Review: Coffee del Rey Guatemala Huehuetenango (Plano, Texas)

Coffee del Rey is a VERY local roaster to me, located less than 10 miles from my house. It is a company that operates on a similar business model to TOMS. For every pound of coffee sold, they provide a pack of non-GMO heritage fruit/vegetable seeds in partnership with training from other organizations to start community gardens in developing countries, to help the people there grow their own food for consumption and as a way to support themselves.

I admire Coffee del Rey’s drive to make the world a better place, but honestly, the main reason I like buying from them is because I like their coffee! I have personally purchased probably about 15 pounds of coffee from this company so far. Most of that has been their Ethiopia Harrar, a natural-processed bean that smells like blueberries. I’ve also enjoyed their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe (citrusy and floral) and their Bolivia Organic (butterscotch and toast). This Guatemala Huehuetenango is new to me.

Upon opening the bag, I sniffed the whole beans (3 days post roast), and they had a subtle scent like cherry and almond. Nothing overwhelming, but pleasant. Once I ground up the beans and started brewing, it was very clear that these beans were extremely fresh because they started degassing like crazy. I should have taken a video… the grounds bubbled up and moved violently up and down like lava. (IT’S ALIVE!!)

V60: This took me 3 tries to get the extraction rate right because my normal grind setting wouldn’t cut it for some reason. I had to go much finer than usual on my Baratza Virtuoso (usually 14, for this: 9). The eventual result smelled like liquefied rose petals with a bit of toffee on the finish as it cooled. Kind of shocking!

Aeropress: Oooh. This still smelled and tasted like roses, but there was a definite note of toasted marshmallow here. Very sweet. Rich and not bitter. I ended up drinking the whole cup!

Chemex: I took a deep breath of the aroma from the Chemex before I poured a cup, and it had a warm glow that for some reason reminded me of matches… the way that matches smell when they are lit? Not like smoke, exactly, just the glow. The taste was a bit bitter right off the bat, but I let it cool for about one minute and the bitterness dissipated. It was sweet, with a scent of graham crackers and toasted marshmallow. As I let it cool, there was bit of milk chocolate in the finish. I enjoyed it as is, but just for fun, I did put a little bit of chocolate syrup in the coffee (no milk). S’mores, intensified!!!

French press: Syrupy body but not that flavorful. Kind of sour. Perhaps I needed to steep it longer than 4 minutes, or change the grind size, but I wasn’t as impressed with this method.

Summary: The finer the grind, the more this coffee smells like roses. But in a relatively coarse method like a Chemex, you can get s’mores. Both the Aeropress and the Chemex made delicious cups but I probably would go for this in a Chemex most often.

Coffee del Rey typically roasts on Tuesdays, but they have also started roasting other days of the week as needed. If you have something specific you want to try, I would recommend contacting them so that you can buy it as freshly as possible. I enjoy trying new things though, so I usually just go in and ask what’s freshest that day.

From the roaster: This Guatemala has subtle nuanced flavors of a syrupy, carmelly cocoa with hints of tobacco and lemony citrus. The lingering finish is pleasant and light.

Coffee del Rey Guatemala Huehuetenango

Edited to add: After I published this review, I got a tip to try these beans as a single-origin espresso. CHOCOLATE BOMB!!! If you like chocolaty espressos (and I do), this makes a delicious shot.

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