Brian Beyke

Tandem Coffee Roasters - Colombia San Sebastian - Mistobox - May 2014

Brian Beyke


As we open this month’s Mistobox we see some familiar faces.  Not just in roaster selection, but also in regions.  This will be our second visit to Maine’s Tandem Coffee Roasters, and our second/third visit to San Sebastian.  San Sebastian was actually visited early on in the year as soon as I started this blog, both regular and peaberry selections by Madcap.  Looking back at the technical details though, I’m not quite sure we are looking at the same coffee, so perhaps that is irrelevant.  What is not irrelevant, however, is getting to see another coffee from this Colombian region and another peek at the roasting styles of Tandem.  Let’s break open this bag of Colombia San Sebastian.  

Cauca is a Department, or State, in Colombia.  The capital Popayan has a little over a quarter million people within the city limits.  Cauca stretches from the Western Cordillera mountain range to the Pacific Ocean.  Valle de Cauca is to the North and Narino to the south.  

Farmers in this region average about six acres of land.  They pick, pulp, ferment and dry their coffee on raised beds with parabolic covers.  They tend to work similar varietals, some old, some relatively old and some new but the style is pretty much the same.

The terroir or soil, sun weather and placement on the planet contribute largely to the flavor of these coffees, when picked ripe and handled properly.  These coffees are selected by cup and then blended together like a Rhone wine or a local honey that comes many fields in a four mile radius. 


Roaster: Tandem Coffee Roasters

Origin: Colombia, Cauca

Producer: Various Small Producers

Process: Fully washed & sun dried

Varieties: Caturra, Colombia, Castillo

Elevation: 1,400 - 1,900m


Brew Method:

Woodneck | 29g © to 480g (w) | 4:00 total time | 198 degrees | 1.31 TDS | 20.12% Ext.

Comforting cup- light hints of apple and caramel. Smooth and clean. Cream flavor in the finish.  

As it opens up it stays with some crisp apple notes, hints of pear and grape too (specifically apple and grape skin) with soft cocoa in the finish.  Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot of development.  I am catching hints of butterscotch too in the finish which are quite fun, along with a softly developing honey-tea.

More molasses sweetness and cherry comes up from the cup, still maintaining a pristine clarity in the cup.  Quite light-medium body and easy to drink as the months warm up.  I imagine iced this will be quite a cup.   


Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 197 degrees | 1.30 TDS | 19.55% Ext. (preferred method)

Very crisp on the front.  Reminds me a bit of apple cider, as there are hints of warm spices to the finish like cinnamon.  It has a light syrupy texture as well. Medium bodied, balanced, and clean.

Fruit notes seem to be apple, pear, cherry, grape- sliding right into a syrupy and swirly body.  Molasses, honey, maple syrup sweetness starts to emerge more from the cup, clear and  pleasing and transitioning perfectly into a slightly tea-like finish.

Cooling further the cup grows a bit creamier with toffee, cherry, dried fruits like prune and cranberry, even melon notes finishing the cup out.  

 Comfortable and pleasing.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Colombia has been rocking some delicious coffees lately and this selection from Tandem is one of those delicious coffees.  This was a comfortable and naturally sweet coffee, balanced and smooth.  Definitely strayed in flavor from the Madcap offering which looks to have had bourbon variety, which could be why those notes (in retrospect) had more intensity to the fruit notes.  Either way, this offering was delicious.  I am a big fan of coffees with grape and melon like sweetness and clarity, I think it adds a light high end clarity to the coffee which makes great play off syrupy bodies.  A throw back to region and roaster, and a great start to this month’s Mistobox.  

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.