This month we head to Wellington, New Zealand, with a Colombian rare varietal often referred to as the “Everyman’s Geisha”. Roasted with love and care by the team at Flight Coffee.
November 2016 – Wush Wush
El Zafario – Colombia
Producer: Ceferino Maca Department: Cauca Municipality: Popayan Altitude: 1970 – 2020 MASL Varietal: Wush Wush Process: Washed Rainfall: 1500mm per annum Soil: Volcanic Harvest Period: May – August 2016
El Zafiro is located 10km from Popayan between the Colombian Central and Western mountain ranges. The farm experiences varying day and night temperatures between 28 and 12 degrees making the micro-climate ideal for growing coffee at altitude allowing for slow maturation of cherry. The temperate climate also enables wet parchment to dry at a steady and even rate.
Cherry is meticulously handpicked ensuring only optimally ripe coffee is picked. It is then hand sorted prior to pulping, where it is washed using traditional Colombian processing methods, and dried in parabolic drying rooms. Post milling, green beans are hand sorted to remove any defects prior to it being vacuum packed prior to export.
El Zafrio is 7ha in size and planted with Wush Wush, Bourbon and Castillo. 20 years ago it was originally planted with Typica and Bourbon, however, Roya took its toll on these heirloom varieties and growing them became untenable. New efforts are currently underway to restore these varieties and have them back in production.
The Wush Wush variety is rare and not much is known about it. It is believed to have made its way from Ethiopia, apparently originating in and around Bonga in Southwest Jimma. It arrived in Colombia about 30 years ago, it’s long and pointed cheery has similar physical characteristics to that of Gesha. It is also similar in cup profile with jasmine, rose, lemon grass and stone fruit flavour notes and sweetness, with a complex acidity but with a more pronounced body than Gesha.
Roasted by Flight Coffee
Since 2009 flight has been punching well above their weight in Wellington NZ and abroad. WBC appearances, world-class venues, unique origin projects, and lots of tasty coffee besprinkle their 7 years in the business. This might sound wishy washy but they’re totally legit. The quintet of partners in the business are literally family, and the good vibes are unmistakable from the moment you walk into their roastery. It was an absolute pleasure working with them on this month’s coffee. Learn more about the Flight Coffee story here.
Sourced by Raw Material
Born out of a desire to improve Flight Coffee’s supply chain in 2011, Raw Material is now in full swing as a green bean farming, exporting, importing and consulting company. Their aim is to achieve the goal of greater price stability for coffee producers and improved income equality along the value-chain. In 2015, Raw Material purchased El Fénix -an 8 ha coffee farm in Colombia- to be the base for the team and a community wet mill for the neighbourhood. Although tightly integrated with Flight Coffee, Raw Material stands on its own and is propelled into its bright future primarily by Matt Graylee and Richard Corney. You can see these two characters and their newest recruit Gabby Wright below, where I probably said a Dad-joke as we first cupped the Wush Wush. Good times.
Raw Material have decided to send this month’s donations to Effective Altruism instead of a coffee-specific charity. If you ever want to talk about using evidence and reason to do the most good, Matt’s your man. I wholeheartedly agree with this position, and strongly encourage everyone to check out both Effective Altruism and similar scientific endeavours like Give Well.
Flight is roasting on an OG Probat UG-22 with original ceramic burners. Her name is Bettsy. Nic undercharged to 12kg to maximise development while staying super light. Bettsy has more than enough power so we could keep things snappy at 8:30 total roast time. The environmental probe is halfway up the faceplate, so you’ll notice air temp doesn’t get as high as probes would when placed in the exhaust. 3/4 through the roast it becomes submerged in beans as they expand, hence the drop below bean temp before the dump.
This is another one of those coffees that’s really hard to screw up. The roast is fully developed, so it’s easy to get deliciousness from within. Look out for gentle lemongrass and jasmine florals, jammy caturra-like sweetness, and a beguiling soft and creamy mouthfeel. Brewing variables really only come down to time and water chemistry. If you’re after the lighter, brighter, aromatic side of the Wush Wush, aim for 2:30-3:00 brew times. You won’t under-extract but you will be missing the late-arriving heavier sweetness that can overwhelm those subtleties. If you’re keen for heavy sweet fruit jam, use an immersion brewer and increase that contact time to as long as you can bear. You won’t get any nasties from this coffee – just more sweetness.
Re water, there’s two options. A few of you have been using the Barista Hustle bicarb/epsom water recipe from the first mail out with great success. I’d recommend staying on the softer side (1g concentrate to 500g water) for crisper acidity and harder (2g:500g) if you’re after the jammy fruits. Here it is again, inspired by the Water for Coffee book. All you need is bicarb soda (baking soda, NOT baking powder), epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), and distilled/deionised/ultra-pure water (don’t worry about the “not for drinking” labels. That’s just if you consume a lot). All ingredients are super cheap and readily available.
- Add 8.6g bicarb, and 25g epsom to 500g distilled water. This is your concentrate.
- Shake the concentrate and make sure it’s all dissolved. Might need a few hours or higher temp to fully dissolve.
- Add 2g of the concentrate to 500g distilled water. This is your brewing water.
- Boil and brew!
- Save the concentrate for future brews!
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