Brewers log: Primo Passo’s (née Stumptown’s) Coeur d’Afrique

*Primo Passo's* (née *Stumptown's*) "Couer d'Afrique"

Now playing in my mug, the Couer d’Afrique from Primo Passo née Stumptown.

Primo Passo is a beautiful new coffee bar in Santa Monica, serving Stumptown coffee under its own brand1.

The place is gorgeous, almost ethereal. It’s white everywhere — the walls, the ceiling, even the floors (I don’t know how they keep that). The coffee bar — all dark wood and details against the rest of the space’s austere whiteness — appears to almost float in the literal middle of both the horizontal as well as the vertical dimensions of the space.

But all of that is for another piece. “Brewer’s log” is all about the coffee.

The Couer d’Afrique is a blend made up of coffees from both Burundi and Rwanda. “The Heart of Africa” is the translation. A fairly apt description, at least from a geographical standpoint.

Coffees from Rwanda and Burundi seem to be everywhere right now. I recently had one from Intelligentsia that was quite nice. They can be a challenge. They’re a concentrated bunch. In the cup, the fruit is of the dried variety — raisins, etc. — but the desirable dimensions of those dried fruit notes can easily translate to their undesirable bitter, almost burnt dimensions and it doesn’t take much — a degree here, a gram there — to bring out the badness. I find that, with coffees from these areas, many times I spend a lot of effort coaxing the delicate and the vibrant out from behind the more oppressive, overly-concentrated forms of those fruit notes. This coffee is no exception.

The best

…so far…

Brew method: Hario V60 • Brew ratio: 13:1 = 444:34

Grind: first fine on the Capresso Infiniti • Temp 95° C • Time: 3:14

This was a surprise. My first V60 was nothing to write home about — a wall of overpowering concentration getting in the way of anything else. It was a smaller 355g batch. It looks like, that if I have the coffee, I need to recalibrate my numbers for that batch size in the V60, because out of nowhere, using my default measurements for the larger 444g batch I got…

A full lactic sugar body that reminded me of milk chocolate, savoriness, soy sauce, and a pleasant dryness in the finish.

Muuuuch better. The best so far.

  1. I don’t know how I feel about the re-branded coffee thing. There is a certain lack of transparency to it. I know that it’s Stumptown coffee because … well … c’mon, I write a friggin’ coffee blog (the info is out there), but would the bulk of the shop’s customers know — it’s not explicitly stated anywhere that I was able to see and the coffee’s roasting source is nowhere to be seen on the bag itself. Does it even matter? Questions, questions. 


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