, interesting, and delicious single origin espresso that I'm really happy I bought. $18 for a 12 ounce bag with free shipping on orders over $50.