I’m finally getting around to posting the second of the coffees I received from Blueprint Coffee when I visited St. Louis in August. This review is of Blueprint’s San Andres, an interesting coffee from El Salvador. It is available directly from Blueprint Coffee for $17.50 for a 12oz bag.
This coffee comes from the farm of Fredy Recinos, who has been producing coffee since 2004. He has a 15-hectare farm planted with Bourbon, Pacamara, Yellow Catuai, Gesha and Pacas. Fredy’s farm is located in Chalatenango, a coffee growing region in the north-central part of El Salvador. It has a cooler climate than the more well-known Santa Ana region and coffee is a bit tougher to source there because it’s more remote. 1
This particular coffee is grown at 1700masl and is honey-processed. Honey processed coffees are sort of an “in between” between fully washed coffees and dry processed/naturals. Honey coffees are picked and the cherries are removed, but some degree of the sticky mucilage (“honey”) is left behind. Washed coffees go to a fermentation tank where the mucilage will be fermented away, but honey coffees skip this step and go straight onto the drying beds. The mucilage sticks to the parchment and tends to give these coffees more body and a fruitier, sweeter flavor.
Blueprint’s website says the label for this coffee lists it as Pacamara, but it is actually Pacas. I wondered about that because the beans are not gigantic, like Pacamara, and are more of a standard coffee size. Pacas is one of the “parents” of the Pacamara hybrid.
Unlike most coffee roasters, Blueprint Coffee gives minimal tasting notes, which I like a lot because it leaves it up to the drinker to decide what they are tasting. Flavors and aromas are extremely susceptible to suggestion, which is why I try my hardest to not look at tasting notes until after I’ve done my own work! Blueprint does use a sort of tasting graph on each coffee bag that shows Body, Brightness and Sweetness. On the San Andres, the graph points to maximum body and sweetness with minimal brightness.
I had this coffee as an espresso when I visited Blueprint Coffee last month. It was full-bodied and had a lot of dark chocolate and cherry flavors for me. At home I prepared it as both AeroPress and in my notNeutral Gino pourover, producing quite different cups.
The AeroPress had a sweet, brown sugar aroma with a medium-light body. It was quite bright, with a crisp, malic acidity that reminded me of a honeycrisp apple. There was a definite berry-like note in the finish, probably from the bit of ferment that a honey process coffee gets while it dries. As the cup cooled I also picked up a lot of pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg and ginger. I did drink a Boulevard Funky Pumpkin beer a couple days ago, so maybe I was experiencing a little palate drift. It seemed to get really pumpkin pie-like in the cool cup, though!
As a pourover, the coffee’s malic acidity was still there, but definitely played a less forward role. The body was more substantial and syrupy and there were flavors of chocolate and nuts here. I also got much less of that berry-like ferment, although it was still there a bit in the finish.
I really enjoy this coffee and the fact that it rocked as espresso, pourover and AeroPress shows a ton of versatility. This has been on the Blueprint menu for a while, so buy it while you can because I suspect it won’t be available for too much longer!