Disclaimer: I use a lot of flowery language and flavor notes in here; we can’t guarantee that you will taste all of the same things. Do not use this coffee as a literal substitute for juice or amaro. More than anything it tastes like coffee.
Each new coffee that we bring in is another puzzle, another mystery to unlock. Different harvest times, bean densities, origin characteristics, and processing techniques all have subtle effects on how a coffee roasts. Finding the perfect roast profile for a coffee is a pseudo-scientific process of trail and error, best guesses, and lots of tasting. It usually takes 5-10 roasts to find a roast profile that we are happy with and every little mistake along the way teaches us something new about the coffee. So after a little over a month since our first roast and many cupping sessions here are our initial cupping notes; everything strange, magical, and delightful about our first Anaerobic Honduras.
Our first roasts of a new coffee are all about seeing what flavor’s can be unlocked at different roast levels so we will pull samples from various points in the roast to find which notes to bring out in the final product. Most coffees offer a fairly narrow range of drinkable brews with notes of hay and raw vegetation in the under-roasted beans and bitter, medicinal, ashy notes in the over-roasted beans. The Orlando was surprisingly drinkable across a broad spectrum of roasts with lime and tropical spice notes on the lighter side and a mouth-coating chocolate raspberry syrup on the darker side. We knew that somewhere in the middle was the perfect balance of verve, body, and clarity. The cupping notes from our first roasts were overwhelming and I thought we might be better off just crossing things off the flavor wheel because it seemed like we could taste every fruit flavor. Most natural processed coffees have a very intense aroma that carries into the taste but eventually gets lost in a mess of muddled funky flavors. The Anaerobic fermentation and raised bed drying give this coffee layers of flavor without sacrificing clarity or body. Some of the early roasts reminded me of fruit punch or tiki cocktails but we knew we were getting close to a great profile when we started pulling out notes of Campari and passionfruit syrup from the coffee. From there it just took a few little tweaks to make sure the citrus note wasn’t coming in too sharp and the roast level was just enough to make the fruit notes ripe and chocolatey but not stewed or burnt.
The combination of ripe red fruits, bitter orange, and a syrupy sweetness give this coffee the nostalgic comfort of a Hawaiian Punch and elegant finesse of a Negroni. And what I love most about this coffee is that it can still be enjoyed as coffee. Experimental fermentation coffee can often end up like sour beers or Natural wine- fun for a few sips but hard to drink everyday. But this coffee is able to keep my attention with its flavors while still delivering a rich texture and lingering sweetness that makes me want to come back for another sip.
At home I’ve been brewing most of my Orlando Arita on Chemex. The thick filters and lower concentration(1:16.5 ratio) gives the coffee exceptional clarity and makes it easy to pick out all of the individual notes. Be sure to grind a little finer to bring out all of the rich fruit notes, you’ll know you went too fine if the coffee taste bitter and the dried coffee bed looks muddy and takes more than 6 minutes to drain. If you want to accentuate the punchy-ness of this coffee try it on espresso or mocha pot. What the coffee looses in clarity it makes up for in sticky sweetness and a lingering tangy acidity. I taste great on its own, over ice, or in an Americano. I hope you enjoy getting to know this coffee as much as I have, don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own favorite way to enjoy this exceptional coffee.