Counter Culture caught my attention right away listing flavor descriptors, "vanilla, grape, and almond," on this washed Catura varietal from the Narino region of Colombia. Described as being roasted at a "75" on a scale of 1 - 100, with 100 being the lightest, this lightly roasted coffee nails the flavor descriptors offering great balance and subtlety while still being developed enough to work well as espresso and brewed coffee.
As brewed coffee using the 02 size Ceramic Hario V60, and targeting 340-360 gram yields, I found the coffee to strike the best balance with brews timing out around 2:30. When pushed beyond 3:00 the coffee became heavier in body, but a bit thick, muddled, and over extracted. When brewing at the following recipe, the coffee was balanced and nuanced with subtle grape juiciness and a predominant vanilla - almond sweetness that pleasantly lingered.
- 21.8 grams in to 350 grams out using 200*F water
- 60 gram stirred bloom for 30 seconds
- Pour to 210 - 220 grams, stir
- Consistent pours to keep all ground evenly saturated
- 2:30 total brew time, including bloom
As espresso the grape juiciness provided the very mild acidity in the sides of the cheeks, the vanilla provided a silky mouth feel and mid-palette sweetness, and the almond flavor was very pronounced. This coffee was not the prettiest of pours through the 18 gram VST basket even when using WDT, but was well balanced and very tasty when pulled at:
- 18.3 grams in 18 gram VST basket
- 36-39 grams out
- 28 seconds, cutting the pump pressure out the last 5 seconds of the flow.
- 200*F water
Just like when brewed, shots pulled too tight or much over 33 seconds became muddled and heavy. Shots around 40 grams yield and under 32 seconds were good, balanced, mild, but a bit thin in body. I found keeping the flow a bit fast and pulling a full normale to strike the best balance.
This especially rang true when combined with milk. These shots made for some absolutely killer cappuccinos that tasted like sweetened vanilla almond milk, and in the best way possible. The almond flavor was super predominant with milk and was easily one of the best capps I've had in quite a while.
Available for $18.25 for a 12 ounce bag on Counter Culture's really easy to understand and well laid out new website. Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter for promotions and a coupon code for your first order.