So far I have really been enjoying Crema.co’s sampler box. The selections from Theodore’s and Old Soul were both great, and now I have a third coffee from new-to-me roaster, Mast Coffee Co. this morning to try out!
CREMA x MAST COFFEE CO. GUATEMALA CANDELARIA PEABERRY
Crema.co is my favorite “you-pick” subscription services. With a nicely curated list of roasters, their interface is incredibly easy to navigate. The Crema team includes a Q-Grader who gives accurate flavor descriptions of the coffees and each roaster and coffee is beautifully showcased by co-founder, Emily’s, writing. They’re the bomb! Mast Coffee Co. is new to me, and I always love trying out new roasters! Founded by gang of young (23! I was 25 when I started my business and I thought I was green! LOL) bucks in 2013 in a garage north of Sacramento, Mast quickly grew and moved to a 3500 sq.ft. facility that serves as roasting facility by day and drum studio by night (founders Michael Sanchex and Stephen Mentze are both drummers, too). Can you imagine the reverb in there for when you just need to play Led Zeppelin’s version of When the Levee Breaks? But I digress! Mast Coffee is now being served at an extensive list of restaurants, coffee shops and mobile coffee trucks. Amazing growth!
Crema sent me Mast’s Guatemala Cendelaria Peaberry. I don’t quite often think of coffee as “cute” but when I opened this sample bag up I was presented with the most adorable, chubby little peaberries I’ve ever seen! LOL Peaberries are round, football to soccer ball shaped coffee beans. Coffee gets its characteristic shape of being flat on one side and domed on the other from the fact that there are two seeds (what we call beans) inside each coffee cherry. One side of each bean flattens out as the seeds grow inside the cherry and press up against the other one. Once in a while, a coffee cherry will grow with just one seed inside. Since there isn’t a twin to press up against, these “peaberries” are round in shape and usually quite small, too.
This coffee comes from the Alotenango municipality in southern Guatemala. It consists of Bourbon and Caturra varieties that are washed. Finca Candelaria is owned and operated by Luis Pedro Zelaya, Jr. and they grew about 700lbs (maybe six bags worth) of peaberry this year, so this is a small lot that you won’t likely find from many other roasters. Finca Candelaria sits on the slopes of Volcan de Fuego and its coffee benefits from the rich volcanic soil of the region.
I used my usual 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino pourover with Kalita 185 filters to prepare my sample cups of this coffee. This is a nice cup. It’s not super complex, but it’s delicious, warm, inviting, easy-drinking and very well-roasted, so I’ll trade a bit of complexity for those traits any day of the week! The aroma is super sugary sweet but the coffee itself has a more even balance. In the cup, there is a heavy body that really sits on the palate and finishes just sweet of neutral with a long, tobacco-like finish. There is a good amount of nuttiness and cocoa flavors in this cup, and it’s sweet for days. For a fairly long temperature window I was getting pretty good balance from green apple and citrusy (lemon candy and some tangerine notes) acidity. That window closed as the cup cooled quite a bit and the sweetness, nuttiness and long tobacco finish took over.
I absolutely love this coffee! It is right in my wheelhouse for coffee, generally, and specifically for what I like in a Guatemalan coffee. To think I used to dislike this region is proof of how lots of tasting and palate refinement can change ones opinion dramatically! This is a great selection on the picking and sourcing side as well as on the roasting end. What an intro to Mast Coffee Co.! Wow!