In February, Alex Choppin, our Baratza Support Specialist, came in 3rd place at the qualifying event for Brewers Cup Competition in Austin. It’s the first time Baratza ever had a team member compete in one of these competitions and we are so proud of Alex’s achievement. He now moves on to compete during #CoffeeExpo2017 in Seattle.
Alex has shared his successful recipe with us and some information on his coffee, Mikuba, from Burundi, roasted by Olympia Coffee Roasters.
I brew on a Kalita Wave 185, which is a flat-bottom dripper with probably the cleanest paper filter I’ve ever used. It’s great for balanced, hard-to-mess-up brewing, especially of coffees that are more delicate.
I use 25g of coffee on a Forte (setting 6M)
The total water for the recipe is 400ml of brew water from two V-Temp Kettles set to 203 F.
I bloom 60ml for 45 seconds, then pulse to 200ml while applying a moderate amount of agitation through my pour. I should hit this target around 1:15 or 1:30.
Then I switch to the second kettle, which has a flow-restrictor installed. I pour the remaining 200ml of water very slowly (thanks to the flow restrictor). The last of my water will be in the dripper by 2:30.
The idea there is to minimize agitation during late-stage extraction. If you consider how early on in the process we see acidic and sweet compounds extract and later on we see more bitter flavors develop, I think it makes the most sense with dense, sweet coffees to extract heavily early on, then to simply taper off the end of the extraction in order to hit a desirable concentration while not overpowering the beverage with over-extraction flavors.
In all, I am almost continuously pouring water (with the exception of the bloom). Total contact time should be around 3:30. After a quick re-incorporation (stirring) the coffee is ready to serve. The tasting notes are:
Aromatics of brown sugar, black tea, orange zest, clove, and cardamom. It all comes together like a fresh baked pie.
Flavors of brown sugar and orange up front. Black tea emerges as the coffee starts to cool off. This transforms into rooibos tea, then golden raisin joins the fray at medium temperate (that “perfectly drinkable” stage). As the coffee is cooled further, ruby red grapefruit comes up.
Aftertaste is like black tea and grapefruit.
Acidity is medium-high, juicy, and citric like a tangerine.
Body is medium in intensity and the mouthfeel is silky.
Mikuba is a hill in Burundi where the coffee I used was grown. It’s pretty high in elevation, which makes for sweeter, more complex coffees. Farmers on Mikuba Hill grow Bourbon coffee, which is a classic, sweet coffee varietal. They harvest meticulously, only selecting cherry at peak-ripeness. The coffee is fully washed, with two-stage fermentation. Drying takes place on raised beds as is common in Africa.
The story behind Mikuba is pretty cool. Thanks to the work of an organization called the Long Miles Coffee Project, farmers in Burundi have started trying new practices, and are building connections directly with coffee roasters. This means they’re able to sell their coffee for higher and higher prices, which in turn elevates the quality of life of the people who work on these farms. Even though Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, coffee farmers there can see real income growth through the coffee trade.