It has been a while since I had any coffee from Manzanita and they’re back with a few fresh selections, including this one, Anny Ruth’s Red Honey from Finca Loma La Gloria in El Salvador. Anny Ruth is a celebrity in the world of coffee producers and I’ve had coffee from her farm once before, aged in Zinfandel barrels! Let’s check out this red honey!
MANZANITA ROASTING CO. EL SALVADOR ANNY RUTH’S RED HONEY
Manzanita Roasting Co. is located on the grounds of the 125+ year old San Bernardo Winery in San Diego county. This winery is the family business of Samantha Nawrocki and her husband, Weston, who handles the roasting, is a classically trained chef and sommelier. These are people who know flavors and beverages and, armed with a Loring roaster, Wes has been knocking out great coffees for a couple years now! Anny Ruth’s Finca Loma La Gloria started producing coffee in the late 1990’s when her father bought a farm and named it after her great grandfather’s fruit farm. Anny Ruth’s father had begun work on a mill to be able to process coffee right on-site, but this project was abandoned until Anny Ruth started working for Loma La Gloria in 2012 and saw the importance of being able to control both growing and processing of the farm’s crops.
This particular coffee is from Anny Ruth’s current harvest of Red Bourbon, grown at 1300-1550masl. This is a red honey process coffee. Honey processing is where the cherry skins and some of the sticky mucilage (“honey”) is removed, but not all of it, before the coffee beans are spread out to dry. In Central America, it’s common to give the process different names depending on how much mucilage is left on the cherries before drying. Generally, yellow honey coffees have the most mucilage removed, followed by red and then black honey, which usually is the stickiest and fruitiest. Manzanita gives us tasting notes of, “Hibiscus, stewed cherries and pastry” for this coffee and that’s exactly what I found in the cup, which was delightful! I used my standard pourover setup of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper. Handground grinder set to 3 and I used Third Wave Water in my pourovers. This is a dense and lightly roasted coffee so I could’ve opened up the grind a bit, but this coffee didn’t suffer from a slightly longer than usual drip time.
This is an interesting coffee right from the first sip. It opens up with notes of cooked, canned cherries and also has a lot of baked dessert characteristics, maybe like a shortbread crust? My mom used to make a quick dessert that was basically canned cherries with a cake mix mixed with butter crumble on top and this coffee reminds me a lot of that! Jeez… I haven’t had that in decades. Maybe I can get her to dust that old recipe off next time I’m home! But I digress…
This coffee has a light body, somewhat tea-like, especially in the second half of the sip where I get some sweetened black tea notes. There is a floral note in the early sip and plenty of brightness from the acidity in this cup, but it’s also well-balanced. The acidity is from some cherry-like tartness as well as a hint of citrus and there’s even a healthy cola note in there, for me, although this coffee doesn’t read as much “cherry cola” as it does “cherry pastry” for me. The cup has a sweet finish and a relatively short aftertaste, but a pleasant cherry tartness lingers on my palate for quite a long time. I was very happy to check Manzanita’s website out after taking notes on this coffee because I found pretty much 100% agreement in what I was tasting and was Wes found with this coffee’s roast. It’s nice to have my palate validated once in a while! LOL
For being such a light coffee there may be some concern about it being overly bright, but not for this selection. It’s sweet and clean and perfectly balanced. It gives me just the right amount of acidity and hints of tartness with the fruity sweetness I love in coffees like this. It’s really, really well done and a testament to how good roasting and excellent growing and processing practices can complement one another! A big winner, for me. YUM!