Beans: Back to Black, Yellow Caturra, Washed, Tabaconas, San Ignacio, Peru.
Shop: Back to Black, Webshop, Amnsterdam, The Netherlands.
Back to Black: Background information.
In July 2014, the doors of the first Back to Black specialty coffee bar, on Weteringstraat in Amsterdam, opened it’s doors. In 2015 they started roasting their our own coffee. From that moment on Back to Black was constantly looking for special coffees with distinct characteristics. They also carefully select the green bean importers who encourage farmers in various ways to work more sustainably and care for the environment. In short they aim to make the chain as transparent as possible, so that the consumer can obtain all information about the coffee. In addition to 2 coffee bars, a roaster and a bakery, Back to Black opened their own training room in 2020 where they provide tailor-made coffee trainings.
The Susy Alcaron coffee is a washed Yellow Caturra that was grown at an altitude of 1850 meters above sea level. The coffee comes from the Tabaconas area in the San Ignacio region in Peru. The farmer, Susy Alcaron, is only 27 years old but already a veteran in the industry. As it is, Susy is a 3rd generation of coffeeproducer in her family and knows as much about coffee as anyone double her age.
Back to Black: Opening the package.
Back to Black uses a beige paper package with a ziplock and a degassing valve. On the front of the package is the logo which depicts a woman holding a cup of coffee. The logo gives off a sailor-tatoo kind of vibe which is playfull but also nice to look at.
Below the logo you will find the origin and the name of the coffee. The rest of the information is published on the back of the package.
The farmer, variety, region, process, altitude, harvest, body and even some tasting notes. In short it is all the information you want and need.
Opening the package of the Susy Alcaron produces a sweet aroma of raisin, plum and a hint of tamarinde. The beans are evenly roasted and there a no defect inside.
The bean is crispy and once more the tamarinde comes forth, this time as a flavour. After a while the sweetness becomes a little tea-leaf bitter. The ground coffee has a sweet aroma of raisin and a savoury broth-like aroma.
Susy Alcaron: The Tasting.
I reviewed this coffee on the Aeropress, the V60, Go-Brew and the Siphon. I used both the Comandante C40 Mark II and the Eureka Brew-Pro for grinding this coffee.
When you first take a sip there is a winey aspect to this coffee that is only there when it’s hot. after a few moment this will fade away and make room for a beautiful sweetness that reminds me of raisins and plum. The coffee is, at this point, fairly juicy and creates quite a bit of saliva.
Swirl the coffee round and slurp some oxygen inside when you take the next sip.
This next sip is becoming more balanced already in terms of the flavours and sweetness. What I mean is that neither acidity, flavours or acidity are dominant in your mouth. Notice how the raisins and plum combine perfectly and even create a tutti-frutti sweetness to the cup. At this point you will get another flavour, that of tamarinde. This is a fruit from the Tamarind tree that can only be found in tropical Africa. Furthermore you will discover a cascara flavour popping up as well. As the coffee cools down even more, there appears a very faint cocoa mouthfeel on the side of the tongue, giving this coffee the flavour of a raisin/chocolate bar. It’s not as if you’re actually tasting the chocolate but it is more the impression of the raisin/plum/tamarind flavour that pulls it off.
As the coffee cools down, the mouthfeel gets thicker and really feels velvety. The acidity is bright and a little malic at first, turning lemony as the coffee cools down. The body is a medium syrupy thick body which feels great in your mouth.
Back to Black is a well known coffee shop in Amsterdam and so I was curious as to the quality of their roasted coffee. The Susy Alcaron a very pleasant coffee that has great flavours of raisin, plum, tamarind and cascara. The sweetness is what stands out and the juicyness emphasizes this with each sip.
The body is the next part that I like a lot. It’s thick, syrupy but not heavy on the stomach. The acdity changes from a light bright malic to citric lemony and complements the flavours well.
The Susy Alcaron is definitely a coffee that you can drink all day, every day when you’re in the neighbourhood of one of the Back to Black shops, do give it a try. There is a link to their webshop in the top part of this article for you, in case you are interested in buying this coffee.