Brian Beyke

Temple Coffee - Brazil Select: Araponga

Brian Beyke

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Coming off of Temple Coffee’s impressive pillars of sustainability we read about in the previous review, we see Temple continuing to make strides to support these farmers, their lots, and even how we think about buying coffee in general.  Temple’s Brazil Select: Araponga is their work horse Farm to Cup: Direct blend.  Typically, larger lots of Brazil are lacking in traceability and complexity when it comes to flavor.  They have been happy with purchasing these types of coffees, however at Temple they always want to raise the bar.

Temple Select began as a way to purchase coffee from different producers and support 100% of their crops. Typically, high quality, coffees are skimmed off the top of larger lots leaving the bulk of coffee boring.  They devised the Temple Select in order to not do this.  For 2014, they will offer exceptional (90+ point) micro lot coffees from the same producers who contributed coffee to their blend.  Through careful selection and blending from different lots, they were able to create this exceptional lot which is cupping better than the sum of its parts.

Temple Select is the culmination of six months of planning, sampling about 100 different lots of coffees and blending to create their own unique flavor profile with full traceability.  Let’s dive into Temple’s Brazil Select: Araponga.

Details:

Roaster: Temple Coffee & Tea

Region: Brazil

Farm: 5 Mixed Farms

Process: Pulped Natural / Natural

Varietal: Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon

Elevation: 1,100 - 1,300m

 

Brew Method:

Bonmac | 20g © to 320g (w) | 2:50 total time | 197 degrees | 1.21 TDS | 17.90% Ext.

Nose is spiced - a bit tropical.

First sips are very silky, leaning towards buttery.   A slight nuttiness starts to grow in the cup as I dig further, with increasing chocolate notes and some citrusy finishing that I can’t quite pinpoint yet, but it is getting brighter the more it sits.

A nice sugary sweetness comes in to play as the cup opens more, with cherry and honey notes too becoming more noticeable.  The reservation this cup has is intriguing, as I was expecting more up front flavors for a pulped natural/natural.  It’s very easy going and pleasing, with some nice shifting of flavors around the taste receptors in the mouth.  Most noticeable is this ping-pong almost of sweet to nutty, sweet to nutty.

As the temperature drops more chocolate notes seem to arrive, but still balanced in the cup.  All the notes in the cup are well balanced, with what seems like a complex juiciness that sits in the middle- thinking notes of plum, peach, cherry, currant, lemon, and lime.  

What is most compelling, I’d say, is that I find this honey like sweetness to it and still these whiffs that make me think floral, and it’s just so unlike what I would have thought from a Brazil.  Still a bit of spiced nuts in the finish, but brisk and sweet in the end of each sip.

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Brew Method:

Siphon | 30g © to 480g (w) | 1:20 pull heat - 2:40 total time  | 197 degrees | 1.19 TDS | 20.12% Ext.

Nutty, cocoa, buttery, hints of tropical notes and caramel in the finish.  Lingering orange or grapefruit-like acidity with a mouthfeel that is closer to velvet in texture.

As it cools it begins to open up similarly to the Bonmac - there’s some nice stone fruit sweetness that arrives as well as notes of honey.  The acidity, while less noticeable, is still rather lingering in the middle of the tongue, and still ending with a brisk and nutty finish.  Those nutty notes become slightly less noticeable the more the fruit notes round out - black cherry, plum, currant, orange, still a bit woodsy in the finish too.

There’s this richness to the aroma of the cup that’s really inviting as I continue to dive in, and notes of apple and pear too seem to appear in the cup.  The final sips draw softer than the beginning - comfortable yet complex, sweet, and nutty.

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Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 500g (w) | 3:30 total time | 197 degrees | 1.10 TDS | 17.02% Ext.

Lightly syrupy, slightly juicy, more nutty tones than previous methods.  Light bodied, more than other methods as can be expected with these TDS readings.   Definitely carries the orange notes too - dried cherry and orange, grilled peaches, and candied nuts ending the cup.  Pretty light but surprisingly not as light as I would have thought.  Carried hints of lemon, green tea, and soft chocolate notes into the finish that’s actually really pleasing and really refreshing.  Final sips are like honey on the tongue.  

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Brew Method:

Woodneck | 28g © to 476g (w) | 3:45 total time | 198 degrees | 1.15 TDS | 18.21% Ext.

Really creamy, nutty, and buttery off the front.  Lighter than other methods. Cherry, lemon, and peach notes seem to stick out sweetness-wise in the mix, and an orange-like acidity still sits in the rear, but more reserved due to the preparation.  Cocoa powder still resides in the finish, but overall it’s the nuttiness that stands out.

More nectary sweetness develops the more it cools with that peach taking the lead with sugary sweetness.  Still brisk, still nutty, but with a sweeter finish.

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Brew Method:

Gino Dripper | 35g © to 552g (w) | 3:40 total time | 197 degrees | 1.22 TDS | 17.73% Ext.

Really soft and comfortably nutty intro to the cup. It reminds me of going out to eat at Logan’s or Texas Roadhouse, shelling peanuts waiting for a table.  The acidity is much more restricted in this method - actually, most everything else is too for that matter.

Syrupiness begins to slide in from the rear, and fruit sweetness is beginning to emerge too - with it comes that orange acidity.  There is a cacophony (complexity) of notes in the cup that are hard to distinguish, but are sort of beautiful at the same time.

Diving into my second mug (cooling in the carafe) is a much more interesting starting point to the cup.  Rich but soft chocolate notes definitely present but more juicy qualities living in the cup.  Quite balanced with the nutty notes and the acidity has actually become quite comfortable.  Cherry, black cherry, and spiced plum notes come out a bit more as it grows creamier, vanilla wafer sweetness hangs out in the center of the cup too, still with chocolate notes swimming in the finish.  

Buttery, nutty, sweet complexity.

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As you can see, the TDS readings all came out a bit wonky than most of my other coffees.  It was a bit odd, not just that the coffee played a bit finicky, but some of it had to do with me rearranging some dosing and grind adjustments throughout the bag.  


Given that this bag was a little experimental for me, I had a hard time pulling out everything from it that I feel it had to offer.  I do want it to be known the makes I did get weren’t as bad as the numbers may lead (if anyone reads this for the numbers.)  I do feel like I danced around all the flavor it could have been extracted - but at the same time was still able to enjoy what I did have.  The cup was balanced and easy going - with a great buttery body and enjoyable richness to the flavors: be it the chocolatey lows, the sugary sweetness, the juicy stone fruits, or creamy nuttiness.  It isn’t just numbers.  In the words of Drew Moody, “Never take readings. Just drink your coffee and shut up.”

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.