If you’ve been to Portland, Oregon you know there are a lot of coffee shops and even more coffee roasters (although we’re hot on their tails here in Kansas City, too!). You’d think there must be 300 garages in the city with Probat roasters cranking out great coffee beans, but one of PDX’s secrets is shared-roasting space… one roasting machine used by many roasters. And the other secret? There are more than one of them in the city of Portland! Today we’re looking at a Peruvian coffee from Andrew Coe of Coe Coffee, roasted at one of these coffee co-ops. Check it out!
COE COFFEE PERU ALARCON BRAVO
These days it seems like everything I write about in coffee comes back full circle to Kansas City! Andrew Coe, founder of Coe Coffee, lived near me in Mission, Kansas for five years before moving to Portland. He is now the owner of Coe Coffee and the coffee lead and roaster at Elevator Cafe & Commons, which just happens to be right across the street from Buckman Coffee Factory. I first learned about coffee roasting co-ops almost two years ago when business took me to Portland and I was able to meet up with Mark Johnson of Intent Coffee Roasting. He, along with a lot of my other favorite Portland-based roasters, was roasting out of Mr. Green Beans’ newly forming co-op called Aspect Coffee Collective. Since then, Buckman Coffee Factory has opened up in the same general area as Water Avenue Coffee and Coava. These co-ops make tons of sense because roasters are expensive to buy, set up and maintain, as is the space for the roaster, green coffee storage space, etc. With roasting co-ops like Aspect and Buckman, you simply rent green storage and time on the roasting machine, which I found to be surprisingly affordable. Amazing! If we had one of these in Kansas City I’d be all over it!
As I was doing my research, I was having a tough time figuring out if Andrew is the owner of Elevator Cafe & Commons, too, or if he is an employee there, and it seemed like Elevator has their own line of coffee in addition to Andrew’s own Coe Coffee brand. They also serve Coava in the cafe. I haven’t been able to hear back from Andrew regarding all of this, but no matter! What’s important is my first sample of his Coe Coffee brand was delicious! LOL
Andrew has a little different business model in that he will let customer’s spec a roast level that they prefer, or he’ll roast it as “roaster’s choice,” the profile he thinks is best for that coffee. He sent me two coffees and I started with the Peri Alarcon Bravo. This is grown in the Cusco area of Peru at around 2300masl. Andrew gives us tasting notes of, “Rich and balanced, flavors remind us of caramel, peach, mandarin orange.” I found this to be a nicely sweet cup with a gentle citrus acidity. I brewed with Third Wave Water, which generally dials up the acidity, in my opinion, and this one was still pretty mellow. With my normal city water I’ll bet this would be a caramelly sugar bomb like the really sweet Guatemalan coffees I like so much! In addition to using Third Wave Water, I used my standard pourover brewing method of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. My Handground grinder was set to 3 for this coffee.
This coffee has nice body and mouthfeel, too. It “feels” like a darker roast than it is. The flavors are vibrant and inviting and delicious. It’s sweet on the front end, then that gentle, round citrus acidity rolls in through the mid-sip. As it drops back off a peach-like flavor is left behind and it was especially noticeable for me if I used some retronasal breathing (I know that sounds really pretentious) with each sip. To do this you simply push air from your mouth out through your nose. You use your tongue to sort of push the air and this also agitates what’s in your mouth. This is why humans are so great at detecting flavors while dogs, who don’t really do retronasal breathing, are so good at smelling things but not great at tasting them.
Anyway, with some retronasal breathing I was able to get a lot of peach in this coffee and I always love that! I found this to be a really delicious cup. Clean, lots of sugary sweetness and the right amount (and type) of acidity to balance. And peach notes are always a great bonus in a coffee, for me! I don’t have a ton to say about this coffee other than that it was clean, structured with nicely defined flavors, had great body, was sweet and delicious and balanced with the right amount of fruit. That’s all. Oh, and I loved it! LOL