I’m back this week with Part 2 looking at the Finca Los Planes Estate Series from PT’s Roasting Co. This Estate Series offering features one Pacamara Varietal coffee from the Los Planes Farm processed three different ways. This offering was particularly interesting to me because I always kind of wondered what would happen if a coffee was processed in a different way than it’s offered. For example, a lot of single origin Kenyan coffees are washed and a lot of Ethiopian coffees, from the Yirgacheffe region in particular, are naturally processed. A lot of that has to do with what suits that particular region’s coffee fruit, climate, geographical and logistical challenges, and infrastructure available, so the option is just never there. That’s what made this opportunity to try one coffee, from one farm, via three different processing methods that much more interesting.
Now that I’ve had a good proper chance to really dial in each coffee, brew multiple cups, and compare them side by side, I was pretty surprised by the results. What was most surprising as that the differences were not as drastic as I would have thought. I was also quite surprised that I preferred the washed coffee the most. I’ve long loved the heavier body and bolder flavors of naturals (specifically Ethiopian naturals), so I went into this thinking I would find the natural process to be my favorite, the washed to be lacking body or oomph, and the honey process to land somewhere in between.
What I found was that the coffee’s characteristics really didn’t change that much across the different processing methods. By in large, you could tell it was the same coffee. Differences were more subtle than stark, and characteristics were more shared than differentiating. The natural process option did have the most body, but I also found the flavors to be more muddled and slightly less interesting because it was not as nuanced. Whereas the washed coffee was my favorite because of its nuanced flavors and layered depth.
I found all to be best when brewed on the 02 size Hario V60 and the following recipe:
- 1 : 16-17 gram ratio - 20 grams in to 330 - 340 grams out.
- 197*F water with a 30 second stirred, 50 gram bloom.
- First pour to 180 grams or so, stirring.
- Steady subsequent pours to keep the water level around that same mark after the first pour.
- 2:15 - 2:30 total brew time.
The washed offering undergoes an additional sorting process through a 17/18 screen to keep only the largest beans and create a very consistent roast. This coffee is described as having a, "brown sugar and citrus aroma, silky body, and bright acidity. When brewed this cup features a clementine flavor and the sweetness of apple juice. The finish is sugary and clean with a note of mandarin orange." I always wonder if these descriptions are written by super tasters when cupping, because I don't think I got anywhere near that level of intricacy. However, I can definitely say this was by far the most layered, nuanced, complex, and interesting of the three coffees, for my tastes.
The Pulped-Natural or Honey processed coffee is described as having, "a creamy body and juicy acidity. It features a sweet maple syrup and melon aroma that carries into the brewed cup with a flavor of cantaloupe and feature a dried date sweetness. The finish is sophisticated with a note of pistachio." The coffee was a pleasant balance between the washed and the natural with a bit more juiciness, but overall the difference between the three is narrowed that much more with the inclusion of this hybrid method.
At $30 for 16.5 ounces of coffee, this wasn't cheap, but I'm very glad I picked it up. PT's tends to advertise leading up to the release, they roast on a specific date, and that's it. Be sure to keep an eye out for their next one by checking their website or joining their mailing list.
As a last bit of follow up, I'm still working through some of their Southpaw espresso blend, and although I had great things to say about it here, it's getting even better with more rest! The coffee at 10 days post roast is becoming sweeter, more balanced, and even more complex. The additional balance makes this approachable enough for someone venturing into lighter roasted espresso, but the layered sweetness keeps people of all experience levels happy. Be sure to pick up a bag. $20 for 1 pound is not cheap, but man is it good!