After a bit of a break last week to do Populace Coffee’s Flight of Fancy contest (I didn’t win) and tie up loose ends at work before a short break, I’m back with Presta Coffee Roasters, a Tucson, AZ roaster I haven’t had coffee from since early 2015. Let’s drink!
PRESTA COFFEE ROASTERS ORGANIC ETHIOPIA GUJI NATURAL
I took a bit of a break from posting reviews last week so I could focus on my insane end-of-the-trimester schedule at work, giving finals, grading, etc, as well as to do Flight of Fancy again this year. I got 50% of the coffees right this time around, which I didn’t feel bad about because they only had one correct entry out of hundreds of participants, many of whom are professional coffee industry folks!
Today, I’m checking out Presta Coffee Roasters’ Guji Natural and the lead is a little buried, so skip a couple paragraphs down if you want to get right to the slurping part!
Nonetheless, the show must go on and I’m back, starting this week with Presta Coffee Roasters. I was able to sample a few coffees from Presta way back in early 2015, shortly after they’d “opened”/rebranded/started roasting. Early in 2012, Curtis Zimmerman started a mobile coffee cart called Stella Java (named after his wife), which served beans roasted by Tucson, Arizona’s Exo. Stella Java eventually settled into a location at St. Mary’s Hospital and then moved to Mercado San Agustin, where the current flagship shop is. Around September 2014, Stella Java began roasting their own beans under the name, Presta. Another example of mixing love of cycling with coffee, Curtis named the roasting operation after the beloved Presta valve found on many bicycle inner tubes. After a while, Stella Java went through a re-branding and, voilà, Presta Coffee Roasters was born.
The sample bags I received from Presta back in 2015 had simple labels on a kraft brown paper coffee bag with a hand-stamped logo. I was surprised and delighted to open this box from Presta and find a square bottom bag with e-zip enclosure clad in a sharp white and silver color scheme. Presta’s logo, which I love, is on the bottom with a red sticker to give a pop of color and offer the coffee name inside. I really like this packaging. It’s modern and timeless at the same time and I’m a fan!
This morning’s coffee from Presta is their organic Guji Natural from Ethiopia. I don’t know what organic certifications it has, but Guji is a zone in Ethiopia that is close to Yirgacheffe. Even though it’s not far from the birthplace of coffee, Guji coffees tend to be quite different from Yirgs, which I have been loving this year, so I’m excited to try another one. This coffee was grown around 1900-2200masl and it contains the usual mix of heirloom varieties grown by smallholder farmers and collected at a co-op for separation into lots. I’m 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. Handground grinder is set to 3 and I always use Third Wave Water for all my brewing needs.
Presta gives us flavor notes of, “maple, green apple, nutmeg” on the label and, “balanced, sweet and tart with a creamy mouthfeel; lots of fruity and floral flavors with chocolate, apple and berry” on the website. Either way, a non-traditional Ethiopian natural description if I’ve ever seen one! Half way into my cup I am definitely noticing how light of a coffee this is, and not in a bad way. It’s a subtle, light, almost effervescent coffee for being a natural. In the sip I get a light body with a clean, apple juice-like sweetness that gives way to some green apply acidity, lemon candy and a light berry note in the middle to second half of the sip. This is a really apple-y coffee, for my palate, with a mix of both red apple sweetness and slightly tart green apple acidity. This gives this coffee a refreshing, crisp flavor profile that I enjoy. It’s a major contrast to Cat & Cloud’s natural, also from Guji, which I’ve been pulling a lot of espresso from lately, which is a pure berry bomb with lots of chocolate. These coffees are both from the same area and couldn’t be more different if they tried! I love that.
If I get a good mouthful of this coffee and employ some retronasal breathing (agitating the coffee in my mouth while blowing short puffs of air out of my nose… this is for when you’re by yourself, trust me! LOL) I get a lot of surprising chocolate and nutty flavors that are completely absent from my usual sipping technique! This is a bright coffee, for sure, but it’s so light that the green apple and lemon candy acidity really don’t hit me in a harsh way at all, and somehow it still seems balanced. The finish is just slightly on the dry side and, prior to the retronasal thing, it had a really short aftertaste, but now that I have some coffee molecules in my sinuses, the aftertaste is longer and has more pronounced berry notes in it.
Man, this is a crazy coffee, but in a good way. On face value, it’s a super light, clean natural with tons of apple, lemon candy and hints of berries. With some alternative tasting techniques, it gets spicy and chocolatey and nutty out of nowhere. It’s like two different coffees depending on how I sip it. The two mingle after a while and get way more complex than this coffee seems on face value. It’s a very interesting coffee that is worth playing with both in how you drink it as well as, undoubtedly, how you prepare it. What a fantastic start to the week! This im-Prestas the heck out of me! LOL You knew it was coming, gimme a break!