Brian Beyke

Passion House Coffee Roasters - Finca La Bolsa Mirador Guatemala - Mistobox - April 2014

Brian Beyke


I’m not all too familiar with Chicago, IL's Passion House Coffee Roasters, but I know several people who are constantly clamoring about their always delicious offerings.  I was about to put an order in for a coffee when my Mistobox arrived and this lovely selection was in it.  Similar to Stone Creek’s Lab, Seasonal, and Classic Series’ I’ve mentioned before, Passion House labels their bags Ambient, Mainstream, or Experimental.

Ambient: These simple beauties allow you to be either fully engaged in its subtle complexity or just gulp it down.

Mainstream: You don’t need to be embarrassed because you love them, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the balance we expertly craft.

Experimental: These coffees push the boundaries of what you know coffee to be.

These types of things intrigue me as I may not always be looking for some wild, whacky, new wave roast coffee (I don’t know why I wouldn’t but for the sake of this intro, follow me.)  Today, we’ll look at the Mainstream labeled: Finca La Bolsa Mirador.  

La Bolsa is an estate in La Libertad, Huehuetenango, known for their consistent quality year after year. They have won multiple awards as well as had their coffee used by participants in many barista competitions. In 1956 Dr. Jorge Vides Molina bought a piece of land named La Bolsa, meaning pocket, it was given that name because it is located between large mountains, in the pocket. The estate has two rivers which run across the property, leaving an island that houses their patio, where they dry their coffee, the processing mill, a farmhouse, and a school. La Bolsa also has its own natural spring water & they use earthworms for processing organic matter.


Roaster: Passion House Coffee Roasters

Origin: La Libertad, Huehuetenango, Guatemala

Producer: Molina Family

Process: Fully washed

Varieties: Bourbon/Caturra

Elevation: 1,500 - 2,000m

Brew Method:

Bonmac | 24.5g © to 343g (w) | 3:05 total time | 201 degrees (preferred method)

Brewed to: Nosaj Thing ft. Toro Y Moi - Try

Brewing aroma - Herbal

Nose - Spiced nuts

Initial sips are really mellow. Medium bodied but more weight is in the finish than the initial sips.  Really pleasing herbal bed with candied sweetness to the finish - honey or caramel too. Has a really neat feeling in the throat, menthol-esque straight back.

Not a very detectible acidity yet, more focus is on those finishing notes and rear mouth feel, now adding in some more earthy elements like wood tones, autumn leaves, and the faintest of floral whiffs.

As it cools I’m finding more baked apple pie notes, the homemade kind where some of the edges get extra toasty.  Still swishing around herbal and tea-like notes too.  Nuts, raisin, chocolate bar: a nice trail mix of flavor presented.  Chocolate covered cherries seem to take form as well with a liquor-like finish.

The aroma of the cup is sweeter now, sort of indicative of what you find in the cup as those cherry notes start to become a bit more rounded and juicy, with that honey sweetness creeping back into the lingering finish. Raisinettes and milk-duds come to mind with a more noticeable acidity that crescendos but never attacks, leaving your mouth with notes both sophisticatedly sweet and comforting.

Final draws of the cup find cherry notes that really brighten the cup, herbal tea in the middle notes, and chocolate and tobacco drawing the sips away.  



Brew Method:

Woodneck | 34g © to 476g (w) | 4:40 total time | 201 degrees

Introduction has sweet cherry and apple fruit notes to a slightly herbal bed with smooth chocolate (like out of a lava cake) finish. Super clean, medium to full body.

Digging deeper I can notice the apple and pear come out more, with almost a sparkling quality to the acidity with honey and floral notes also making themself known in the finish, which too has taken on some nuttiness and the slightest detection of wood.

The cup grows brighter with bing cherry sweetness as it cools but is quickly balanced out by spiced nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate low notes that make for a ton of flavor but also a well rounded experience.  The long finish still retaining those woody tones.


Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 202 degrees

More viscous and syrupy than other makes with more prominent chocolate notes. Juicy cherry and apple notes reside in the cup with honey, burnt sugar and woodsy finishing.  Still very clean, with a slightly more reserved herbal middle bed than previous makes.  

Pear stands out and moves quickly into a nutty finish, again much like other makes.  The acidity, contrary to other makes, isn’t as bright and sits mid to rear mouth with sea salt chocolate bar finishing and tobacco.

Once settling in you still have those sweet cherry and apple pie notes with sweet honey finishing over a slightly less noticeable herbal bed and moving to a little less intense woodsy finishing.

Weighty, herbal, dried fruits, unpredictable.  


I think Passion House could have just about given any of the labels to this coffee.   It could be labeled Ambient because I was overly pleased with its complexity and balance of flavors, and just how enjoyable it was.  I could dive into the coffee and just swim around and find notes of this, or pops of that.  It could be labeled Experimental because it seemed just so unpredictable to me.  Now, don’t read that as uncontrolled… I just mean that I had no idea what was around the next corner.  It was a pretty unique cup, unlike other offerings I’ve had from Guatemala.  Alas, it was given Mainstream.  I’m not embarrassed by it at all - I thoroughly enjoyed this offering, and what Passion house did with it.  One of the more interesting coffees I’ve had lately.  


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.