Bean review: Climpson & Sons
In this week’s bean review, Phil Wain brews three coffees from East London's Climpson and Sons.
Ian Burgess founded Climpson and Sons in 2005 on Broadway Market taking the name of a former butcher. In 2007, Tim Williams, now heading the coffee programme at Workshop Coffee, had a great impact and over the years Climpson and Sons has been a destination café and popular London roaster. I have to admit, I’ve had mixed experience with their coffee in cafes over the years but I approached the roasts with an open mind and they impressed.
This is a naturally processed coffee from the Gedeo region of Yirgacheffe in Ethiopia. Natural processing, the oldest method of processing is common in Ethiopia as water is less abundant. Coffee cherries are left to dry in the sun for a controlled period and the fermentation process adds funky flavours. At their best, natural coffees are fruity, with unusual flavours.
This is a very fine natural coffee. On opening the bag I am hit with cherry and especially strawberry. The beans are varied in size and appearance (this is a mixed heirloom varietal) and on brewing this is a fine, balanced, blueberry-dominated cup. It has a slight marshmallow sweetness and a lovely mouth feel. Every bag purchased includes a donation to Girls Gotta Run Foundation.
These beans come in a narrow, foil-lined manila bag with a valve. The label gives quite limited information (altitude, roast date, process) but extensive tasting notes. The Climpsons & Sons website gives a great deal of excellent information.
Varietal: Mixed Heirloom | Process: Natural | Phil's tasting notes: blueberry, strawberry, marshmallow
£8.00 for 250g via Climpsonandsons.com
Nicaragua has a long history of coffee production and coffee farming is now recovering after years of political upheaval, market crashes and weather disasters. Grown in the North of the country near the border with Honduras, this medium roast washed coffee contains beans of a fairly wide range of size and appearance – it contains Pacamara and Caturra varietals. Having a fairly traditional chocolate smell, it surprised me that the first sip revealed juicy fruit. It’s a pleasant cup, sugar sweet with a subtle white grape acidity and delicious notes of cooked pear. A slight dryness in the aftertaste spoiled the impression a little but this is tasty.
Varietal: Caturra, Pacamara | Process: Washed | Phil's tasting notes: poached pear, white grape, sugar syrup
£7.00 for 250g via Climpsonandsons.com
This coffee was produced by the Karithati cooperative in Central Kenya grown on smallholder farms. The medium roast beans have an even appearance. The taste is very pleasant. There is a caramel sweetness and a wine-like body. This coffee comes into its own as it cools: dominated by nectarine, it has a delicious juicy acidity and a super finish and peach-like aftertaste.
Varietal: SL34 and a little Ruiru 11 | Process: Washed | Phil's tasting notes: nectarine, peach, caramel
250g for £7.50 via Climpsonandsons.com
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