Populace Coffee is a roaster I only recently became familiar with through Craft Coffee’s February box for their Sulawesi offering, (don’t worry, this isn’t another Sulawesi review) but Andrew Heppner isn’t a novice when it comes to his pursuit of coffee. In fact, he carries tales of his journey, a journey to bring better coffees and better stories to anyone who is willing to try.
It wasn’t until my local shop Collective Espresso said they’d be getting some in and, coincidentally, my friend BJ messaged me asking if I had a decaf I recommended for him. It just so happened that Populace had a Decaf from Bolivia with some interesting tasting notes - so I told him we’d go half and half on a bag of that, and a bag of this Ecuador I’d had on my “Next” list since browsing their site for the Sulawesi review. Here we sit down with a cup of Ecuador Taza Dorada #9 from Populace Coffee.
Roaster: Populace Coffee
Region: Olmedo, Loja
Farm: Papa Cafe
Producer: Katerina Abad
Process: Fully washed and sun dried
Varieties: Typica, Caturra
Altitude: 1600 mas
Woodneck | 34g © to 476g (w) | 4:30 total time | 202 degrees
Brewing aroma is citrusy and sweet, with a nose on the cup like grape soda.
Initial sips remind me of cinnamon toast crunch. There is a silky mouthfeel and juicy watermelon seemingly dipped in chocolate. It has a really round sweetness lasting into the finish like honey.
Actually, it’s quickly shifting. That honey note is lingering more and more, and as I sip more it it becomes thicker and sweeter like caramel sauce. Grape is also present with floral qualities beginning to surface as well as dustings of cocoa powder in the finish.
Plump plum and grape fruits, muscovado sugary sweetness, dried fruit notes, with a crisp melon finish and even hints of wintergreen or anise in the long finish. It still carries a caramel or buttery characteristic in the body, but otherwise very silky.
It becomes very articulated with delicate and splashy fruit notes and a ginger like acidity - ultimately ending with cherries and cream.
Silky, honey, melon.
V60 no stir | 34g © to 455g (w) | 3:25 total time | 202 degrees (preferred method)
Whipped chocolate, melon, sweet, layered.
Kalita Wave | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:40 total time | 202 degrees
Initial sips are soft and sweet, like chocolate mousse. A creamy body to some otherwise refreshing melon and crisp green apple acidity pops, with a light coating of caramel. (Depending on your grind size, other makes of this are darker and sweet - dark honey notes swirling with musky or woodsy tones)
Slightly tart berry notes too - nothing over the top. Clean, sweet, balanced.
The sweetness starts to rise up similarly as it did in other methods with floral hints. Grape-soda like sweetness with cocoa powder in the finish.
As it cools more you find lime squeezes enter the cup first, then lightly juicy melon notes swish around the sides of the mouth with a muscovado sugar sweetness before falling into a black tea-like body, hints of lemon, floral, and melon acidity.
Soft, melon, sweet.
This is my second coffee from Ecuador, and I had a great time with the bit of it I had. I loved how refreshing this coffee was, and only wished I had more of it to try iced. Maybe it is just my complete inexperience with coffee, but there have been a few I’ve tried lately that have pushed the boundaries and hit on all the senses. The aromas from the cup were relentless, the flavors and development kept growing, and as mentioned in the V60 method above the layers in the cup made it more of a puzzle to what you would find than a playbill.
I’m glad I was able to try more of Populace’s coffees and I look forward to trying more in the future. Michigan - they are coming for you. With coffees in their hands and smiles on their faces.
There’s a good interview for a little more detail of Populace’s start with Andrew for Life & Thyme you can check here.
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.