A LIGHT DARK ROAST:
People have been drinking dark roasts for over two-centuries and it seems both short-sighted and careless to ignore history. And yet if you roast too dark, all of the unique flavours of origin are lost and you simply taste the bitter burn and one-dimensional char of the roast process itself. Shady Lane is a new way of roasting that uses a gentle approach and precise technique to strike a compromise: it engages in the coffee past with an approachable low-acidity but also showcases the deeply sweet and delicious chocolaty notes possible with particular origins. It is new and old because as the Pavement song concludes, "the worlds collide, but all that we want is a shady lane".
Puno’s Sandia Valley is full of smallholder farms producing truly unique coffee. Thanks to a UN-led initiative in the Eighties, the valley is full of Bourbon-variety coffees including Caturra, Red Bourbon, and Yellow Bourbon. This translates to floral and sweet cups with the malic characteristics of a great apple or pear. Our San Isidro Valley lot comes by way of Aleco at Red Fox Merchants, who established working relationships with Puno farmers all the way back in 2007. He describes finding a coffee with “mind-blowing florals and gorgeous sweetness” which he “had to track down”. This meant “a 13-hour bus ride in blazing heat and humidity” but the result was meeting their “now employee Tibed Yujra”. He continues “we quickly became close friends” and have since “come back to buy coffee every year”.
San Isidro is perfect for Shady Lane with its classic, thick and sweet profile. It opens on apple and pear but with a low-key acidity closer to pies or tarts than fruit freshly picked from a tree. It has a robust mouthfeel with lots of chocolate and nutty notes. It is a perfect option for espresso and takes milk very well with a finish that lands between pecan buttertart and rocky road ice cream. After brewing it this week, I certainly understand why Aleco took that 13-hour bus ride and moreover, why he returns to Puno every year.
For espresso, use a 1:2 to 1:2.1 ratio in 29-33 seconds.
Classic with McIntosh Apple & Butter-tart.
Yanahuaya, Sandia Valley, Puno.
4 Members of the San Isidro Producer Group.
Yellow Caturra, Red Caturra, Typica, Castillo & Geisha.
Red Fox Merchants.