I recently fell head over heels in love with Máquina Coffee Roasters’ bag design after stumbling across them on Instagram. Holy smokes! I love everything about this design, layout, typography… I scored a couple bags of Máquina’s current South American offerings and decided to try out the Ecuadoran offering from Finca la Joya first.
MÁQUINA COFFEE ROASTERS ECUADOR FINCA LA JOYA
I have to start today’s review with an apology. I was all set to post this about a week ago and then I got sick and I’ve been in miserable shape since, so in the meantime Máquina has sold out of this selection. I’ve been hearing nothing but stellar things about Gabe Boscana, co-owner and roaster at Máquina Coffee Roasters, so I don’t think you can go wrong with anything you choose from them!
Gabe is a 15 year veteran of the specialty coffee business, having worked for Gimme! Coffee, Ritual, Sightglass, Intelligentsia and Paramo. He and his wife left the San Francisco area to a small Pennsylvania town just outside of Philadelphia where they can roast on a 5-kilo Probat and at a different pace from life in the Bay area. Gabe and Mae spent a lot of time, and it shows, on their beautiful packaging, which I was immediately attracted to.
Their coffee bags feature beautiful line work and the juxtaposition of a feminine hand with a winder in the wrist, which also plays off the idea of the phrase, “Humanity in coffee” countering the name, “Máquina,” which translates to “machine.” I’m sure a lot could be written about that, but let’s get to the coffee!
This selection from Máquina is a single farm microlot from Gonzanamá, Ecuador, a small town in the Loja area in the far south of the country. Santiago Crespo’s Finca la Joya sits at 1890-1930 meters above sea level with 16,000 coffee trees spread out over four hectares of land. They grow Typica, Red and Yellow Caturra, Red and Yellow Bourbon and Pacas on the farm.
I brewed my cups of this Ecuadoran coffee using my standard pourover setup: 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino with Kalita 185 filter. My Handground grinder was set at 3 and I used Third Wave Water for brewing. The first thing that struck me about this cup was beautiful sweetness and lots of balance. Even using Third Wave Water, which has a tendency to crank up the acidity in the cup, this is just mellow and perfectly balanced. Gabe gives us tasting notes of, “Apricot, fig, brown sugar, lush” for this coffee and he is correct across the board! The acidity has a soft roundness to it that is slightly tart and it does remind me a lot of dried apricot. That acidity spreads out to the edges of my tongue to make way for the brown sugar, lightly caramelized sweet notes that rush in mid-sip. I’ve been using turbinado sugar in my oatmeal lately and the sweetness profile reminds me a lot of that, but there’s also a dark fruit component in that sweetness… it has a not-quite-raisin quality to it as well as date, but without the incredibly cloying sweetness that dried dates have. I haven’t eaten a fig in a long time, but that’s probably not far off the mark. This coffee rides that edge of sweetness between perfection and cloying, and man, it’s just doing it for me this morning! I am really loving this cup!
If I could draw a diagram of this coffee, it would be a circle of sweetness with a thin border of tart apricot-like acidity around the edge, and that’s more or less how this coffee lands on my palate, too! It’s really structured and clean and I can almost “see” the flavors. Then again, I can hear colors, but my psychiatrist says that’s normal, so I’m fine. 🙂
This is a really beautiful coffee and an insanely easy drinker. I actually found small sips to be more enjoyable with this cup, but it’s hard not to want to gulp this Ecuadoran coffee down. This has a lot of the qualities of the Guatemalan sugarbombs I like so much. I was thinking I haven’t reviewed many Ecuadoran coffees, but doing a search on the site shows me I haven’t reviewed any. If this is what I’ve been missing, then I need to correct this ASAP!