For this fortnight's exclusive Fresh Crop content, Bessie shares her recipes for brewing with our new Guatemala Las Rocas washed coffee - one recipe for filter, and one for espresso!
This coffee hails from the Huehuetenango region, a location renowned for coffee production in the highlands of West Guatemala. Coffees from Guatemala have a reputation for high quality, which is due to a combination of a couple of things.
First, the country has ideal growing conditions: consistent rainfall, high altitude and mineral-rich soil. Second, the country has fostered a focus on improving production and processing methods.
Above: Guatemala's Huehuetenango region
Most of the coffee in Guatemala is shade grown, which is known to be better for both coffee quality and the environment: fostering ecosystems, diversity, and healthier soil, whilst also improving air quality.
Historically, most of the coffees processed in Guatemala have been fully washed (such as this one), although producers are now exploring other processing methods, with great results.
What I personally find interesting about coffees is the stories of the people behind them. In this case, the company behind the coffee - Vides 1958 - is led by Renard Ovall, a third-generation coffee farmer.
Above: Producer Renardo Ovalle
He named the company after his grandfather, Jorge Vides, who founded Finca La Bolsa in 1958. The family now own two additional farms: Finca El Rincon and Finca Las Terrazas.
Jorge was working full time as a medical doctor when he founded the farm as a passion project. His humanitarian values influenced the way he ran the farm and his approach still runs deep in the Ovalle family. This is evidenced by the numerous social projects they are involved in to improve the lives of their employees.
Above: A farmer at La Bolsa
For example, they have a daycare facility for their employees’ children, provide healthy meals and actively choose to pay a higher wage than most other farms in Guatemala. Jorge also founded a school in 1980, which still operates today.
Vides 1958 is still very much a family affair, with Renardo’s wife Jacqueline and his parents working for the company. Jacqueline is a certified Q-grader, which is a rigorous qualification pertaining to the ability to grade and score coffees.
Above: Picked cherries at La Bolsa
In fact, the Ovalle family is one of the most highly regarded Guatemalan families in the world of specialty coffee and their coffees have won many Cup of Excellence awards.
Las Rocas is a truly delicious coffee, with a special history behind it. We tasted soft melon, grapefruit, hazelnut, dark cacao and caramel in the cup with a creamy finish.
FILTER RECIPE: PLUNGER
I’ve chosen to create a plunger or French Press recipe for you. Plunger is what we call a ‘full immersion’ brew method, which means that the coffee and the brewing water steep together during the brew.
This extended contact time between the coffee and water creates a bolder beverage with a full body and heavy mouthfeel.
Because we have a longer extraction time, it’s best to use a very coarse grind for this style, as a fine grind would get over extracted.
I like to decant the coffee once the brew is complete, which helps to avoid that ‘stewiness’ that can be typical of plunger coffee. You can use either filter or espresso roast coffee in a plunger; I’ve created this with the filter roast Guatemala Las Rocas.
Fill your kettle with filtered water. If you’re using a digital kettle, set it 96°C. If you’re boiling water on the stove, just let it sit for a couple of minutes after it has boiled.
Grind your coffee on a coarse setting.
Place the ground coffee in the plunger chamber and set it on the scale and tare. Start your timer as you begin to pour the hot water over the coffee. Keep filling with water until the scale reads 500g (500mL).
Stir the coffee with a bamboo paddle to ensure all the grinds are saturated. Let your brew steep for 3 minutes.
Plunge the coffee slowly, making sure not to press too hard on the bed of coffee grind at the end - this will help to ensure you don’t end up with sediment in your brew. Decant the brew into a carafe. This will stop the extraction and ensure the brew doesn’t become bitter and over extracted. Serve!
ESPRESSO RECIPE: BREVILLE BAMBINO PLUS
I’ve created this recipe on the Breville Bambino Plus. You may have to adjust the dose depending on the size of your basket - if you do, just be sure to adjust your yield too, according to the ratio.
This recipe produced a delicious espresso, and tasted great with milk too!
Extraction time: 32 sec
Grind size: Fine - 8 on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro
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