This month we stay in Melbourne with Genovese Specialty Coffee Division, and Australia’s 2018 ASCA Roasting Champion #benovese Ben Toovey, heading over to Brazil with a unique controlled fermentation Red Cataui AND a taster of the same bean — naturally fermented. One of the fastest ways to learn about coffee is side by side cupping — and Ben and his team have delivered a super cool experience for you to try just that.
About the coffee:
Name: Jhone Milanez Lacerda Lot #03 and Lot #04
Varietal: Red Catuai
Process: 80g Controlled Fermentation (Lot #03), 20g Traditional Natural (Lot #04)
Farm location and other characteristics:
Region: Serra do Caparoa
Producer: Jhone Milanez Lacerda
Estate: Sitio Santa Rita
We were fortunate enough to have Ben Toovey and the team at Genovese Specialty Coffee Division provide us with a wealth of knowledge about this coffee. Enjoy the read!
The producer and farm:
Jhone Milanez Lacerda is an innovative young coffee grower whose farm, named Sitio Santa Rita, has belonged to his family since 1896. It is located in the Serra do Caparao region, on the border of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais states in Brazil. It has an altitude of up to 1550 masl, a latitude of 20° south, and benefits from a great climate and deep, rich soil, with a high organic matter content.
Lot #03 is the culmination of a project that began in 2013 when Jhone attended a lecture by Dr Manuel Diaz on the power of fermentation to achieve incredible results with natural process coffees. He began his own trials, finding after many experiments that rather than time, the temperature of the coffee during fermentation was a crucial factor. He developed a custom app that would measure and record temperature data, allowing him to plot a “fermentation profile”.
This particular micro-lot underwent an extensive selection process, first with manual picking of cherries from the tree, and a second post-harvest sorting of only the ripest cherries. These were then fermented in tanks with the temperature monitored by the app until they reached 45°C. They were then transferred to raised beds to complete the drying cycle. After milling, they went through a final hand-grading of the coffee seeds on a custom-made, slow-moving conveyer belt that Jhone built to his own specifications.
The smaller 20g pouch of Lot #04 is the same harvest, but in this case, the cherries have been treated with a more traditional natural process, without the controlled fermentation step. This cup is still very clean and sweet but without the presence of ripe fruits and level of acidity the Lot #03 displays. Cupping these coffees side by side as we have recommended in the brew guide video is a great educational sensory experience, clearly showing what Jhone’s hard work, years of trials, and experimentation can yield.
Naturals are not everyone’s cup of tea! 😉
There is a bit of a divide among coffee professionals when it comes to naturally processed coffees, with many preferring the washed process for its ability to produce clean cups that reflect the terroir of the cultivar and its environment. The natural process is more likely to exchange organic material between the fruit and seed, which enhances body and fruity sweetness, but it also increases the risk of defective flavours.
Contradicting this “popular” opinion, many markets are seeking “fruit bomb” naturals. Numerous World Barista Championship and Brewers Cup titles have been won with significantly fermented naturals, and a Ninety Plus Panama Geisha Natural, Lot 236, recently set a record for the highest price ever paid for a coffee at $5000US/kg.
With its generally lower altitudes and limited availability of water for the washed process, Brazil is presented with a challenge when it comes to producing high scoring specialty coffees. Traditionally, farmers in Brazil have been taught to avoid allowing too much fermentation of their dry-processed coffees, due to the chances of it causing off-flavours to develop, making the coffee harder to sell to many markets. These two coffees show that when applied with care and attention to detail, fermentation can enhance the coffee and add value to the lot and its producer.
About Genovese Coffee:
The Genovese Family came to Australia in 1950, first to Perth and then to Sydney, where Alfio Genovese established himself as a major importer and distributor of Italian foods. After a number of years in Sydney, Alfio established the Melbourne branch opened specifically to roast coffee for the Victorian market. In the late 1960s, Alfio decided that he needed to roast coffee that would resemble the true Italian-style coffee he knew, and as a result, A. Genovese & Sons was established in 1970.
Over the years, Genovese Coffee has widened its influence. Branch offices have opened in Sydney and Cairns and the product is available Australia-wide. They have also developed international relationships with cafes using Genovese Coffee in both Singapore and Paris.
Genovese Specialty Division:
To meet the growing demands for single origin, seasonal blends, and lighter roasted specialty coffees, the “Genovese Specialty Division” was born in 2009. The purpose of the specialty division is to source great fresh crop specialty grade coffees, carefully roast them in small batches, and monitor the results with an extensive quality control program. Education is another key value, and under the direction of head trainer Simon James, Genovese is currently the only provider in Australia able to teach the entire SCA Coffee Skills Program.
The Roaster: Ben Toovey
This month marks ten years Ben Toovey has been working with Genovese: “The company and family have encouraged and supported me so much, and I’m really grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. And I’m very pleased to be able to share some of our coffee with so many people from all over the world.”
