But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?
Taken from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, Kansas City’s Thou Mayest has been exploring the open way themselves. Bo Nelson and Bill Holzhueter have been roasting for several years now, and if you haven’t heard of them yet it’s about time you had. Thou Mayest believes that coffee is just a conduit to meaningful conversations and relationships. Their goal is to present the best for that relationship, for that experience while engaged with another person.
My buddy Andy had first told me about these guys, and upon watching their mission video I was captivated by what seemed like pure honesty, and a drive to meet people where they are, to commune and share in life’s complexity with one another. In that, their coffee is really just a reflection of life as they strive to bring forth those nuances that make each one unique.
I was privileged to get several samples of what these guys are up to, and for the rest of this week we will be taking a look at several of their offerings and learning more about what makes them an integral part of the flourishing coffee culture in Kansas City and beyond. I have previously posted said video that gives you a bit of a peak into these guys, so check out that video and then we’ll begin with their Colombia Excelso Cauca.
Kansas City was once the last stop before heading into the West, the launching point into the great unknown, and that same pioneer spirit is alive today in this city. We are surrounded by a community who celebrates boldness, who encourages the journey into unexplored territory. The road lies before us, the way is open. - Thou Mayest
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.
We think that 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: Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters
Region: Cauca, Colombia
Farm: Multiple farmers contributing approx. 10 bags
Process: Fully Washed and Sun Dried
Varietal: Caturra, Colombia and Castillo
Elevation: 1,400 - 1,900m
V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:00 total time | 198 degrees | 1.30 TDS | 19.55% Ext.
A juicy intro, more juicy cup than the Guatemala or Sumatra which we will get to in the coming days. Lightly citrused acidity with a nice medium body and buttery smooth mouthfeel. Strands of chocolate and even hints at caramel reside in the cup, with seemingly red fruits carrying most of the highlight. It carries great balance as it slides sweetly into a hazelnut finish.
Hints of apple and grape seem to always be in the cup with raisin, cranberry, raspberry, and even slightest amounts of grapefruit developing as you sink further. It feels a bit more dense than the other coffees, I think the juicy body aids to that. Has a nice lingering fruit sweetness where the grapefruit seems to come out a bit more, but doesn’t become sharp.
It’s a nice, rich, sweet, delicious cup the more it cools with whipped chocolate and dense fruit notes.
Able Kone with Chemex Filter | 50g © to 750g (w) | 5:15 total time | 198 degrees | 1.30 TDS | 20.61% Ext. (Immersion mode)
Sweet and softly fragrant.
Mmmm, so, so smooth. This cup is crisp, lightly juicy, and perfect for this morning. Carries a balanced citrus acidity (soft grapefruit and lemon) as it takes you into a comfortably juicy body carried by red fruits with a slight, slight chocolate caramel sweetness in the finish (even a bit of brown butter).
Ripe stone fruits, apple, grape, raspberry, raisin, cranberry… I feel like I may be repeating how I sounded in the V60 but it’s a similar cup. Incredibly balanced, wonderfully clean, and a nice, comfortable cup for any occasion. I do think these two makes have been a bit on the lower extraction, so it might be a little light this way for all coffee drinkers, just keep that in mind.
It grows a bit more crisp on the front but it keeps a relatively low acidity in the cup, has that same dense juiciness in the center with sweetness escaping into the finish that is rich, growing a bit of a honey meets slight herbal/vegetal finishing with chocolate, nutty, and winey characteristics surviving into the long finish. Quite a unique cup.
Siphon | 30g © to 420g (w) | 1:10 pull heat - 2:15 total time | 200 degrees | 1.40 TDS | 20.75% Ext. (Immersion mode)
Very light, very delicate, but still a noticeable juiciness to the cup.
After cooling a bit the sweetness really draws out. It has almost a candy-like sweetness of grape, apple, grapefruit, orange and raspberry, still light in the cup but also with light caramel and chocolate finishings, more chocolate lingering.
The cup remains very crisp and clean throughout with apple-like acidity and sweetness protruding while the body begins to solidify underneath.
The end of the cup is refreshing, balanced, light to moderately juicy and lightly syrupy. It’s smooth, crisp, splashes of lemon on each sip while still carrying a delicate fruit sweetness and caramel and chocolate finish. Not really any detectible nuttiness in this method, just a smooth and sweet coffee.
This wasn’t the first coffee I started with of the selections, but it was the first offering I was able to find information about. That being said, this is a good offering to dive into with you all. This Colombia is an awesome ‘basic’ or all day offering. It isn’t boring, rather it’s comfortable. It’s satisfying without sacrifice, it just isn’t showy. It was a soft presentation, juicy and lightly syrupy with some clean fruit and pleasing sweetness and good complexity- something I think we’ll see more of in these offerings, but we’ll save that for the next one.
In terms of putting a memory to the coffee in Thou Mayest fashion, this coffee would be my Saturday morning, prep the bacon, set up the chemex, and get the water heating before my wife and daughter wake up cup. There have been a lot of mornings like that lately, and a coffee like this fills that space.