Abel Salinas Mejorado from Flower Child

My first time brewing the Mejorado variety provided delicious cups but also interesting opportunities to observe cupping, resting, and brewing parameters.

trying something new

This is my first time ordering from Flower Child, a micro-roastery in California. They offer a small but mighty selection of coffees; usually clean, washed, and a fairly light roast. I hadn’t heard too much about them but I recommend you check them out.

This coffee is from a former Cup of Excellence winner and well respected producer in Ecuador, Abel Salinas. When I ordered it, it was offered from several roasters including Sey, September, and Ilse.

One day it will be fun to try the same coffee from different roasters to see how they compare but for now, I took this as an opportunity to try two new things, Flower Child and Mejorado1.

would you like berry juice or apple juice?

Flower Child describes this coffee as, “Light bodied, peach, pear, golden delicious apple, floral”. Which is quite the intriguing description; clearly fruit-acidity forward but pear isn’t a tasting note you see too often.

When I first cupped this coffee about two weeks off roast it had a sweet, stone fruit aroma. The taste was very sweet and bright, I described it as stewed fruits and marmalade; getting juicier as it cooled. The finish was crisp, like biting into an apple. Although it was a bit drying, more on that later.

But it was during brewing that this coffee really got interesting.

from bright to befuddled

This coffee was so incredibly bright. My first brew with it on the Pulsar reminded me of lemon. It had a really pleasing body, I would describe it as juicy. And that slightly drying finish was still sticking around.

Subsequent Pulsar brews, 17 days off roast, reminded me more of berry juice, still very bright but less harsh, now it had more sweetness. Cups brewed at a lower temperature were mellower, cooked fruit, with less intense acidity. Overall, very delicious.

But things changed when I switched to V60.

Three weeks off roast, I described my cup as harsh. A pleasant, crisp acidity in there somewhere but masked by harshness and a drying finish. The next day I tried again, with a lower temperature, and it did reign in some of that acidity but the cup was still way out of balance.

I knew this coffee could be better than what I was getting.

This was frustrating but also enlightening. My V60 recipe tries to highlight acidity and clarity but with this coffee, it produced totally unbalanced brews. It didn’t have enough sweetness to balance out the intense acidity.

A solve for this type of issue is to increase contact time and lower the temperature. A shorter bloom time would also likely lower the acidity. Different pouring structures with more “circling around” tend to add more complexity to a cup as well.

If that list felt long, welcome to my world. It’s tough to know what variable to change and it’s so tempting to change a bunch at once. But the best methodology is to focus on a specific aspect of a brew you don’t like, and change one variable at a time to improve it.

For now, I decided on an easier solution: go back to the Pulsar.

28 days off roast, back on the Pulsar, things were tasting really delicious. Still quite bright up front but as the cup cooled, the acidity mellowed out a bit and it tasted more like juicy pear with a crisp apple finish.

Now, this isn’t to say you can’t brew a good v60 with this coffee.

It’s honestly what can only be described as a “skill issue” on my part. I am still refining my V60 recipe and determining the first variables I change to get a desired result. One of the variables most frustrating is pouring.2 It has such a big impact on flavor but is so easy to mess up.

I’ll continue to work on my V60s but it’s also true that certain coffees shine better with certain brew methods. The Pulsar is good at making juicy balanced cups which fit this coffee really well.

sleep on it

The other interesting aspect of this coffee was how it changed overtime.

I cupped it again, three weeks off roast and it was phenomenal. Super fruity and light body. High acidity but pleasant, like berry juice. And as it cooled, it went from berry to more of an apple juice taste.

Comparing my cupping at 2 weeks to 3 weeks, it’s amazing how much this coffee opened up. It had much more character and a lot less of the drying finish.3

This highlights the importance or resting light roast coffee. However, don’t get too caught up in only drinking a coffee at “peak” flavor. First, how do you even know what that is until you’ve thoroughly tasted the coffee? Second, it’s really interesting to observe a coffee as it ages.

My current workflow for most coffees, is to cup at two weeks and see how it’s tasting. I might brew it then or I might wait. But this timing allows me to observe the coffee as it opens up, while still getting great results at the end of the bag, around a month off roast.

This was the second of several new (to me) varieties I will be trying this year. And overall, I really enjoyed this coffee. It gave me a few frustrating cups but provided many delicious ones as well. And it was a good learning moment and reminder that my v60 recipe needs refinement.

I’d let you know how it’s tasting even further off roast but I’ve gotten sick and my taste is all out of wack. Time to switch to comfort roasts, I guess.

brewing advice

Note: I don’t plan on giving specific recipes in these posts. Instead, I’ll provide guidance or variations in approach based on the coffee’s characteristics.

  • Let this coffee rest at least 2.5 weeks
  • Cup this coffee so you have a baseline flavor to compare your brews against
  • With immersion methods, try to maximize clarity and balance
  • On pourover, try to increase contact time or use more pours to bring out sweetness and to balance out the acidity

  1. Also called Typica Mejorado, Flower Child refers to it as “a cross between Landrace and a Bourbon variety” ↩︎
  2. If you haven’t seen this video, go watch it after you finish reading ↩︎
  3. It’s worth noting that Flower Child recommends 3+ weeks of rest for peak flavor ↩︎
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