There is no greater feeling, as a coffee blogger, than watching my mailman push his cart of envelopes, magazines, and boxes up the street, turn into my apartment courtyard, open up my mailbox, and place a huge package with my name on it inside. Then, when I immediately rush outside with my mailbox key, open it up, and a massive coffee aroma comes exploding out of it…?
Well, I guess there is one feeling that’s a little better than spying on the mailman.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sampling a cup of Guatemala Finca Retana, from Kuma Coffee in Seattle. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Call me biased, but I firmly believe that coffee bloggers are any given roaster’s best friend. There is no resource that is more accessible nor more reliable for a roaster to spread the word about his or her company than the Internet and bloggers are their gateway to the caffeinated masses.
So it’s no wonder that roasters are often the best friends of many of us bloggers. One such roaster is Mr. Mark Barany. Mark is a big supporter of us bloggers, often sending samples of his roasts to the likes of Randy Levine of SnobCoffery, Jamie Ferguson of The Coffee Adventures, and Ben Blake of Draw Coffee.
This is third coffee I’ve had from Kuma Coffee, courtesy of founder and owner, Mark Barany. Before we take our first few slurps of this cup, I’d like to first propose a toast to Mr. Barany—thanks for being a supporter of this Table, and other coffee review blogs, and guaranteeing that we have coffees to review because of your generous submissions.
For today’s cupping, Mark has graciously sent us some beans that hail from Fernando Cofiño’s farm, Finca Retana.
Covering about 45 hectares of land, Finca Retana is a small and very traditional coffee plantation located in central Antigua, Guatemala. Fernando grows solely Yellow and Red Bourbon plants in loamy, volcanic soil—this package is 100% Red Bourbon from one of the farm’s microlots—at an elevation of about 1600 meters on the valley floor. The property has a natural forest area, which has been reforested with pine and cypress varieties native to the region.
This is a pretty well-regarded farm too, placing highly in last year’s Guatemala Cup of Excellence.
origin: Antigua, Sacatepequez, Guatemala
farm: Finca Retana
elevation: 1600 meters above sea level
cultivars: Red Bourbon
process: washed, patio dried
The aroma coming out of the package is heavenly. Wafts of crisp apple, plum, honey, apricot, and floral notes emerge out of the dry grounds and the wet grounds alike.
While the coffee is still hot, brown sugar sweetness emerges front and center, defining the cup with a baked goods sweetness. There’s also plenty of chocolate that pushes the sugars forward, while a bed of honey coats the palate; the chocolate and sugar comes flowing in over the top of it, tickling the sides and tip of the tongue while the honey coating flows right down the middle.
As the cup cools off, it gets markedly sweeter and drastically more acidic as an artesian well of fruity and citric juiciness cracks the crust of the hot cup and explodes onto the palate. Clementine, apricot, tangerine, maybe a touch of strawberry, blood orange, plum, and a massive malic acidity—like the subtle tartness of the juice of a Fuji apple. This cup has a clean and crisp finish that is characterized by that acidic snap, and it leaves behind a sparkling, clean aftertaste that is reminiscent of apples and pears.
Medium body; syrupy, honey mouthfeel; malic acidity; clean finish, slightly lingering aftertaste.
the bottom line:
So far at the Table, Kuma Coffee is three-for-three.
The Guatemala Finca Retana is a tremendous cup of coffee—one that embodies everything that I love about Guatemalas, Red Bourbons, and excellent roasting. A medium-bodied cup that is equal parts adventurous and delightful, interesting and delicious, complex and approachable; a cup that certainly has a lot of moving parts, a lot of intricacies, and most definitely a lot of flavor, but one that even the casual coffee drinker can enjoy without scrambling for the cream and sugar.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.