Brian Beyke

Quill's Coffee - El Eden, Guerrero, Mexico

Brian Beyke

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I was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky.  I lived the first 19 years of my life in that city, and never once stepped foot inside of Quill’s Coffee.  Well, that isn’t true, I walked in there once.  Flash forward to a few years ago when I started getting more into coffee, and I was trying a lot of Quill’s offerings, as I wanted to see what I had been missing out on.  Two coffees specifically jumped out to me last year, and both part of Quill’s Top Shelf line of offerings, the Kiungu Kenya and El Eden Mexico.  I don’t know exactly what captivated me about this coffee, but I know I went through about 6 bags of it over the span of the summer, and frequently bought it on brew bar locally at Collective Espresso.  While I have had a few other Quill’s coffees this year, I wanted this to be the offering I first wrote about.  It is a bit out of character for me as I’m not the largest natural fan, but let us discover the El Eden, Mexico from Quill’s Coffee.    

In his search for farmers who would share his passion for these relationships, and his commitment to the ongoing pursuit of and investment in top-notch coffee quality, Delgado discovered the El Eden Co-op in the Guerrero state of Mexico. What he found in this remote, under-resourced area (one long stifled by poverty, violence and drugs) were farmers with profound dedication to producing great coffee and changing their community.

Years ago the state coffee association in Guerrero encouraged farmers to adopt a natural process for their coffees in order to differentiate them from the more typical wash coffees of Mexico from areas such as Chiapas. But this would mean a costly investment for farmers. The natural (dry) process requires layers of extra work and dedication to detail in order to prevent inconsistencies or defects in the coffee.  Essentially what distinguishes this method from others is that the coffee seed dries in the cherry rather than being immediately removed and washed. While a more difficult and time-consuming method for many farmers, the results - when performed well- can be marvelous. And that is most definitely the case with this coffee from El Eden.

For the second year in a row, we are proud to bring you this dynamic coffee and all it represents from the El Eden co-op in Guerrero, Mexico. These farmers are a small collection of growers with strong initiative and courage in an area stifled by drugs and violence. This is demonstrated in the decidedly unique direction they have taken with their coffee, differentiating it from other Mexican coffees by choosing a natural process in which the coffee is dried while still in the fruit instead of skinned and washed immediately. This process is not common in Mexico, and is much more labor-intensive, but the end result can be phenomenal when done well, as is the case here. 

Details:

Roaster: Quill’s Coffee

Region: Guerrero, Mexico 

Farm: El Eden Co-op

Process: Natural

Varietal: Typica, Bourbon

Elevation: 1,300-1,500m

Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 201 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 20.00% Ext.

Nicely aromatic cup.  Dried fruits, liquor, and spice.

Such an interesting intro to the cup.

The first sips are equally as sweet as they are spiced, throwing elements reminiscent of cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a bit of saltiness in the highs before growing a bit more voluptuous, dense with berry sweetness, almost like a sherry, and a milk chocolatey coating in the finish ending on hints of tropical fruits like mango, guava, and passionfruit.

As it opens you find more sweetness emerge, and more carefully portrayed than you may find in a lot of natural processed offerings.  At the base of each sip a layer of honey, and above that jammy sweetness that reveals huckleberry, cranberry, blackberry, and raspberry… so vivid in flavor to the point that you can almost imagine the berry seeds in the spread moving around the mouth.  

Further flavors of orange, cherry, date, and spiced plum also inch out, a bit differently from sip to sip.  Each sip ends again with another blast of honey sweetness drawn out into the palate, leaving a dark honey, floral, dried fruit and mixed berry reduction lingering on.

Continuing sips still keep that spice in there to challenge the palate, but the additional balance of sweet and tart flavors adds to the complexity.

A complexly sweet, bright and berry fruit cup, with lingering chocolate and liquor.  

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Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:40 total time | 200 degrees | 1.32 TDS | 19.50% Ext.

