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Guatemala Fraijanes Las Crucitas

August 22, 2006
Jim Schulman

Fraijanes is not as well known as Antigua or Huehuetenango, since the region does not have a similarly stereotyped taste profile. It is however as high as these regions, roughly 5000 feet, and Fraijanes coffees have long been appreciated by Italian espresso blenders. The Las Crucitas farm has been growing coffee since 1940; it has won the Illy quality award twice (2002, 2003), and was featured in the only SCAA Q-auction held for Guatemala (2004). The trees are Bourbon, Pache and Typica, shade grown.

At cupping roast levels, this is a strikingly assertive coffee, where the flavors and acidity almost overwhelm the sugars, producing a powerful, somewhat overbearing cup. The dominant flavor is an incense like wood, a mix of sandalwood and camphor, coupled to a robust apple acidity.

For my palate, it was too much; but I recognized the quality of the coffee nonetheless. So I reroasted it to a City+ level. At this roast, the woody incense mellowed into a wonderfully fragrant caramel and marzipan with hints of chocolate. The acidity was just right to add a touch of lushness. The development of the flavors indicates that this is a coffee that will be superb at dark roast levels. The espresso shot is perfectly balanced, albeit somewhat light bodied. If you are looking for a classic Seattle style Guatemala/Sulawesi espresso blend; this is definitely the coffee to use. The City+ roast was mild and flavorful in milk; but for this purpose, a rolling second Vienna roast would be best.

 

Dry Fragrance: 3.5
Wet Aroma: 4.0
Flavor: 7.5
Finish: 8.0
Acidity: 8.0
Body: 7.5
______________________
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 88.5

  • Lighter Roasts: Strikingly assertive wood and incense notes
  • Darker Roasts: Balanced complex Viennese cup, incense, spice, molasses, chocolate
  • As Espresso: Perfectly balanced, light bodied SO, superb top end blend component

 

© 2005 COFFEECUPPERS.COM
UPDATED: August 23, 2006