#WhatsCTpulling : Mountain Air and Cartel Coffee Lab

Mountain Air Roasting

I've been on a kick the last two months with one of my favorite roasters, Mountain Air.  Mountain Air is a small and passionate roaster out of Asheville, North Carolina that kicks out some seriously delicious coffees at great prices.  Marshall, the owner and head roaster is always seeking improvement and really makes sure every coffee shines.  Shipping is always free, but be sure to order 4 or more bags to reap the 30% discount!  As a bonus, if you place orders early enough in the day, they usually ship same day or early the next (business day).  More often than not, the coffee is still too fresh when it gets to me.  

Slightly older pic, but you get the idea.

Slightly older pic, but you get the idea.

  • Black Balsam has been a Mtn Air staple for years and is always consistently delicious.  As proof of how they are always seeking improvement, they're actually discontinuing as of May 1, 2016.  Get it while you can, it just makes a good, smooth, sweet cup, plain and simple.  
    • As espresso, I typically shoot for 1:2 or slightly less ratio in 30s from a VST basket or around 32-35s from a slightly slower basket like the IMS precision or Espresso Parts HQ double baskets.  I typically pull around 200F, and the most fun thing about this coffee is that I've pulled it hot, cool, short, long, fast, and slow and it yields delicious and different results.  
    • For brewed coffee, it makes a nice smooth, sweet, balance cup.  Nothing intricate particularly palate catching, but good.  Shoot for a 1:16 brewing ratio.
  • La Primavera by Gilberto Perdomo is a fantastic filter brewed coffee.  Very complex, sweet, fruited, slightly floral and smooth!  
    • My favorite cups were 1:15.5 ratio in 2:15 @201F through the V60.  
  • Chelchele DP - sadly it doesn't look like they have this one currently, but anytime they have a natural processed Ethiopian, I usually jump.  This makes for a great single origin espresso, or a more fruited and sweet brewed cup.  
    • My highlight shot was 18g : 39g in 27s @201F in the VST basket for a berries and cream shot, with just a hint of citrus and spice.
Mountain Air's coffees are good brewed and as espresso.

Mountain Air's coffees are good brewed and as espresso.

So, you probably get the idea that I like what Mountain Air does.  Be sure to check them out for very good, well price coffees.


Cartel Coffee Lab

Local hero, Cartel focuses on single origin coffees that tend to be a little lighter on the roast spectrum and are usually South America heavy, which is not a bad thing at all.  This one I had to buy after pulling a shot with it on a Olympia Cremina lever machine, which resulted in a short cup of fruit loops syrup!  Now, I couldn't replicate that on my pump driven machine, even at lower brew pressures, but I have focused my efforts into making a great pour over cup with it, and that it does.  This is their Miravalle Santa Ana from El Salvador.  It's a washed coffee That has been brewing great cups on the slightly faster side, resulting in caramel apple sweetness with some floral notes as well.  My go to brewing parameters are:

  • 1:16 in 2:15 to 2:30 @205F through the V60, really focusing on extraction.  To do this, I make sure to give it a very good and even 30s bloom and add a thorough stirring after the first pour. 
20g of glory

20g of glory