Let’s get over the hump today with this Peruvian coffee from new-to-me Las Vegas, NV roasters, Vesta Coffee Roasters! I always love discovering new roasters and they sent me a nice package of three coffees and some rad lapel pins, too!
VESTA COFFEE ROASTERS PERU AMAYBAMBA
First of all, my apologies in my Sambalatte articles for making Las Vegas out to be a wasteland of coffee. There is a specialty scene happening there, which includes the aforementioned Sambalatte, but you’ll need to get away from the Strip to get at it. One of the most recent additions to Las Vegas’s specialty coffee market is Vesta Coffee Roasters, located in the LV Arts District, which is supposed to be a cool, hip part of town. I did my usual research and found a great Build Outs of Summer article on Vesta from Sprudge that dates September 2016. Vesta was keeping their fingers crossed on an October 31 grand opening last year. The shop looks great, menu looks like what you’d expect with some nice specialty drinks on it as well as food. Vesta approaches coffee with the idea that if they source great coffee to begin with, they’re already most of the way to an awesome cup and they just need to not screw it up! Vesta herself is the virgin goddess of heath, home and family in the Roman pantheon of gods. Having lived in Rome for 7 years and walked by her temple of the Vestal virgins in the Forum many times, I always enjoy a good tie-in with the Eternal City!
This morning’s coffee from Vesta is their Amaybamba from Peru. Amaybamba is a coffee farmer cooperative who share a washing station in the Incuhuasi Valley of Peru’s Cusco regio. According to Red Fox Coffee Merchants, being a coffee farmer in the Incahuasi Valley is, “as grueling a proposition as anywhere I’ve seen” as Peru, and especially this part of the country, simply doesn’t have modern roads in and out of the area, for the most part. It’s not uncommon for farmers to load up several bags (the 150 pound variety!) on a handmade wooden cart and pull the coffee behind them through the mountains to get it to a broker! Wow! This particular co-op is Fair Trade and USDA Organic certified and this coffee is a mix of Typical, Caturra, Pache and Bourbon varieties. This is a washed coffee grown around 1700-1900masl. Vesta gives us tasting notes of, “raisin, date, walnut and bakers spice.”
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. Handground grinder is set to 3 and as always, I’m using the incredible Third Wave Water to get the most consistent extraction I can. This gives me a cup with a medium body, sweet finish and a relatively long aftertaste. At the front of the sip is a nice sweetness… almost sugary, reminiscent of dried dark fruits like raisins and those super-sweet Medjool dates from the bulk foods aisle! The acidity comes in about halfway into the sip and for me, this coffee has that “typically Peruvian” malic acidity associated with apples. It offers some brightness, but it’s a soft, round acidity that’s hard to separate from the sweetness it comes with. There is a hint of citrus, maybe like an orange juice or tangerine note, in this cup. There are some “warm” spice notes, like what would go into sweet baked goods, especially apparent in the finish and aftertaste, which also has a hint of roastiness to it. There is a nuttiness to this coffee, too, and a hint of dryness on my palate in the aftertaste, so I think walnut or maybe pecan are good descriptors. This isn’t a nut-bomb by any stretch, though. With a cool cup, the raisin and dates really explode right at the end of the sip as it’s leaving my palate for my throat.
This is a super-clean coffee and incredibly easy to drink. I really thought it was kind of ho-hum until I started to concentrate on the coffee more as I drank it, trying to find comparisons to what I was tasting. I think this Peruvian coffee would serve as a great breakfast cup and would be that perfect next-to-the-computer companion, but with some intention and concentration, a lot of flavors really open up to those who want to work at it a little. After opening up my palate and my mind by stopping my typing and paying attention to this coffee more, it transformed from something sort of “meh” to something I’m REALLY enjoying, with lots of nuances. It’s a delicious, sweet, well-balanced cup. The acidity is there to give a bit of pep to the cup but this is not a bright-leaning cup even with Third Wave Water, which usually cranks up the acidity some. This coffee really transformed into something I’m enjoying a ton! A great first outing from Vesta and I can’t wait to get into their Ethiopian and a wine barrel-conditioned coffee they sent, too! Stay tuned!