This morning we have the second Nicaraguan selection from S&W Craft Roasting in Coatesville, IN. The Don Isidro Microlot was super-tasty! I reviewed another coffee from this family’s farm, also a honey process, back in Dec. 2015 that was roasted by the always-excellent Goshen Coffee Co. Let’s see how this year’s crop compares to last year’s and what my friends at S&W Craft Roasting were able to coax from it!
S&W CRAFT ROASTING NICARAGUA LA PASTORAL MELOSA ORGANIC HONEY
Back in the 1980’s, Juan de Dios Castillo and his wife, Miriam Aruaz, began buying land around Jinotega, Nicaragua with the profits from their tailor shop, which is still in operation today! Juan and Miriam’s children formed J&M Coffee and run most of the coffee business these days. In addition to having multiple coffee farms in the area, the family owns their own wet and dry mill, giving them complete control of growing as well as processing operations. S&W’s selection consists of Bourbon and Caturra varietals grown at 1350-1550masl. This is a honey process coffee, meaning the skins and some pulp are removed from the cherry seed (what we call a coffee bean), but rather than removing the rest through fermentation and washing, the pulpy beans are laid out on raised beds to dry. This “honey” process, named after the sticky, honey-like mucilage that surrounds the beans, tends to give more fruitiness and sweetness, as well as body, like a natural process coffee while retaining a lot of the clean qualities of a washed coffee. To me, honey coffees tend to taste like washed coffees, but let’s see!
S&W Craft Roasting tell us that this is a very versatile, sweet, full-bodied coffee with “mellow acidity.” They say the flavors can vary a lot based on extraction, so I will need to play around with this coffee more than I have. They were able to pull, “from mixed tropical fruits to pistachio, cashew, nougat, nutmeg and cardamom.” Interesting cup! I used my usual 1:16 ratio of 28g of coffee to 450g of water in a notNeutral Gino pourover, getting around 3:00 extraction times including a 30-second bloom.
This produced a nice, sweet, low perceived acidity cup, for sure. I was getting a lot of sugary, caramel coffee aroma (hey, sometimes coffee smells like coffee! LOL) from the cup. The body is full and round and really lays on the palate with some weight and presence. Each sip finished sweetly with a long aftertaste that is sweet and nutty. Prepared this way, I would definitely call this a nutty cup. There is a lot of sugary sweetness in this coffee with cashew and a little peanut in the flavors for me (although, not the peanut I associate with underdeveloped/underroasted coffees). This had quite a peanut-buttery vibe to me. There is some acidity to balance all that sweetness out, but it was hard to pin down. There was a little bit of a citrus character to me and it traveled with a bit of “bite” from the roast, which I quite liked. As the cup cooled I got more of a fresh pineapple note from the acidity, which was an interesting find in an otherwise so sweet and nutty cup! As I drank this coffee further, the pineapple note became more and more apparent. In the context of coffee, it was sort of like a pineapple that was grilled over a charcoal bed because it had some of that roastiness from the coffee, too.
This is a nice, big, sweet cup of coffee! For the hugeness of the body and it’s presence on my palate, there was a good amount of complexity and surprise to find, like the nuttiness, sweetness and pineapple-ness all in one! I don’t know that I’ve found nut flavors with tropicals like this before, and I liked it! As always, S&W Craft Roasting reveal their skill at sourcing and roasting nice coffee with this selection from Nicaragua. Their prices are so dang good, too, that I would buy both the Don Isidro and this one!