Coffee of the Week: Tightrope
This week we are featuring one of Highwire's two 'house' blends, Tightrope, which we see as an inflection point between coffee origin characteristic and the balancing sweetness that comes from blending different coffees to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
Tightrope is currently a blend of two coffees, the primary component coming from the 124 women members of Asociación de Productores Cafetaleros de la Cuenca del Rio Marañón or APROCCURMA, located in the province of Rodríguez de Mendoza in the Amazonas department of northern Peru. Producing a hodgepodge of coffee varieties as elevations between 1500-1800 meters, the women of APROCCURMA are prolific, and the fact that their coffees are cultivated organically makes this offering all the more impressive.
This will be the second year in a row that we have worked with coffee from APROCCURMA and find it to be incredibly versatile. In Tighrope, this Peruvian coffee is like a candy bar, all milk chocolate sweetness with a hint of nuttiness. The coffee would make a great Tightrope on it's own!
Wanting to add a little more brightness to the cup, we sprinkled in the last of a Kenyan coffee that up until recently was featured as one of our single origin coffees. Coffee from the Kiri Factory in Kenya is incredibly dynamic, bright, and sweet.
A coffee factory? Factory is the Kenyan term for washing station. Reasonably, a factory is where coffee producers from a local community will deliver their coffee cherries to be processed into the dried coffee seeds that we use for roasting. The processes are a mixture of biological and mechanical. The coffee cherries are sorted upon delivery and then sent through a depulper, which strips the fruit off of the seeds. The seeds are still covered in residual fruit, so they are left in a tank for a day or two to allow natural fermentation to break down the sugars of the fruit. After a time, the seeds are rinsed, and then left to soak in a tank of water for another day. This soaking, or "double fermentation" step, helps remove the last of the fruit material, leaving behind a very clean, parchment covered coffee seed, than is then transferred to raised drying beds. The raised beds allow for air to flow over the seeds, which are turned periodically by hand, drying completely in roughly 2-3 weeks. These long processing and drying times are a key factor in why Kenyan coffees taste the way they do.
In the Tightrope, we get all the bright fruit punchiness that we loved from this Kenyan coffee on its own, but with with the chocolate and sweetness of the Peru to help fill it out. This short-term iteration of Tightrope is juicy, sweet, and smooth.