|Processing||Wet Process, then SWP Decaf|
|Arrival date||November 2017 Arrival|
|Appearance||.4 d/300gr, 16 - 18 screen|
|Roast Recommendations||City to Full City+|
San Diego Buena Vista ("SDBV") has consistently provided us with top quality Acatenango coffee, a sizeable all-bourbon separation from their farm on the slopes of the volcano. They continue to plan new bourbon plants from their nursery each year, and this season's harvest topped 200 bags, which allowed us to send a small chunk for decaffeination at the Swiss Water Decaffeination plant in Vancouver, Canada. We've worked with Swiss to process good tasting regular coffees into good tasting decafs for several years now, and are once again awed by the similarly flavored cup between this decaf and non-decaf pair. Sweetness is central to the SDBV bourbon cup, and remains an integral part of this coffee's profile post-decaffeination. This isn't a decaf you'll need to roast dark in order to obfuscate pasty and savory flavors. SDBV shows well at light roasts as well as dark roasting, and is as versatile in brew method as it is roast level. I roasted a few batches on a small home machine and had no problems hearing first cracks too, which can be a little trick with decaffeinated coffee, and can lead to overroasting. You can expect to see some bean fracturing and broken beans, which comes with the territory of any added decaffeination process, but does not affect the cup. If you're a Behmor user, consider giving your roast grid drum a shake before loading in the machine to let any small bean fragments to fall away outside the roaster.
This decaf version of San Diego Buena Vista ("SDBV") shows classic balance of a washed Guatemalan coffee. A mild cup all around, with the robust sweetness inherent to this coffee, SDBV brews well at a wide range of roasts, and is a great option for decaf espresso too (or a sweet base for espresso blending). The dry fragrance at City roast level has a smell of brown sugar on toast, a touch of rye malt in the background. City+/Full City roasts have a dark bittersweetness in the wet aroma, like burned sugar and Dutch cocoa powder. I was really taken aback by the level of sweetness in the cup, especially considering I tasted next to a non-decaf Huehuetenango coffee. Acidity is muted in comparison, a common affect post-decaffeination, but not lost altogether. And the sweetness is like brown sugar, barley malt syrup, and with a grainy chocolate flavor that reminds me of chocolate stout. Full City has impressive body, still loads of bittersweetness, and a hint of cinnamon powder in the finish. Espresso shots show long and layered chocolate bittersweetness and viscous mouthfeel, and you'd be hard pressed to guess this is decaf at all.