“Coffee continues to surprise me, and there is always more to learn — which for me is what makes it such an exciting industry to be in. I never tire from the constant pursuit of hunting for a great micro-lot, chasing a better cup than the last when dialing in a roast profile, then meticulously logging data and tracking variables to maintain consistency. All until the lot runs out and is replaced with a new one when the process starts all over again. I feel there is a tendency to over romanticise the task of roasting, but one thing is for sure — coffee doesn’t stay still for long!”
- 1st place 2018 Australian Roasting Championships
- 3rd place 2017 Australian Roasting Championships
- 1st place 2016 Victorian Aeropress Championships
- Roaster for Simone Guidi – 2nd place 2017 Italian Brewers Cup
- Roaster for Francesco Sanapo – 6th place 2013 World Barista Championships
- Roaster for Simon James – 2nd place 2010 Australian Barista Championships
- Licensed Q Grader
- SCAE Coffee Diploma (now SCA Coffee Skills Program)
- AST (Authorised SCA Trainer)
*Please note the roast date on your bag — “Roasting in the Future” (aka we didn’t notice a typo before the label went to print, the actual roast date is 30th April, apologies for that!)
The machine is a refurbished 1960’s Probat UG22, a beautiful looking machine with solid construction and great thermal mass. With careful preheating and between-batch protocols, it allows for very consistent results. We have upgraded the burners, gas valve and gauge, and added 3mm K-Type probes connected to Cropster for data-logging. Otherwise, it remains in its original state.
Our philosophy is quite simple: evenly roast the coffee to a degree that is light enough to preserve the varietal and processing characteristics, yet has progressed enough to enhance sweetness and balance in the cup, avoiding underdeveloped vegetal or grassy flavours. As simple as this may sound, achieving it can sometimes be quite challenging — and this coffee was no exception. Being of medium density and moisture, and packed with sugar, we needed to be relatively gentle with the application of heat to avoid too much caramelisation, yet still maintain enough energy to penetrate the core and move through chemical reactions.
With a 14kg batch size, we settled on a 10:40 minute roast, charging at 195°C, with 1:20 (12.5% DTR) of post first crack development, and an end temperature of 208.5°C, which is 8.5 degrees higher than the temp at first crack. The RoR is steadily declining, yet remaining relatively high throughout, and finishing at 6 degrees per minute when the roast is terminated. Weight loss is 12.3%, and the ground colour reads 53 on the ColorTrack scale.
We have roasted this coffee to taste best with Barista Hustle water recipe 6, aka “Hendon Water”. Head here to make up the concentrates and find the recipe.
Even though we are located in Melbourne where the water is quite soft, our coffee is distributed Australia wide and even internationally, so we cup with water that goes through reverse osmosis then is remineralised, aiming for a roast that gives a good result in a wide range of locations.
Brew guide – Cupping
As roasters and green buyers, the main way that we assess coffee and roast quality is through cupping, so rather than making yet another V60 brew guide we decided to share a cupping brew guide with you. Perhaps many Superlatives subscribers are already cupping on a regular basis, but for those of you that are not, hopefully, this will give you a memorable new experience on your coffee journey.
This also pairs well with the fact that this month we are sending two slightly different coffees, as cupping is a great way to compare multiple coffees side by side. By removing as many extraction variables as possible, we’re able to present a true expression of the coffees inherent qualities. After cupping the coffee, you will have a good idea of its flavour potential, then you can brew the rest using your favourite methods and compare those results to what you found in the cupping.
In your 100g bag you will find 80g of the feature coffee with its experimental controlled fermentation, plus a smaller 20g pouch of the same coffee but processed as a traditional dry/natural. (More info on these coffees above)
You will need:
- 2 cups or glasses
- Cupping or soup spoons
- A timer
- Water (Recipe 6, Hendon Water).
- Grind slightly finer than your typical one cup V60 grind
- Brew ratio is 11g coffee to 200g water (1:18 or 55g/L)
- Water temp 98°C set point on a digital kettle (or just boil it!)
- Steep for 4:00 minutes, then break the crust with three circular stirs
- Skim/clean the grinds and gasses still floating on top
- Start tasting with cupping/soup spoon at 12:00 after pouring, and keep tasting as it cools
- Take some notes of the flavours you perceive, and post them in the comments below!
Tasting notes — you tell us! Rather than influence your experience by telling you what we think this coffee tastes like, we would like to hear what you perceive the flavours to be by posting in the comments below. At the end of the month we will post our descriptors, then we will collate all of the comments from subscribers and send them to the producer. This will be a valuable feedback loop for him, hearing from such a wide range of people from different cultures and levels of experience.
Thanks for cupping with us!
Genovese Specialty Division
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