Brian Beyke

Ristretto Roasters - Potrero Grande Honduras - Mistobox - April 2014

Brian Beyke


I don’t know much about Portland, OR’s Ristretto Roasters, but I did like this blurb from their site:

We specialize in a medium roast, taking each coffee varietal to its peak of individual perfection—a Panama Honeyed does not have the same flavor profile as an Ethiopia Harar, so no reason to roast them the same.

Now I won’t get into all the “roast level” or “third wave” or whatever conversations that get tossed around a lot, but I do want to give a nod to owner/roaster Din Johnson and Coffee Quality Manager Jill Purdy for their open statement.  There are a lot of shops that can seem slightly daunting or less accessible with their vastly different presentation of “coffee” today, but now with three cafes carrying the name, Ristretto is doing a wonderful job of converting the “dark roast” masses into loving a mellower, subtle cup.  Places like this are good for lots of reasons: 1) most obvious it gives Ristretto business, 2) they bring more people in to the specialty coffee world, and 3) because the more curiosity and exploration, the more people find out about other places crafting excellent coffee as well.  Today we’ll look at Ristretto Roaster’s Honduras Potrero Grande.


Roaster: Ristretto Roasters

Origin: Barrios Las Cruzitas, Honduras

Producer: Jesus Humberto Mata

Process: Fully washed

Varieties: Caturra

Elevation: 1,650m

Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 40g © to 552g (w) | 3:35 total time | 203 degrees

Rather bright off the front with hazelnut finishing.  This reminds me of that sharp, persistent grapefruit type acidity that stays long into the finish with each sip.  There seems to be a lot fruit notes swimming around initially, but it’s hard to land on any specifically because while I ponder spice and nutty notes clean up, with those familiar autumn leaf notes I seem to always mention.

Comforting cherry and plum notes start to sweeten the cup as it cools, and it comes along with a fun sparkling like quality to it.  Molasses/caramel type sweetness seems to linger in the cup as well.  Cooling, more pear seems to come out a bit too and it seems like there would be tropical fruit notes but some savory finish elements muck with the clarity of those notes.  Not in a bad way, it just makes it hard to distinguish.

Finish notes remain a little more rustic with caramel notes and still those pops of stone fruit and hints of tropical fruits.



Brew Method:

Bonmac | 24.5g © to 360g (w) | 3:05 total time | 202 degrees | 1.38 TDS | 18.48% Ext.

Initial sips are lightly syrupy, slight juiciness.  Woodsy notes meet in the finish. Pretty balanced overall.  Seems lighter than the Gino brew and pleasantly so. With that, dried fruits seem to come into play along with some nutty finishing.  I feel like I’m finding tropical fruit notes easier in this method along with banana, but it is a little tricky to decipher anything.  The flavors seem pretty melded together, like a coating web of flavor covered in honey.

The acidity never gets too harsh here, and cools on some really great caramel and fruit tea notes with raisin, plum sweetness most noticeable with hints of spice in the finish.



Brew Method:

Woodneck | 30g © to 476g (w) | 4:15 total time | 202 degrees | 1.34 TDS | 19.84% Ext. (preferred method)

An explosion of well rounded, sweet citrus notes come out with slightly nutty finishing. More alive than other makes with tangerine like acidity and dried fruits in the mix too.

Cooling further the sweet citrus sticks around, this time combined with delicious caramel sweetness to boot.  Grapefruit, passion fruit, mango, peach nectar, plantain, and slightly unripened melon notes all present themselves still with hazelnut finishing that shows some signs of spice too like cinnamon and nutmeg.

There are really interesting notes the more it cools, some savory notes similar to brown rice seem to be at work too with sweetness both before and after in the long finish.  Tea-like notes grow but a really distinct candy sweetness trails closely like a Sugar Daddy.

Bright, nutty, tropical.  


Ristretto definitely provided a great cup of coffee.  This offering was nice and balanced, refined and flavorful, carrying a lot of sweetness and acidity like I’ve found in other coffees from Honduras.  It provided some neat elements: being savory, sweet, citrusy and also a bit woodsy… it is definitely an approachable coffee for those experienced with specialty coffee or not.

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.