Full Court Press, a coffee roastery based in Bristol, has been on my radar for a while. I’ve read Coffee: A Modern Field Guide, the book written by the founder. I have seen they have a stellar reputation through Instagram.
When I looked through their offerings, a few coffees caught my eye. One of these was Juan Vergara, an Ecuadoran coffee with tasting notes featuring plum and raisin. I have not tasted these flavours in a lot of coffees and so I placed an order for one bag of Juan Vergara.
I was struck by how much detail Full Court Press provided about this coffee. Not only did they state the region from which the coffee was sourced, they also provided information about the farm gate price, the amount paid for the coffee before transportation costs. Full Court Press provided the cost per kilogram of the green coffee and how many bags they purchased, too. Juan Vergara was worth $8 per kilogram at the farmgate and the per-kilogram green price was £9.86. I have not seen this information publicly available for any other coffee I’ve tasted.
Curious, I looked around their website and read their page on traceability, filled with details on how the roastery sources coffee. For instance, Full Court Press says they work through importers because they only buy small quantities of coffee.
Juan Vergara is the name of the producer who farms on FInca Campo Algere, a farm with four hectares of land in Ecuador. Coffee farming is a secondary source of income for Juan Vergara, whose father was a coffee farmer. This reminds me that coffee farming is not a full-time job for everyone, something I often forget.
The Juan Vergara coffee was processed using the washed method. This means the coffee was washed, depulped, and then left to ferment. Unlike other washed coffees, however, this coffee underwent a period of extended fermentation. The coffee was fully washed and then was fermented for two more days. This is a good example of the experimental processing I’ve read that some farmers are doing across the world.
The fragrance of the dry grounds brought to mind blackcurrant and grape. These aromas were brought to life during the brewing process, accompanied by a pleasant honey aroma. On my first sip, I was immediately drawn to the sweetness of this coffee. I then started to focus on the flavours, noticing grape and blackcurrant. The Juan Vergara coffee is reminiscent of blackcurrant jam, my favourite flavour of jam, and has a juicy body.
As the cup progressed, the honey flavours started to come out, second to the grape flavour which dominates the brew. The blackcurrant flavour persisted throughout the cup although grape was always at the front and centre of my mind. This coffee had a pleasant, balanced acidity, a characteristic which I closely associate with fruity coffees.
I brewed this coffee on the Kalita Wave and for a cupping session. In the cupping session, I was captivated by the fruity qualities of this coffee. I noticed a raspberry in the aroma, too, describing the aroma as generally “fruity” before I built a better impression of the coffee in my mind.
As I mentioned earlier, this is my first Ecuadoran coffee. I referred to James Hoffman’s The World Atlas of Coffee book and found that speciality coffee is still somewhat new to the country; traceability to the farm level like you see in the Juan Vergara coffee is rare. With that said, this coffee showcases the potential of Ecuador as a speciality producer well, yielding a lovely, balanced, and sweet cup.
You can find out more about this coffee on the Full Court Press website.
About This Coffee
Process: Washed, extended fermentation
Varietal: Bourbon, Pacamara, Typica
Tastes: Blackcurrant, grape, honey