As I write this, most of the competitors at the 2016 SCAA convention in Atlanta are gearing up for the USCC brewer’s cup and barista competitions (not to mention the AeroPress comp, too!) and an awful lot of them are serving Colombian coffee this year. That’s no coincidence. Colombia’s coffee growing regions feature microclimates within microclimates and the coffees that can come out of that country are simply incredible. I’ve been going nuts for Colombian coffee for a long time now, and this year’s I’ve been trying are no exception.
Perc Coffee Roasters in Savannah, Georgia, definitely one of my go-to roasters that I know will always offer excellent coffee, sent me a bag of their Campo Bello recently and it’s a beautiful cup, both as filter and single origin espresso. This coffee comes from San Agustin in the Huila department (like a state here in the USA) and was grown in the 1750-1850masl range. As you’d expect from Colombia, this is a fully washed coffee. I don’t have any other tech specs for this one, but you can (and should) buy this coffee directly from Perc for $15/12oz bag.
Perc gives us tasting notes of, “Guava nectar, white sugar, clean” for this coffee, and in their description they elaborate with V60 instructions to produce a cup, “bursting with tropical goodness” and that it’s a, “super-sweet and elegant cup that is as complex as it is approachable.” Yum!
I am V60-less and the last thing I need at World Domination Headquarters here in Kansas City is another brewing apparatus, even one as iconic as the V60. LOL So, I went with my usual: the notNeutral Gino pour over using Kalita 185 filters and a 1:16 (28g coffee, 450g water) for around a 3:30 total brew time.
In the dry grounds I picked up on a fragrance that I usually associate with Kenyan coffees… something slightly earthy, tart and savory that reminds me of sun-dried tomatoes. Even as this coffee brewed and then in the cup, too, I continued to get a little bit of that, which I don’t remember ever tasting in a Colombian coffee.
This is a very sweet coffee, no doubt. I would call this a “medium” as far as brightness goes… there is acidity there, but it’s not a big player in the flavor of this coffee. The sweetness has a bit of tartness and I think that’s where the tropical fruit comparison comes in. It’s that sweet-tart of a pineapple, without the tanginess. There is also a hint of that savory component I described that really hits the outside of my tongue toward the middle and end of the sip. It leaves a sensation that is almost mint-like on the tongue for a few seconds, like the pores are opening. The aftertaste on this coffee lingers and features a sweetness of pineapple and stone fruits and mango that lasts for a long time, along with a perfumey note that is more of a retronasal aroma than a “taste” (I’m reading a book on the physiology and neurology of flavor, so don’t get me started! LOL).
Yes, as a filter coffee, this Campo Bello is beautiful and simultaneously straightforward in flavor while being complex in mouthfeel and aftertaste. It’s really interesting and delicious, but it’s also very drinkable and that’s a winning combination.
As espresso, this is a very bright and “third wavey” shot. Perc gives instructions of 17g in, 35 out in 28 seconds. After a few dial-in shots (I went from Lucas’s Canvas de Barista blend to this single origin and I ended up tightening the burrs on my Rancilio Rocky 3 steps) I was getting into the ballpark. As I expected, this is a very bright shot with a sweet base and medium body (for an espresso shot). There is a lot of fruit sweetness in the cup and toward the end of my espresso shots I was getting a lot of nuts like almonds. The aftertaste is a tart tropical fruit all the way, like the dried mango slices from Whole Foods that my wife got me addicted to.
As far as third-wave style espresso goes, this one is bright and sweet. I definitely lean a little more traditional in my espresso preferences, so the chocolatey, nutty, caramel shots are my preference, but this is a really interesting espresso and if I ordered it in a shop I’d be really happy with it.
I enjoyed this coffee both ways, but it’s hard to top how good it tastes, for my palate, as a pourover. The espresso shot was solid and tasty and interesting, however I’ll be finishing this bag off through my pour over. Another fantastic coffee from my friends at Perc and another boost in my “buy with confidence” rating for them!