This versatile coffee will bring you amazing aromas of milk chocolate, caramel and a hint of floral notes on the nose. In the cup this coffee surprises you with the flavors of dark chocolate with an aftertaste of toasted breadcrumbs and a beautiful bright acidity. This coffee makes for an excellent latte-based drink as well.
Industry Review: The Coffee Attendant
Roast: Dark Medium
Altitude: 1700 - 1900 M.A.S.L.
Harvest: November to April
12 oz. Handcrafted Fair Trade/Organic Coffee
Costa Rica is a truly unique country, hosting more than 5% of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03% of the planet’s surface. Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, which gives it the largest percentage of protected areas in the world.
The coffees of central Costa Rica comprise one of those classic origins that is respected but not fawned over. Although Costa Rica produces a variety of coffees, those that reach American specialty coffee menus usually are very high-grown Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) coffees from regions near the capital of San Jose in the central part of the country: Tarrazu, Herediá, Tres Rios, Volcan Poas. At best Costa Rica coffees from these regions are distinctive in a way that defies simple, romantic description. When good they are clean, balanced, and resonantly powerful. When ordinary they are clean, balanced, and rather inert.
The relative lack of innuendo in Costa Rica coffees ironically may be owing to the advanced state of the Costa Rican coffee industry. They tend to come from trees of relatively recently developed cultivars of arabica like caturra or catuai, and usually are impeccably wet-processed using technically advanced techniques that eliminate the oddities of flavor that derive from traditional or regional variations in processing.
Unlike many coffees of the world, Costa Ricas generally are identified either by the estate or farm (finca) on which they were grown, or by cooperative or processing facility (beneficio) where they were processed. This piece of information, which is often available to the roaster or importer, is seldom passed on to the consumer except in the case of well-known estates like Bella Vista or La Minita.
La Minita Farm has become particularly prominent owing to the quality of its almost fanatically prepared coffee and the skillful publicity efforts of its owner, William McAlpin. The La Minita coffee appearing in specialty stores is likely to be so labeled: Costa Rica La Minita, La Minita Tarrazu, etc. Bella Vista can be almost as remarkable, although recently it has been available only from Starbucks.
Coffees from the Dota area of Tarrazu are the exact opposite of the classic-at-best, boring-at-worst Costa Ricas. Apparently owing to a local variation in fermenting technique, Dotas walk a thin, wild edge between disturbing over ripeness and exciting fruit and chocolate and are a good choice for those who prefer romantic risk to perfection.
A “honey” coffee, meaning the skin was removed from the coffee fruit immediately after picking but the beans or seeds were dried with at least some of the fruit pulp or “honey” still adhering to them. This practice contrasts to the more conventional wet or washed method, wherein both skin and pulp are removed from the beans before drying.
Lomas al Rio pioneered the Honey process in Costa Rica and continues to do wonders year after year. They begin by selecting only the ripest cherries from the prestigious West Valley region. Second the cherries are de-pulped with rubber, not metal machinery, the mucilage is left intact. The Honey coffee is than dried under the careful eye of Erick Rojas to ensure that the right amount of sugars enter the coffee.
Gently bright, citrus-and-berry character with distinct floral suggestions as well. A dark chocolate note emerged clearly and surprisingly in the finish. Citrus, chocolate and flowers all carried throughout.