I tend to like to make connections with flavors between coffees. Like a venn diagram of flavors and aromas. There are many intersections between coffees. Some might share an earthy character but be different in all other respects or two coffees might share a majority of flavors and differ in but a few. Comparisons, I have learned, are the key to tasting. We are always using metaphors when tasting, weather that be the lemony citrus of some Ethiopian coffees or the earthiness of Indonesians.
And so it goes with the Panama Duncan Estate I picked up from Four Barrel ((This is a link to Four Barrel’s retail page and to what appears to possibly be a different coffee. While my bag simply says “Panama Duncan Estate”, Four Barrel is calling this one “Panama Duncan Estate Reserve”. Not sure of the difference.)). This Panama had the sort of prominent tanginess I have come to associate with the coffees of El Salvador. The difference, to my palette was that the tang veered closer to the savory than the sweet. Where the tang of an El Sal might remind me of a light fruit punch or jamaica agua fresca or the chewable orange flavored vitamin C tablets I used to eat like candy as a kid, this Panama had less of the light fruit characteristics I have tasted in many El Salvadorian coffees and more richness (the marzipan notes of the grounds notwithstanding). That richness brought its sweetness closer in character to its savory notes and made me think of Hawaiian style pizza or a delicious pasta sauce made with the ripest of tomatoes. In the cup it was sweet like ripe tomatoes or other, more developed sugars like caramel. In the fragrance of the grounds it was marzipan, honey and butterscotch.
Its savory side reminded me of the herbs (and here we go again with the tomato sauce references – call a spade a spade) I put in my spaghetti sauce – thyme, rosemary, marjoram – but all together, integrated, a single savory hit to the palette.
The acidity had some of the ripe tomato, the aroma was the savoriness, the body was the sweetness. The mouthfeel sat in the middle: not watery thin and not exceedingly syrupy.
I have been playing with my new Hario V60 and like it very much. It’s like a responsive sports car. Any slight change in technique or brewing parameter is almost always immediately evident in the finished product.
For this Panama I settled on a fairly fine grind. A couple steps finer than what I would normally use for a cone drip or a Clever. The water, each time, was :30 off the boil. 32g of coffee to 425g of water. 50g of water to start the bloom and, after :30 more, using a slow and measured pour and never filling the cone more than 3/4 of the way up, I was able to get a 2:30 extraction time.