Beans: Guatemala Antigua SHB, Bourbon/Caturra, washed process, Strictly hard bean, Antigua, Guatemala
Shop: Out of the Grey, Pennsylvania, USA.
Out of the Grey – Guatemala Antigua SHB: Background information.
Guatemala is known for its many complex coffees that it produces. Most famous are the coffees from Huehuetenango and Coban, but Antigua most definitely belongs in the same category. This coffee is a SHB coffee from Antigua. The highest grade of Guatemala coffee is Strictly Hard Bean (SHB). The regionally designated coffees (Antigua, Atitlan, Cobán, etc) are tasted and approved as meeting flavor profile criteria established for these regions by ANACAFE, the Guatemalan coffee association. Those coffees that do not meet regional flavor profile criteria are only allowed to be sold as Strictly Hard Bean without regional designation.
Finca Las Nubes is located at an altitude between 1550m and 1900m above sea level. This finca has been around since 1970 as is run by the Echeverria family in Sacatepequez, Antigua. The farm is located in a part of Antigua that has a higher humidity than normal because it is located nearer to the sea than other fincas. This results in a faster ripening of the cherries and more complex cupping notes than other fincas in the area.
The Antigua coffee from Guatemala is known for its floral acidity, fruity and spicy notes. As you will read in my review, these notes come back in this coffee as well.
Out of the Grey – Guatemala Antigua SHB: Opening the package.
The package of Out of the Grey comes in a beige colour with black printing on the front and back. At the bottom front you can read about some tasting notes. The package comes with a ziplock and a degassing valve to keep your coffee as fresh as possible. When opening the package a soft sweet scent comes forth that makes me think of milky chocolate with hazelnut and a floral aspect to it. When I eat a bean there is a soft sourness to it and hardly any bitter at all. As soon as I start grinding the beans the room fills itself with the scent of a sweet cookie combined with a hint of sweetness found in milk chocolate and vanilla. I guess it’s time to brew!
Out of the Grey – Guatemala Antigua SHB: The tasting.
I have tried a lot of dosages with this coffee and found that a brew with 19 to 19.5 grams gives the best result. As the syrupy brew comes out of my machine the scent slowly creeps up my nose to reveal a combination of vanilla, spices and a floral note. I take a sip and slurp oxygen inside my mouth before letting the coffee swirl through my mouth. The first thing that I notice is how silky and buttery this coffee feels to my mouth. The crema is nice and thick and a myriad of flavors appear on my tongue. The sweetness is definitely there and blends nicely with fruity lychee, soft licorice and spices. The coffee develops more and vanilla is added to the mix of flavours as well. As I let the coffee rest inside my mouth the sweetness develops into a far away caramel flavour. This flavour is accompanied by tannins that slowly expand and make me think of cocoa. The tannins stay with me in the aftertaste but get a sweet touch to it after a few seconds. The acidity is gentle and sparkly while the body of this coffee is medium to full.
Out of the Grey – Guatemala Antigua SHB: The Verdict.
The Guatemala Antigua SHB from Out of the Grey is great. The coffee will make you want to sit down and enjoy every aspect of the brew because of the different flavors and aroma’s that it has to offer. Vanilla, spices, caramel and even the scent of sugared cookies comes along while grinding and brewing. In your mouth you will feel the buttery and silky texture taking over while releasing flavors of licorice, caramel, fruity lychee and, yet again, sugary sweetness. Just like a good Guatemalan coffee is supposed to do, it will give off a long lingering aftertaste with soft tannins that gently take over your mouth. All this in combination with a soft sparkly acidity and medium full body makes for an ideal morning coffee to start your day with. As an extra tip I must add that you keep the dosage high in your portafilter since it will only make the coffee come out even better.
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