March 2017 — Victor Barrera "Tabi" from Koppi

March 07, 2017

This month's coffee is a taste of what the future holds: a hybrid varietal Tabi, roasted by Anne Lunell and Charles Nystrand from Koppi in Helsingborg, Sweden. 

 

About the coffee:

Plant Varietal: Tabi

Producer: Victor Barrera

Harvest Season: late 2016

Coffee Type: Washed

Coffee Grade: Specialty


Farm Location and other characteristics:

Country: Colombia

Origin: Palestina, Huila

Growing Altitude: Between 1650 and 1750 masl

Avg. Annual Rainfall: 1154mm


Processing:

After the cherries are picked they are processed then left to ferment for 36-40 hours. After fermentation the coffee is then carefully rinsed with clean water, before being dried on roofs or raised beds for 15 days.

 

About the coffee:

The varietal, Tabi, is rather unusual. It was created as a response to Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) and the devastating effect CLR has had on the coffee growing world. CLR originally decimated the Sri Lankan coffee industry in the 1860’s, reaching Africa and Asia in the 1920’s, then Brazil in 1970, landing in South America in 1981, before finally hitting Costa Rica and Colombia in 1983. While initially only affecting trees below 1600 masl, climate change has steadily advanced this “line” higher. In a fortuitous natural occurrence, on the island of Timor sometime during the 1920’s, a rogue Robusta plant and Arabica plant cross-pollinated resulting in a remarkable hybrid, one resistant to CLR. Over subsequent generations CENICAFE, Colombia’s Coffee Research Institute, refined and crossed the Timor hybrid ending up with the Tabi cultivar, a cross between Typica, Bourbon and Timor in 2002. Tabi contributes less than 1% to all coffees produced in Colombia.

At only 17 years old Victor Barrera took over farming El Tesoro from his father in 1977. Originally farming Caturra trees, Victor was one of the first producers in the area to begin growing Tabi. CLR-resistant and needing less herbicides and fertilizer, Victor can rely on a consistent harvest and income each year. Victor has a team of 8-15 returning pickers, who can pick as much as 170-190kg of cherries in a day during peak harvest. Victor pays them well, provides a cooked lunch each day, and accommodation for those who travel far to get there.  

About Koppi:

Koppi was founded in Helsingborg, Sweden, in  2007 by the Swedish barista champions Anne Lunell and Charles Nystrand. Charles took out the Swedish Barista Championship in 2005, Anne the following year, adding the Swedish Brewer’s Cup to her accomplishments in 2016. Collected Coffee have a great interview here with Anne, where she says:

“What we try to do at Koppi is to commit to producers—buy from the same people and never really negotiate price. There needs to be a mutual understanding that we will be returning customers every year so they need to deliver a certain quality. We would never try to bargain with our producers because it’s much easier for us to adjust our margins, charge our wholesale customers a little more, and add a little more to our drink prices. We’re in a different situation here, and not pressed financially as they are.”

In 2009, having finished high school, Matt was undecided on a career path. Having worked in coffee already for a few years during high school, he was now at the time of the obligatory Australian backpacking trip throughout Europe. Attempting to decide between industrial design and coffee, Matt sent ten emails each to coffee shops and industrial design companies around Europe. No industrial design companies returned his emails — all ten coffee shops replied. James Hoffmann replied, Tim Varney and Tim Wendelboe replied;  Bjornar Hafslund from Kaffa in Oslo even picked Matt up from the train station. And Anne and Charles let Matt crash on their couch and hung out with him for a few days. In Matt’s words: “They’re legends.”


Brewing Notes:

Oh boy! This coffee is weird. And we're ok with it.

There's interesting tropical fruits reminding me of a mango or papaya; and a playful yet smooth acidity that integrates with a passionfruit like florality. Combine this with the body and mouthfeel you'd expect from a natural processed Bourbon variety, and you have one seriously unique brew. What a special variety!

We tried brewing this with both drip and immersion. It's totally delicious across brewing times from 2:00 to 10:00 but the most unique qualities of the Tabi variety only appear after 5:00.

The big, nutty body comes out to play with those longer brew times, and certainly helps to complement the soft acidity. Shorter brew times don't necessarily make more acidity but they will lighten that big body if it's not to your liking.

Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of recipe. Perhaps a slightly lower brewing ratio due to the immense body this coffee can produce. This is appropriate for both immersion and drip!

All methods:
Water at 100C (212F)
12g ground coffee to 200g water (60g/L)
Ground for pourover.

Drip:
Slow down your pouring. Don't fill up the paper with more than 1cm water above the coffee line. Keep it slow, extend the contact time.

Immersion:
6:00 to 10:00 brew time before decanting through a paper filter. You'll still have tonnes of body afterwards! So creamy.

Espresso:

This coffee was something special, but it took a bit to get there. From that point it revealed everything I love about filter roasts as espresso.

Our BH Ghetto water recipe didn’t quite work straight out of the bottle, requiring a little tweaking. Our Kh level needed to be raised slightly to account for how aggressive the magnesium was extracting out the acids. First few shots I was getting dull and sour flavour notes. Once I had the ratio right, it was simply a matter of playing around with dilution until I had the water dialled in. 

From there this coffee was all about tinned pineapples, mangos, and milk chocolate, with an utterly luscious body. It’s seriously unique and absolutely delicious. Grab a superlative and whack it on — this coffee’s got it. 

Espresso Water Recipe:

(I am assuming here you have a removable reservoir for your espresso machine that’s easily accessed, emptied, and refilled — and that you purge the “old” water out) 

I used 12.9g Baking Soda and 25g Epsom salts dissolved in 500g of DI water. This was my concentrate.

I added 3.5g of the concentrate to another 1L of DI water. This was my brew water.

Espresso Brew Recipe:

I had my brew temperature at 90°C with (vacuum sealed) beans ground frozen straight from the freezer. I used an 18g dose in an 18g VST basket, tamping with 10kg tamp force. My pump pressure was set to 5.5 bars, and I pulled around 38g as my beverage weight in around 20-25 seconds. If you’re using the bluetooth function on the Acaia scales I found the sweet spot between 1.8 and 2.4 grams per second.

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