Like a dessert wine, this cup will sing of natural process nature, giving you intense berry sweetness, strawberry forward, and a deeply rich chocolate finish.  The middle sort of sits like cereal milk, maybe Frosted Flakes or Franken Berry.  

Not a lot to say until the final sips.  It gets really crisp and juicy, soft and saturated with flavor, but probably the most balanced and enjoyable place in the cup.  Strawberries and cream grow more into strawberry Nesquick.

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Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 200 degrees | 1.34 TDS | 20.00% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Hard to get past a deeper aroma, but if you get close enough you can find light notes of raspberry and rose.

Best intro to the coffee so far.  Still a bit cocoa heavy, but nice and sweet wine notes along with berries and cream, finishing with a milk chocolate stream down the tongue.  It is a smooth cup to drink, savory and delightful at the same time.  I love the way it lights up the palate, akin to drinking Mexican hot chocolate.  A hint of cayenne and cinnamon is always right there; but this is a nice mellow sipping cup.

While it’s deep, it sits so pleasantly for a natural processed coffee.  Notes of plum, blackberry, lemon, raspberry, strawberry, ending a bit nutty but overall just a nice, round, cup of coffee.

Diving further the cup continues to be sweetened.  Strawberries and cream isn’t uncommon, flutters of peach pie and chased with a glass of mead.  Sips continue chocolate and fruit saturated all the way to the last drop.

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Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 228g (w) | 1:55 total time | 200 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 20.05% Ext.

This is the most balanced the cup has tasted. The forward fruits are received more like fruit punch, with a winey-soaked berry ending to each sip and and fluffy chocolate mousse finish.  Really clean fruits grow in the middle of the cup, grape, watermelon, a watery pineapple syrup, and honey.

Cooling further it remains light in the cup, but still dense and rich like jelly with raisin, peach, orange, apple butter, plum, and grape notes all seeming to exist.  The finish is a bit salty, a bit nutty, but otherwise clean, slightly drying, and ending with trails of strawberry preserves.

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The Dragon | 15g © to 232g (w) | 1:15 add outer water |  3:15 begin plunge | 4:00 end time  | 207 degrees | 1.27 TDS | 20.75% Ext. (Immersion mode)

More tame berries than some of the other makes, with a nice chocolate soft serve ice cream finish.  Blackberry seems to be highlighted a bit more in this make on the front, with lighter winey tones. It carries a crisp sugar intro before melting over the palate.  Silky, clean, lingering, softly rich.

As it cools, it takes on a watermelon candy sweetness, with a caramel lined trail to the finish and melted milk chocolate ending.  Moments may even remind you of those dehydrated Neapolitan ice cream bars.  

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Espresso | Crossland CC1 | Bottomless triple basket | 20.5g in | 30g out | 0:32 total time | 202 degrees

Incredibly clean and insanely creamy sip after sip, palate saturating fruits, densely sweet blackberry, currant, cherry, and watermelon with strawberry coming in the rear with meyer lemon and nips of ginger and cinnamon in the finish with lingering notes of pipe tobacco.

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The El Eden from Quill’s is one of the craziest coffees that visits these parts.  I do think I remembered it a bit differently last year, but what you find is a sophisticated, challenging, dynamic, flavorful and densely satisfying offering.  While you can drink this as slow or fast as you want, my personal preference for this offering is enjoyed for an evening cup after a long day, accompanying dessert, or just a slowly enjoyed cup.  Cooler moments seem to really offer some shifty and unique experiences from the more straight-forward introduction, so feel free to let this one rest once prepared.  It also played well in both filter and immersion, but I think the immersion methods seemed to reveal a little more interesting notes than the filter.  If you find the brewed version palate whetting, the espresso will absolutely knock you out of your seat.  An intense experience and unrelenting creaminess from the first sip to the last.  Aromatic, complexly sweet, rich, and spiced, this coffee is one to experience for sure. 

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.