Not surprisingly, the office at Prima is always stocked with coffee. Always. Since we sell coffee equipment, and only that with which we have been able to make consistently tasty cups, we find it necessary to sample coffees from all over the country, at times the world, and, although we prefer lighter roasts, from all over the color spectrum. Until now, this has remained our little secret. We grind and brew coffees. We measure extraction percentages. We taste and talk among ourselves. Then we refine recipes and brew some more. It is part of our job and, dare we say, it is fun. This year we have been sharing some of that fun and the recipes that result. This episode features Flat Track.
Located on the east side of Austin, Texas inside a low-slung, unassuming, dual-purpose little building next to a gas station, is Flat Track, a specialty coffee shop and moto café. Like all good specialty roasters, Flat Track carefully roasts coffees to find a balance of sweetness and acidity without overshadowing the flavors unique to the growing region. Unlike other specialty roasters, though, Flat Track is housed inside a busy bicycle sales, repair, and custom build shop. The result is a lively atmosphere both inside and outside where at any given hour dozens of bikes might be parked.
This coffee (Pichincha) from Flat Track was sourced by Red Fox Coffee Merchants and grown just outside of Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. The price is noticeably higher than other South American coffees for a complicated web of reasons, one of which is the rising cost of labor. Workers are now paid higher wages and given benefits like vacation, bonuses, and health care. This is doubtless a good thing, but, as a result, other costs along the supply chain have increased, too. Regardless, the volcanic soil makes this a particularly suitable region to grow deeply flavorful coffee, which should be a little more expensive.
Flat Track’s tasters have found a dynamic cup with notes of key lime, chicory, and lemon wafer. Here at Prima, we have been finding a full-bodied citrusy cup with a slightly bitter finish reminiscent of black tea. It has proved to be a great coffee for the long rainy days of this Kentucky summer.
|Variety:||Typica Mejorado and Sidra|
|Brewing Device:||Bee House|
|Water:||300 grams at 207°F|
Before the brewing begins, all the prep work must be done. Heat the water. Grind the coffee. Pre-wet the filter. Add the ground coffee to the Bee House. Tare the scale. Start the timer.
- Pour 50g of water. Stir gently with a tiny spoon to incorporate all the water and break up any clumps.
- After roughly 30 seconds, add 125g of water, bringing the total to 175g; and then swirl.
- When the water has drawn down to the coffee bed, add the remaining 125g of water. Swirl.
The brew should finish around three minutes and thirty seconds, but, depending on the grinder (and how many fines it produces), may take longer. If the super-citrusy sharpness is overshadowed by the black tea, try one of three adjustments in the next brew: increase the water temperature, coarsen the grind, or use different water (consider investing in Third Wave Water or Global Customized Water, for instance). As with all things coffee, it is best to change only one variable at a time, tasting the results, and saving other changes (if necessary) for future brews. The goal is always the same: a tasty cup of coffee with little fuss. The Bee House is the perfect dripper for this job.