Right before the USA Thanksgiving holiday, I received this month’s MyCoffeePub subscription. Now that things are back to normal, let’s check out this latest coffee from three-time featured roaster, Mylo Coffee Co. in Little Rock, Arkansas!
MYCOFFEEPUB NOV. 2017: MYLO COFFEE CO. EL SALVADOR FINCA PEÑA OSCURA
MyCoffeePub is a subscription service that drops one bag of coffee to your doorstep around the middle of every month. It’s always a surprise and they always pick good roasters and coffees from them. A lot of the roasters MCP works with are pretty new to the industry or are lesser-heard-of roasters, which I really like. They’ve gone back to the same roasters a couple times in the couple years I’ve been working with MCP, but I think Mylo Coffee Co. is the first one that has been featured three times! They must get great feedback from this Little Rock, Arkansas roaster!
Mylo Coffee Co. was founded by baker, Stephanos Mylonas and his wife, Monica. They met in the UK and eventually relocated to Monica’s hometown of Little Rock. Stephanos and Monica began their adventure as a farmers market stall and in late 2013, they announced that they were moving into a brick and mortar location 1 that would allow them to expand their menu significantly, which they did in 2014. Looking through some articles and Yelp posts about Mylo, I get a distinctly UK/Australia/New Zealand vibe from their service, which features coffee as well as a full menu 2. I hope this trend really gets embraced here in the USA, where most specialty coffee is paired with a grab and go pastry or maybe a super-limited menu. It’d be great to be able to get top notch coffee and a sit-down plate like Mylo is doing it!
Getting to the coffee, the MyCoffeePub gang selected Mylo’s Finca Peña Oscura from El Salvador. This farm is owned by José Ovidio Flores, who bought his original parcel of land in 2005 and has been steadily expanding and planting more coffee since. Jose’s coffee was discovered by a Cafe Imports buyer, who is also from El Salvador, when he set his sights on the Chalatenango region that Finca Peña Oscura is located in. Prior to this, finding microlots in El Salvador was tough because, like a lot of coffee growing regions, the farmers tended to collect coffee from multiple farms and sell them in lots. 3 This particular coffee is grown around 1500masl and it’s the giant Pacamara bean variety with a honey process. Honey processing removes the cherry skins from the fruit but leaves the sticky, gloopy mucilage behind. This “honey” dries on the coffee in the sun and imparts more body and fruitiness to the coffee than traditional washing methods would, but honey processing also cuts back on the amount of ferment flavors that the coffee takes on from natural processing, where the coffee is dried in the fruit like a big raisin. Mylo Coffee Co gives us tasting notes of, “Mellow and smooth, grapefruit, milk chocolate, honey” for this coffee.
I am using my standard pourover setup of a 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino dripper with Kalita 185 filter. My Handground grinder is set to 3 and I use Third Wave Water whenever I do anything with coffee. I knew this coffee was going to present some brewing challenges even as I was grinding it. The light roast gave my arm a real workout and at times it felt like I was grinding pebbles in there! Likewise, this dense coffee really slowed things down in the brewer, taking at least an extra minute to brew over the average coffee I run with the exact same parameters. None the less, it came out tasty, but you may have to open up your grind a little and pour a bit more vigorously to get some agitation in the brew bed and keep it from choking.
In the cup I find a light-bodied coffee with some citrusy aromas and a fruity, bright, but also balanced, vibe. As I drank this coffee it really reminded me of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but then it hit me… Blue Moon beer! Blue Moon is a “white ale,” which is a wheat beer brewed with orange peel and spices, coriander in the case of Blue Moon. And it’s a very coriander-forward beer. It has been years since I drank a Blue Moon, but this coffee reminds me a lot of that style of beer! There’s a smooth, sweet orange juice component right up front in the sip that is also very noticeable in the finish and aftertaste of the coffee. More so in the first half of the sip, too, I’m getting a nice coriander note. The two together just conjure up that style of beer, quite strongly for me! LOL
Toward the middle of the sip that orange juice note gets a little more graprefruity in nature, again, with a fairly “round” and non-aggressive stance in the cup. There’s a hint of grapefruit pith, but some pleasant pink grapefruit juice or even candy is really what I get from this coffee. There is a honey or very light caramel presence to the sweetness and in the aftertaste I get a sensation of dairy, like a milk chocolate note that I don’t find in the coffee itself as I drink it. This coffee finishes just a little on the sweet side of neutral and at the same time leaves a little bit of a dry feeling on my palate into the aftertaste. Usually it’s one or the other, but this coffee has proven unique in a lot of ways, so this may as well be no different!
What an interesting coffee! The words bright, vibrant and dynamic are the first that come to mind for me, but at the same time this is a really nicely balanced cup with lots of sweetness to keep it anchored and not too bright. There’s a lot going on with the citrus acidity in this coffee, but again, those citrus notes are round and soft and inviting instead of harsh or aggressive like they can be in some coffees. This is really stellar coffee and another very good choice from the fellows at MyCoffeePub! Excellent roasting from Mylo… I was worried it was going to be under-roasted by the way it ground and brewed, but it’s fantastic and I love what they did with this! My only gripe? It still looks like Mylo Coffee Co. doesn’t do online sales, so unless you’re a MCP subscriber or a local to Little Rock, it doesn’t look like there’s a way for you to get this coffee in your hands. (Although, as I typed this, I did catch a press release 4 from February 2017 about their roastery expansion, so hopefully that will eventually lead to an online presence, too. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!)