Six Shooter Coffee (started in Cleveland, Ohio by Peter Brown) and I have been pals on social media for a while and I was excited to try some of their coffees. Peter sent me two “samples,” enough for me and all my neighbors since Six Shooter Coffee sells in true 16-oz (one pound) bags! The first bag I started drinking and am reviewing today is a natural coffee from Zihuatanejo, Mexico. This coffee is not currently listed on Six Shooter’s website, so I either have a pre-production sample, or they’ve sold out. You can see Six Shooter Coffee’s current offerings here and I will be reviewing their Peru sometime later this week, so stay tuned for that! For a full pound bag, Peter is pricing his coffees at crazy prices, so I can only assume that this would/will sell in the $11.50-$14 range.
My research yielded precious little about this coffee and my experience with Mexican naturals is nil, so I went into it with no expectations. I have had a handful of Mexican coffees and have roasted (Poppery 2!!!) some Oaxacan coffee before, but it’s not a region I drink a lot of. Mexican coffee tends to be pretty mellow, pretty mild and not very complex or, unfortunately, exciting. So, this one really stuck out!
When I researched Zihuatanejo, I came away with tons of photos of beautiful Pacific beaches. I’m ready for an origin trip! Most Mexican coffee comes from either Oaxaca or Chiapas, so Zihuatanejo is out there by itself to some extent. The only reference to coffee from this area that I could find was from Phoenix Coffee, who has a direct trade relationship with a cooperative there. 1 And, as it turns out, Phoenix Coffee is located in Cleveland, along with Six Shooter Coffee, so I can only assume that Peter got some of this coffee from his neighbors!
If this is the same coffee, then here are some stats… it is typica, bourbon, caturra and garnica varietals grown in the 1000-1375masl range. Some 26 farms formed Grupo de Trabajo Lleyva Mancilla in 2013 and began exporting their coffee at a relative premium to the American market. There is a lot of great info on Phoenix’s website about this coffee, so check it out. The stories from the farmers are worth the read!
So, how did Six Shooter Coffee do with this coffee? Great, as far as I am concerned! The fragrance on this coffee does not hide that it is a natural process coffee, with lots of strawberry right in the bag. Based on fragrance alone I would’ve placed this coffee as an Ethiopian natural, and when other naturals from this part of the world can be pretty subtle, it was a pleasant surprise to see how forward this one was.
That strawberry fragrance certainly comes through in the flavor, too. At warmer temps, this is a medium-bodied, fruity and sweet cup with a lot of strawberry and aromas off the cup of sweetened cocoa. The strawberry flavor is soft and a bit fermenty (think of strawberries that are really ripe) but pleasant. As the cup cools it opens up a lot and a big wash of lime acidity kicks in. My notebook reads, “Strawberry limeade!” for this coffee and that is 100% accurate whether I made this in the Gino pourover or as AeroPress.
The lime acidity gets pretty aggressive as the coffee continues to cool but I really enjoyed it. The cup has enough sweetness to balance the acidity out a bit and it never gets harsh. This is a delicious coffee and a real surprise for one from Mexico! I can only hope that Six Shooter is able to get more of it and makes this part of their lineup because it’s delicious, unique for the area, and supports a group of farmers who are able to sell at a better price than the usual 75 cents (!) per pound they used to get!