Brian Beyke

PERC Coffee - Chele'lektu Ethiopia

Brian Beyke

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I had heard of Savannah, GA’s PERC Coffee, but that was about the end of my experience with them.  Luckily, there are numerous friends that tip me off to roasters I haven’t previously experienced, which gives me a chance to see who is offering what, and also where they are located (which is immensely helpful when traveling).  Philip Brown, owner and roaster, was kind enough to send me a few of their coffees which not only let me see a bit of their roasting style, but also some excellent offerings both new and previously visited.  As you may remember in my early posts, I love comparing similar offerings from roaster to roaster and see what each one emphasizes in the bean.  Visiting (and loving) Chele’lektu when recently offered by Ruby Roasters, I was excited to dig into it again from PERC.  As is stated in Philip’s story, he mentions he was fascinated by coffee origins and using alternative brew methods to highlight each varietal’s inherent qualities, so it’s exciting to dig into these brews and really see what gets highlighted through the various methods I use.  Let’s get into Chele’lektu Ethiopia from PERC Coffee.

Details:

Roaster: PERC Coffee

Region: Borena Region, Chelelektu, Kochere, Ethiopia

Processing: Fully washed and sundried

Varietal: Heirloom

Elevation: 1,875 - 2,050m

 

Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:25 total time | 198 degrees | 1.35 TDS | 20.25% Ext.

Both brewing aroma and nose of the cup are heavily aromatic, jasmine, rose, lychee, and sweet complexity of tropical fruits and citrus.

Crisp raspberry greets you to the cup, with a mixture of red grapefruit and lime filling the acidity, and silky honey and bergamot filling the main body of the cup.  Gorgeous, luscious, floral lingerings and a silky, rich mouthfeel.

As you dive further you have juicy nectarine and peach sweetness all but bursting out of the cup, but it isn’t intense in the sense of too much.  It remains rich, flavorful, and in control.  The front of the cup stays crisp like berries and the brightness remains balanced in the cup while you find complex notes of passion fruit, lychee, apricot, guava, grape, strawberry shortcake, all drizzled with honey and raspberry coulis, and a citrusy tea-like finish with jasmine infused and threaded through every single note.  The sweetness becomes a bit more candy-like as you slowly become engulfed in floral, fruits, and deliciousness.

*This method highlights the most florals 

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Brew Method:

Able Kone | 30g © to 435g (w) | 3:15 total time | 198 degrees | 1.23 TDS | 18.85% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Not my favorite start to the cup but let’s see what we can make of it.

Initially sips are a bit soft, but sweet and rich.  It reminds me mostly of vanilla icing.  There are floral notes that seems to drift out in the back of each sip, too.

Rich and delicate fruit notes stir around, but seems to lack a lot of definition to really pull out the notes.

Carries notes of apricot, peach and most prominently cherry, with loads of aroma and hints at tropical fruits, I just think the richness is a little overwhelming and doesn’t do this coffee justice. My personal opinion obviously.

*This method is the most rich

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Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 198 degrees | 1.28 TDS | 19.25% Ext.

Back to that beautifully light profile- silky, flowery, lingering.  Lighter than the v60 make, but that’s okay.  This method showcase more jasmine and rose qualities, lemongrass and sweet hints of raspberry, peach and honey showing up in the finish too.

Delicate, rich, lingering.  

When I say rich, it is in no way as much as the Kone.  It’s balanced, delicate, and pleasing while these softly complex fruit notes tease the palate.  Slight tropical fruits of passion fruit on one end, honey kissed raspberries and grape on the other, in the middle are poetic herbal and floral entangles that really draw you in.  Juicy bursts happen here and there, quite refreshing and make me think of melon notes.

In the middle of the cooling stage lemon and plum begin to grow in the front of the cup alongside the raspberry, the body grows a bit sweeter, and the mouthfeel grows a bit more drying.  

