I’ve been Insta-stalking Dagger Mountain Roastery for some time and so it was exciting to recently touch base with them and get a few sample bags of coffee to try out and share with you. Dagger Mountain Roastery is located in an unassuming warehouse district in Valparaiso, Indiana, but looking through customer photos on Yelp showed me that they’ve put together a nice tasting room and cafe despite not being located in the preferable downtown of the city.
Dagger Mountain Roastery is owned by Andy Urschel, who started the business in 2015 after a stint with Counter Culture Coffee in Chicago. Like many roasters, he got his start on an air popcorn popper, then upgraded to a small sample roaster and now is in full production on a 12-pound machine, selecting specialty beans from around the world to showcase to Valparaiso customers and beyond. 1
The first coffee I decided to review is Dagger Mountain’s Finca Santa Elena. This is a washed coffee from Santa Ana, El Salvador, comprised of mixed varietals including Bourbon, Pacamara, Catuai and Kenya. The farm sits in the 1500-1850masl range and tasting notes for this coffee include, “milk chocolate, fig, jasmine.” You can buy this coffee directly from Dagger Mountain Roastery for $15/12oz bag.
Finca Santa Elena won the Cup of Excellence for El Salvador in 2003 and have placed in 2008, 2011 and 2013. The farm was devastated in 2005 when the Santa Ana volcano whose slops it is located on erupted for the first time in 100 years. Finca Santa Elena was on the side that was affected the most and it’s one of the highest elevation farms in the region. The lava flows killed one farm employee and completely destroyed the farm, equipment and the crops. Owner, Don Fernando Lima refused to let the disaster end his coffee career and with perseverance and hard work, Finca Santa Elena continues its focus on high quality lots which are grown organically on the now-thriving slopes of the volcano.
I really enjoyed this coffee from the simple, informative and graphic bag design through the full temperature range of the cup. The dry fragrance on the grounds had a really distinct graham cracker fragrance and when I hit them with water (using my trusty 1:15 ratio in a notNeutral Gino pourover with Kalita 185 filters… 30g of coffee, 450g of water, 4:00 brew time) there was a nice floral aroma that filled my kitchen. In the cup I continued to get some graham cracker flavors along with more floral, almost organic and woodsy hints. This was a pretty low-acidity coffee for me but there was a bit of citrus in the middle of the sip, more complementary than taking a main role in this cup. The coffee was sweet overall with a slightly dry finish and it had a creamy, though relatively light, mouthfeel.
I found this coffee to be mild and pleasant and very easy to drink. It’s sweet but not cloying and very clean. A nice start to the morning!