What's Your Flavor?

How do we come up with flavors?

It isn't a quick process. First we start with roasting and cupping the coffee. This will involve multiple cuppings. For cupping, Klatch uses the SCA Flavor wheel and Counter Culture Flavor Wheel to determine the flavor notes. We feel that providing flavor notes will help to identify flavor preferences. Coffee flavors are often closely identified as fruits, vegetables, spices, floral, nuts, and sours. Flavors can differ per by country, varietal, farm, producer, time of year and more. Working as a team we write down flavors and the coffee flavors listed on our bag labels are the top 3, or the consensus if you will. Often they go in order from left to right, left being the flavor you taste first and right being the flavor that lingers or that you taste last.

Is it true that if you plant a coffee tree where previously there were trees/plants such citrus and berries grown, that it can influence the flavor notes of the coffee?

Coffee has many influences. Those include variety (bourbon, pacamara, geisha, etc), then terroir (elevation, rain, soil, etc), picking, processing (washed, honey, natural, ASD, etc), drying (sun, patio, raised beds, shade), sorting, and of course roasting. Going back to the terroir is soil, the trees pull nutrients and flavors from the soil so if other fruits are planted near by or previous, that will affect the soil and also the flavor of the cherry.

How does the variety influence the flavor?

We pride ourselves by picking only best varietals of coffee. The arabica is self-fertile, and therefore can be self-pollinated. These species typically have lower quantities of caffeine. Most of the varieties we carry are cultivar (or cultivated variety): produced by horticultural or agricultural techniques and not normally found in natural populations. Bourbon and Typica are some of the most widely known cultivars. The Pacamara variety is a hybrid cross between the Pacas (from El Salvador and named after the Pacas Family), and the giant elephant bean varietal Maragogipe. Its larger than normal appearance is the reason farmers from Las Mercedes call it "The King Bean" of Central America. Las Mercedes, one of our longest-lasting producers, for example uses fermentation for up to 36 hours in traditional tanks which adds a smooth body and balanced cup. The result is herbal notes such as coriander, and an overall cleaner and sweeter Pacamara. More sweet than savory. Up front the orange acidity is balanced with chocolate and the body finishes with a smooth sweet almond flavor through the washed process.

What is the difference between other varietals and Geishas/Geshas?

This premium varietal originated in Ethiopia, but was agriculturally refined in Panama and began growing throughout Central and South America. Geishas need special care, and they produce about half the amount of coffee cherries then other varietals; they have a tea like is flavor. Mike Perry is very fond of this varietal. He says of the Panama Geishas; "Ahhh, the beautiful geisha with floral notes, stone fruit (peach, apricot, plum), sugarcane, bergamot Earl Grey tea, citrus from lemon to orange, and fruity berry from strawberry too blueberry to blackberry to more".

The virgin rainforests in which the ABU COFFEE plantations lie within, makes of its climate an extraordinary condition to achieve a unique combination of characteristics that make our Geisha Coffee a distinct coffee with body and personality, with intense juicy flavor and aromatic floral notes. Harvest season begins in summer, approximately December and extends until March, months when the humidity drops, which combined with the natural shade and the Bajareque mist, achieves the perfect balance for the maturation process. As a result, the cherries develop their maximum potential and intensify the sugars in an optimal manner, enriching the flavor of the grain.

How do you pin-point the flavors on the flavor wheel?

Flavor notes will change per year, with the age of the coffee before and after roast as well as crop/lot. By cupping multiple times we pin-point the flavors for new offerings and crops. We have trained our palate to be divers in evaluating our coffees, try identifying flavor notes on the wheel with raw, cooked food, spices; these little nuances map the coffee flavor notes. Our coffee doesn't have add flavor.

What flavors does Klatch like to bring out in a coffee when roasting?
Mike is known for his specific roasting style; one that always works to enhance and highlight the sweetness. That is why we typically like to concentrate on the development phase (from beginning of 1st crack until we are finished) but more specifically we like to extend the time the bean is in 1st crack, we find this adds sweetness.
Of course some beans vary and can increase sweetness by extending the caramelization phase (yellowing to 1st crack). Other times the profile or path we take within each phase, it is a picture of temperature over time. That is why we take a scientific approach to roasting where every batch is an experiment where we document every temp, flame and airflow over time. When we are done we taste. Based on the cup we alter one variable and conduct another experiment with all documentation and taste. We repeat this process until we have the perfect 'Peak of Flavor' Klatch profile that varies for each bean but highlights the natural sweetness and flavor of the bean. Finally we can now refer back to our documentation to duplicate the profile or roast so our customers get that same great flavor and sweetness batch after batch. Experiment, Document, Taste...and when all is right...Duplicate.

If you're new to Klatch, or the Arabica or Geisha varietals, we recommend...

trying blends first. When creating blends we find specific flavors we want to feature from existing coffees and wet blend them. When you read our flavor notes, you can find coffee that you will like. If you like dark coffees, for example, we recommend our Blue Thunder or Crazy Goat. Once you've warmed up to our blends, we suggest moving on to our Single Origins. Many single origins start off with a washed process, from a wide range of countries such as Central/South Americas, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala. We recommend keeping a log of what coffees you tried and what flavors you experienced to find your favorite Klatch Coffee. Try our Club Subscriptions to drink a variety of coffees and change to 'Recurring Order' when you find your favorite coffee.

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