At the coolest moments it really shines.  It loses a bit of it’s brightness and grows a bit more cohesive but is still crisp, lightly juicy, sweet, and complex with lingering notes of lemongrass and jasmine.

*This method is the most delicate and complex

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Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 199 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 19.85% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Comfortably juicy.  Seems to have cranberry and raspberry splashes intro to the cup, rich but light.  Once those splashes leave the palate though, it seems to disperse and I sort of lose a sense of what the coffee is.  Let’s try to find it again.

It’s sweet, it’s fruitied, and heavily aromatic with florals and fresh caramels.  It’s refreshing though, I think the melon notes might stand out a bit more here-  clean pops with lemon zest and warm caramel sweetness.  I think I’ve found what has been perplexing me in the cup, a nectary quality to the fruit that just seemed a little dislodged from the cup.  Now that the cup has sat a bit it comes right after the initial sip splashes, sort of like this big round ball of nectary flavor.  In it you find cherry, apple, peach, honey, mango, and lemongrass arriving before the end and lingering into the long finish.  The cup is starting to come together.

There’s a drop toward the end of the cup where it reaches complete balance and cohesion.  The fruit notes become melded together, rich and complex, a lot like we have found in pervious methods of this offering and others coffees this is similar too (Ruby’s Chelelektu, Populace’s Aricha, Kuma’s Aramo).

Those initial bursts of raspberry and cranberry grow a bit more tart and seem to add both lemon and plum to the intro.  A combination of fruits (the likes of which you found in the nectary description above) carry you to the end of each sip where ultimately lemon tea, caramel, and lavender linger, with bergamot surviving past them all.

Not my favorite make of it, but showcased more similarly to normal pour over methods than the Kone.

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Brew Method:

Able Kone (Chemex paper under) | 30g © to 435g (w) | 4:00 total time | 198 degrees | 1.32 TDS | 20.25% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Reminds me a bit of the aeropress.  Crisp raspberry on the front end and a nice, sweet, slightly syrupy body.  It’s more balanced of a cup- still rich but not as much, still juicy but pleasantly so, still syrupy but not that thick.  Has floral lingerings, softer than other makes, but noticeable.  Apple seems to be the main note detected, almost like an apple juice, but the best apple juice ever.

Soon that peachy nectary flavor begins to emerge from the cup, honey flowing right there with it.  Plum, cherry, nougat, mango, cantaloupe, honeydew also show come signs that the are there, pleasantly fruity with less floral emphasis.  

As it grows cooler, it still remains crisp, clean, and juicy-refreshingly so, and gains some of those florals back but overall is just sitting on those soft, not quite as complex fruit notes.  Gains a decent creaminess where some slight melted chocolate and caramel notes reside, but overall  fruity sweetness prevails.

*This method highlights the most juiciness 

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This coffee, I felt, was better somewhere in the veins of 4-10 days off roast.  This could change as I keep making it and see if it is device specific (as I have a second bag now).  I think I made a few bad brews here, but that should be read as user opinion and not coffee opinion.  This coffee, like mentioned with the Ruby offering, is incredibly banging.  When looking at the pour over methods for both roasters, the notes are pretty similar experiences which is awesome.  I think both roasters let the coffee do most of the talking, and with a coffee as delicious as this why wouldn’t you?  While this performs well in a handful of devices, it can be tricky to dial in.  Wait, how does that make sense?  What I mean is, the lighter more complex methods, to me, is where this particular offering shines.  Feel free to try it in a slew of ways if you have it, but a paper drip/pour over style is where I found the coffee to really radiate and when it is dialed in, it is one of the best coffees to come out this year.  The aromatics, the body, its complexity and floral aspects and complete balance of sweet fruit notes and tangled herbals leave this coffee near gesha territory.  For an easily affordable and accessible washed Yirgacheffe offering it fares well for us, as a consumer, to experience such a coffee and also for every link of the chain from seed to cup that meticulously cares for it in order to demonstrate such an experience.  Chelelektu- most likely my favorite Yirgacheffe offering.  

 

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.