After reviewing Metropolis Coffee Company’s Colombia Alto Palmar-Viota yesterday and falling in love with Metropolis all over again, I wanted to make it a point today to get another cup of their brew. Now that I’ve come back home, I want to stay a while. So, I toddled back over to The Wormhole, checked in on Yelp!, became the Duke of Wormhole (#allhail), and headed back out into this gloomy, rainy Wednesday with a cup of Metropolis’s Guatemala Finca Culpan.
Ready to have another Metropolitan experience? Feel free to pull up a chair.
Today’s coffee comes to us from Columba Quetzaltenango, in the San Marcos Department of Guatemala. Finca El Culpan, the farm that grows these beans, rests snuggled in the foothills and forests of the Santiaguito Volcano. The Toledo family has been growing coffee at Finca El Culpan for five generations now, garnering experience and praise, passing down knowledge and tradition from generation to generation.
The process begins with the picking and selection of only the ripest deep-red cherries. The farm actually limits their production to maintain quality, following a strict operating cycle planned out over a twenty-year period. After the cherries are picked, they are then processed immediately in the ecologically-friendly wet mill (or “beneficio humedo”). After hulling, the beans are carefully fermented and dried until they reach their optimal humidity for further storage and processing. Before shipment, the parchment is husked and a final selection removes all other unwanted material.
Culpan was founded over a century ago by Don Francisco Ocheita, who, after many years building up his farm, passed it on to his grandson Roberto in the 1940s. Roberto Toledo spent the rest of his life seeking excellence in coffee. After his death in 2008, his daughters and grandson, Juan Diego, decided to take over Culpan, continuing Roberto’s quest for quality and, in the family’s words, his “tradition of care.”
Origin: Columba Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, Guatemala
Farm: Finca El Culpan
Elevation: 1200-1500 meters above sea level
Cultivars: Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai
Process: washed, patio dried
Finca Culpan’s aroma is pretty bold and deep and really hits the nostrils. It has some really nice salty, peanut buttery elements to it, with a bit of cocoa powder mixed in. There’s also a faint tinge of vegetation and herbs – like parsley and basil, maybe a hint of juniper.
The first few sips are really interesting. Again, this tastes a little vegetal upfront but it also has a little bit of a “kick” to it – a “zing,” if you will. I don’t want to commit to saying it tastes like cilantro, but that’s what the cuppers at Metropolis tasted too. It tastes like a little bit like green pepper, but one that tingles the palate – I guess that’s an accurate description for cilantro.
As the cup cools, the coffee starts to taste like – there’s no other way to say it – pico de gallo. I mean, it’s got that cilantro-like vegetal/herbal taste while it’s hot, that eventually gives way to a limey-citric acidity as it cools off. However, the closer the coffee gets to room temperature, the more the fiesta dissipates. What was once a bright, vibrant, lively, spicy coffee slowly starts to become a sweet and decadent coffee. Now, instead of pico de gallo, I’m starting to think this coffee tastes more like a brownie – cocoa and roasted almonds.
What is going on with this coffee…?
Finally, at room temperature, the tangerine-lime acidity picks back up, and I’m also detecting traces of salted caramel or peanuts, along with the fruitiness of plum or red grape.
Medium body; bright, lively acidity; dry finish; smooth, palate-coating honey mouthfeel.
the bottom line:
I can’t stand it when my tasting notes veer away from the roaster’s notes, because I always think “Well, they’d know better than me.” But, with the Guatemala Finca Culpan from Metropolis Coffee Company, I’m sticking to my guns. The flavors I detected at each stage of the cup’s life were too unique and distinct to do otherwise. This coffee is an adventurous thrill-ride that you better buckle up for when you start sipping – it’s vegetal, it’s herbal, it’s spicy, it’s fruity, it’s juicy, it’s sour, it’s sweet, it’s bright and lively, it’s full-flavored and soothing, and it’s everything in between.
I want to try this one again and again (andagainandagainandagain), because the notes I jotted down were so all over the place I almost don’t trust them. Maybe I’m just going crazy. Maybe my palate just wasn’t working today.
However, as exciting and spontaneous as this coffee was, I certainly enjoyed it. I mean, I enjoyed it enough to try it again. And again (andagainandagainandagain).
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