Barista Stefen Highlights Montgomery Melghem
Hello! Welcome to another session of Virtual Barista, where I gush about coffee and throw around a lot of metaphors! It's been a little while since the last session, so I thought we'd concentrate on something a little extra special: a coffee from our Apex series, the Montgomery Melghem Honduras Microlot.
This coffee hails from the Finca San Pablo coffee farm, which is a member of the COMSA cooperative. COMSA is one of our longtime partners, as well as an outstanding example of what happens when modern agricultural techniques are guided by ethical practice. You can read more here. Today, we're drinking one of their natural process coffees. I'm excited to parse this one out because, historically, my preference for natural process coffee waxes and wanes according to some inscrutable internal clock, and just now I'm starting to feel like once again savoring a cup.
Coffee: Montgomery Melghem Honduras Microlot
Grind: I favor a slightly coarser grind than what I use for Aeropress. You should still be able to pinch the ground coffee and it retains its shape, but the granules should be slightly bigger, more visible. If you have us grind your coffee for you, ask us to grind it on a "7."
Dose: 26 grams
Water: 380 grams of water at 205 degrees Fahrenheit
Brewing Method: I decided to go with my V60 today, and not just because I couldn’t find my Aeropress. I've always preferred brewing natural process coffees with the V60. I think it produces a more rounded and approachable extraction of those heavy fruit flavors.
I started with a standard 50g bloom, letting it sit for 30 seconds. At 30 seconds, I filled to 150g, making sure no coffee is sticking to the sides. At 45 seconds, I pour slowly down the center of the V60, making small, quarter-sized circles, until reaching 380g of water. At this point, you can (gently) swirl the V60, so that none of the ground coffee is left on the sides of the filter. Let it drain. Should be between 2:30 and 3:00 total brew time.
On the nose, this coffee smells like someone's been baking bread. Fresh grain and cocoa powder are present. Nothing fruity so far. But wait, underneath that, it's like someone in the next room over unwrapped grape Laffy Taffy. It's just a hint of what the palate will be like. The excitement builds.
The palate does not disappoint on its candy-like promise. Jelly doughnut is the primary culprit, followed closely by its accomplice, jolly rancher. Watermelon and lemon. The body of this coffee dovetails from syrupy to more delicate, more tea-like, with the acidity playing nicely in back. I wouldn't describe this coffee as "lingering" by any means, it's definitely a quicker taste experience, but that only makes you want to take another sip. The aftertaste, short as it is, returns to what the nose offered, except maybe this time it’s more like a shortbread.
This Honduran microlot from Montgomery Melghem is exactly what I look for in a natural process coffee. Nice, vibrant fruit, just barely balanced by other, more traditional coffee flavors. When I drink a natural process coffee, I want to KNOW that I'm drinking a natural processed coffee. But, on the other hand, I also think those "big" flavors can be cumbersome and run the risk of dominating to the detriment of the overall cup. Fortunately, this coffee does an excellent job of balancing extravagance with subtlety, like a well-dressed English butler. Who has been put in charge of an important and potentially boisterous gala. BUT, he's actually rather taken with the idea, and LO and BEHOLD, he finds a hitherto unknown enthusiasm for parties, finally culminating in a splendid good time.
Okay, metaphor's over, see you next time!