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Field Report: Coffee with Nelson Chaves

A couple of weeks ago Harris (Wholesale Manager & Educator) joined Xavier (Co-founder & Green Buyer) for an origin trip down to Colombia! While there, the two spent time with several of our producing partners. Harris had a special encounter with Nelson Chaves though– one of our favorite producers for his amazing coffees and his affinity for his Chicago Bears hat. To celebrate their connection, Harris wrote the following op-ed outlining the visit. Enjoy!  

David Flores Lot #2

Years ago David Flores’ grandparents moved from the southern, Andean area of Cajamarca north, settling near the San Ignacio region. They established a little pocket of their own where they raised livestock and various crops. Now, remaining in the secluded Diamante, David Flores continues the family trade established generations ago. At only 24, David upholds traditions on his remote, six-hectare farm, El Morito. In our second year sourcing from El Morito, we're once again enthusiastically impressed by David’s ambitious craft and crop.

While the majority of his contemporaries leave farming and moving to various cities, David is a proven exception who meticulously and proudly tends to his yellow caturra and typica coffee shrubs. “I want to be the world’s best,” Flores shared with Xavier on Metric’s last visit to David’s boutique set-up. There, David practices organic-like farming (along with his neighboring farmers) for long-term preservation of the surrounding Amazonia. Flores’ coffee is handpicked and fully washed through a process that yields just 1600 lbs in 7 days.

This second lot from Flores is also 100% yellow caturra. Due to less fermentation time and skin contact, Lot #2 possesses a cleaner profile that shines bright and with clarity. Popping with a plum, stone-fruit acidity, vanilla and orange blossom notes zip across this crisp cup.

Try David's second lot, here.

Crossing the Damen Divide: Goose Island x Metic Coffee

This Saturday (3.23.19), we’re excited to tap into our latest coffee-beer collaboration: Damen Divide! This Dunkelweizen coffee-beer is especially exciting because it marks our first time teaming up with friends and neighbors, Goose Island, not only to produce a coffee-beer but also to learn from their extensive expertise and resources.

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Our relationship with Goose began mostly across the counter. Located just down Fulton and across the titular Damen Ave, members of Goose’s team frequent our #metricwestfulton cafe; we, their taproom. After some pleasantry and product trading, their team invited us down to kick the tires on something more than just a pint. Paul Cade, one of the brewers who led the project, commented, “the value in collaborating is working and learning from a group of people with a different set of skills.” Paul gets at what attracted us to developing Damen Divide. Having crafted delicious coffee-beers in the past, this was our first time working at this scale and bringing our coffee to a new style they wanted to explore. Dunkelweizens are a less well know wheat beer with rich-coloring, dark malts: a beer that was frankly foreign to most of our team. With Goose's help, we learned from their set of skills what we needed to find the perfect coffee pairing.

[Goose Island's Paul Darnaby Cupping in our Lab]

Due to its darker Vienna or Munich malts, Dunkelweizen profiles traditionally consist of toffee, banana, and clove notes. Our coffee palates immediately drifted to Central America in search of a traditional but nuanced flavor to compliment this style's robust body. After a group cupping, all parties landed on a coffee from one of our relationship producers in Honduras, Denis Enamorado. Working with Denis going on four years, we already knew his 2018 lot was special; it burst with pear, mango, and molasses notes that also just so happened to pack the perfect sweet characteristics we sought for this beer. Rather than competing with the “malt base… and the hint of banana from the yeast,” as Paul put it, Denis provided a soft pop to the Dunkel's depth. From there, the Goose flock took to point but generously kept us involved, even allowing us even to help brew the mash (the base) of Damen Divide and experimenting with different recipes of how exactly to introduce the coffee into the brew.

[Metric's Connor, @kondorfalcon, (me!) Stirring Malt at Goose]

[Metric's Jess, @jess_salgado, Assessing Damen Divide Variations on Goose's Tap Deck]

Now several months later and with a lot of consideration, work, and relationship churned into this beer, we’re ecstatic to share Damen Divide with you. Helping commemorate the launch, we'll have retail bags of a custom Damen Divide blend available as well as the opportunity to add a Hellion cold brew sidecar to your 16oz pour of Damen Divide (while supplies last). And if that's not enough, Goose and ManBQue’s own, Jesse Valenciana will be barbecuing German-style brats with a Honduran twist. So this Saturday at 5 pm, join us at our neighbors to share some good times and flavors!