Brian Beyke

Crema Coffee - Colombia La Cristalina - Mistobox - June 2014

Brian Beyke


Like Panther Coffee, my first encounter with CREMA, too, came from March’s Mistobox.  Recently my wife, daughter, and I made a day trip down to Nashville and had full intentions of swinging by CREMA, but our daughter’s patience had other plans.  We had swung by The Pharmacy for a burger, one of the best I’ve ever had, and then Barista Parlour for it’s proximity to the restaurant.  While we enjoyed our experience there, we still wait for the day we can return to Nashville, Tennessee and spend some time in the shop that so many of our friends rave about.  Until then, we’ll dream of those days with a cup of La Cristalina, Colombia.

Grown in Guatica, Colombia at 1500 - 1900 meters above sea level. La Cristalina, “Crystal Clear Waterfall” is farmed by a group of neighboring farmers in Guatica.  The word “cooperative” has not always been related to the specialty coffee sector.  La Cristalina, however, has been able to unify the spirit of a cooperative with all the requirements and the philosophy of the world of specialty coffee.  They constantly train their members about coffee in order to ensure the best quality for each bag of coffee they produce.


Roaster: CREMA Coffee

Region: Guatica, Colombia

Farm: La Cristalina

Process: Fully Washed

Varietal: Caturra

Elevation: 1,530m

Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:05 total time | 203 degrees | 1.42 TDS | 21.30% Ext.

I am welcomed to a balanced, slightly nutty, and apple sweetened creamy cup.  The acidity is lightly crisp, and a bit juicy.  It carries some clean properties that makes me think of apple or grape, but through the sips stone fruit sweetness of apricot and plum seem to appear as well, ultimately leading to a mild citrusy finish with clean pops of fruit, slight floral and herbal elements, and nutty notes.

As the cup settles in you get a bit more honey or toffee sweetness to the body of the cup, while still a bit effervescent on the front of each sip- a bit brighter, but always staying very harmonious with the rest of it’s attributes.  While the cup holds great clarity of the fruit notes mentioned earlier, it also has a neat complexity that brings out further fruit notes like cantaloupe and raisin along with chocolate, nuts, vanilla cream, molasses, and honey butter, all with a slightly drying mouthfeel.  

But there is no mistaking, this is a sweet offering from beginning to end, with a pleasing and delicate profile in the coolest moments, balanced on all levels.  


Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 19.90% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Soft and sweet start to the cup.  A bit creamy of a mouthfeel, nutty, crisp and light acidity.  As flavors reveal you get notes of sweet lemon, blackberry compote, apricot, and apple.

Soon it sweetens more and I find those grape and plum pops like I mentioned in the previous make.  Overall it has a very clean presentation, round in body, balanced, sweet, crisp and slightly tingly, slightly bubbly acidity, with a nutty and herbal finish.

Even further the cup increases on it’s transparency, providing you with a bit softer of a cup that seems to draw out more fruit notes and more sweetness.  Pops of melon and dried fruits makes their way into the cup, along with chocolate and honey.  A bit more dense that the previous make, and slightly less complex.  Still remains nice and sweet, enjoyable and balanced, I just felt there was a bit more going on in the end of the previous make.    


Some people may wonder why some of my write-ups only have two methods.  I apologize to anyone who may feel slighted in that, and as much as I wish I could note every single cup of coffee I drink, the truth is I drink coffee for enjoyment.  There are times I brew up cups for my wife and I, for friends, and times I throw beans in the grinder and work on espresso based drinks, and I just don’t have plans to whip out the refractometer or note pad, and I just drink.  Such is the case with the delicious La Cristalina.  

The stand out characteristic of this cup would be its clarity.  It is light and clean, perfect for this time of year and wonderfully indicative of the region it comes from.  However, I am going to assume the region is named for it’s land features, not the presentation in a Hario V60.  Either way, I enjoyed having this selection in this month’s box.  There are so many different traits to coffees from Colombia and it’s great to experience them, be it in Mistobox or otherwise.  Expect a sweet cup, balanced from beginning to end that is rich, complex, delicate, well rounded, and sure to please whatever way you chose to brew it.  

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.