#whatsCTpulling : Epic Espresso from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

I have to say, I’m very excited about the next few week’s posts, and the coffees they will be covering from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters.  The Vancouver based roaster has two opportunities up now where you can buy the same coffee at two different roast levels/profiles.  Both the Ethiopia Deri and the Papua New Guinea Sero Bebes Single Origin coffees are available as SOF – single origin filter or SOE – single origin espresso, the Ethiopia Deri SOE in the form of their rotating seasonal light roast espresso, “Epic Espresso”. 

You don’t see this very often from roasters, and it will be my first time digging into the same coffee, roasted two different ways, with two different brewing methods in mind.  I plan on comparing both the SOE and SOF side by side and even brewing the SOE and pulling shots of the SOF.  I’m starting with the Ethiopia Deri, and this week’s post dives into the espresso roast of it, Epic Espresso. 

According to a response I received from 49th, the espresso specific offerings have a slightly different / more developed roast profile than the filter specific offerings.  You can just barely see that the espresso, on the left, is a touch darker than the filter; this is a little bit more noticeable in person.  This coffee is an Heirloom varietal from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia, characterized for being very sweet and clean.  49th’s recommended espresso parameters are:

18 grams in 18g VST Basket
40-41g out in 28-32 seconds
200*F @ 7bars of pressure

I’m not sure if 49th is using a large flat burr grinder, but I found the shots through the VST baskets to be lacking and unbalanced when ground on my Compak K10 Pro Barista, which has large conical burrs.  When pulling to the recommended recipe or tightening up and going longer, the shots were thin, acidic, and a bit harsh.  Increasing dose and/or tightening the grind, even really tightening the grind, didn't seem to change this much.  Even when first drops from the bottomless portafilter were a slow 9-10 seconds, once the coffee began to flow, the body was lacking and the acidity untamed.  Although this could be on the user end, I didn't have any channeling or dead spots and was able to manipulate time - more just that flow was fast and thin.  

I then tried to slow the extraction to coax out more body and tame the acidity by changing the dose and filter basket.  I started dosing 19.2 grams in the IMS Precision 16/20 double basket and running the shot to 41 grams or so out in 37 seconds and started pulling some really tasty shots.  Noting that 49th recommends lower pressures, I did a modified declining pressure profile by cutting the pump at 30-32 seconds but not lowering the brew lever all the way down to activate the 3-way valve, so the shots actually ran out to 37 seconds a boiler pressure.  Pulling shots this way resulted in a lot more body, consistency, texture, crema, and flavor.  The acidity, though still bright as this coffee is supposed to be, was tamed and it was very sweet and clean.  The coffee has a subtle floral honey sweetness to it, with a very bright, sweet-lemon like acidity, and had a lot more clarity overall.  The IMS basket naturally holds and needs a higher dose than the VST, so this wasn’t really a high dose, but it also allowed me to coarsen the grind.

I would say that in general, coffees with brighter acidity like this one don’t do as well in milk, but this one was okay, producing a sweet/creamy cappuccino, though I probably wouldn’t let it sit too long in milk, and do think it shines best on its own. 


As a pourover in the V60:

 I tried the same parameters that have been netting delicious cups from the SOF Ethiopia Deri:

  • 1 : 16.5 ratio – 20 grams to 330 grams in this case through the 02 size Hario V60.
  • 30 second bloom with 40 grams of water
  • Pour to 200 grams and then stir
  • Pour to about 285 grams
  • Final pour, rinsing the sides, with a total drawdown of 2:45.

I have been very much enjoying the Deri Filter so far, but didn't include it this week, because I have not had a chance to try it as espresso yet, but this Epic Espresso (the Deri SOE) is basically a more simple version of the Deri filter, which shows a lot of complexity.  It would make a great, very approachable, smooth cup.  It had hints of some of the sweet, Chai tea like spice I was getting from the filter version, you could tell it was the same coffee, just didn't have quite as much transparency or depth to it.  I would say, being that this one sold as espresso, I don't fault them for this, but I did want to try it as a brewed cup when comparing both the SOE and the SOF.    

Overall, this is a coffee I’m having a lot of fun working with and enjoying as espresso now that it’s dialed in.  49th does a nice post about where the Deri comes from here

I absolutely love 49th’s packaging and give a huge tip of the hat to them for selling their espresso in whole pound bags, rather than 12 ounces.  Be sure to take advantage of free shipping on orders over $65, and the favorable USD / CAD exchange rate.  $19.75 / 1lb bag here.