Green Coffee Offerings : Central America : Costa Rica
Upcoming Crop Comments
We are looking forward to receiving our 2013 Costa Rican coffees.
About Costa Rican Coffee
Can a coffee be too perfect, too balanced, so all you can say about it is ," Hmm ... it has coffee flavor."' That's the criticism that used to be leveled at the coffees from Costa Rica - too balanced, too mild. We categorize this type of coffee as the "classic cup," the traditional balanced coffee that has no defects or taints. Coffee cuppers call it "clean" and it's not the same thing as "boring." Yet many Costa Ricas from the large farms and mills are exactly that; middle-of-the-road arabicas. But there's can be more to a Costa Rican coffee than neutrality. They are prized for their high notes: bright citrus or berry-like flavors in the acidity, with distinct nut-to-chocolate roasty flavors.
For me, the main issue with Costa Rica had been the model of coffee production, big mills creating brands, not small farms with their own tree-to-bag processing. Since we are small and can handle small lots in a way that is not economical for a larger coffee company, we changed the way we sourced Costa Rican coffees in 2008 and had some spectacular micro-lot offerings.
This new quality initiative is coming from smaller mills, low-volume farm-specific coffee producers who now keep their lots separate, mill it themselves, gaining control of the process, and tuning it to yield the best possible flavors (and the best price). This change in processing is possible due to new environmentally-friendly small milling equipment, and the disatisfaction of small producers who sell coffee at market prices, only to see it blended with average, carelessly-harvested lots. With an independent family mill, a farmer can become a true "coffee craftsperson," maximize the cup quality of their coffee, dividing lots by elevation or cultivar, and receiving the highest prices for their microlot coffees. In turn, we get unique and diverse microlots, and a transparent, long-term relationship with the small farmer. Some call it Direct Trade, but we call it our Farm Gate coffee, where we can be assured of exactly what the farmer received. And in these cases they yield 40%-100%+ more than Fair Trade prices.
The range of flavors that result from Costa Rican coffees has expanded without limit due to the new relationships we are forming, ranging from traditional wet-processed lots with vivid brightness and clean fruit notes, to ... well, radically different dry-processed coffees as well as pulped natural "honey" coffees. And there is everything inbetween too, so please read our descriptions and enjoy the new diversity of flavors.
I have been to Costa Rica now many times, and my Spanish gets better with each trip. For more information check out the photos in the travelogue section of the Coffee Library page. -Tom
Our Unroasted Costa Rican Coffee Offerings
We are currently out of stock. The review below is provided for your reference.
This microlot is brought to us by way of El Alumbre, a plot within the much larger Finca La Ortiga. Located in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica, the dizzying altitudes provide farmers in this region some of the best micro-climates for coffee production. This particular plot is situated at 1800 meters in the micro-region of Colpachi El Guarco. Beneath the shady canopy of banana trees, farmer Omar Brenes Fallas has planted El Alumbre with a mix of Caturra and Catuai, both high-yielding cultivars, maximizing the potential harvest of this small-holder farm.
This is a classic Costa Rica coffee in terms of flavor profile, with a refined sweetness that follows through from aroma to cup. There's an abundance of honey and milk chocolate in the dry fragrance, with dry cherry and cardamom coming through in more developed roasts. The wet aroma is loaded with butterscotch caramel and sweet malt scents, with a cinnamon spice accent. The crust of darker roasts smells of fresh cream with wafts of raisin bran muffin on the break. The cup has a vibrant snap of brightness, with mandarin like acidity, fading to a malted roast tone. There are slight grain sweetness notes in the lightest roast (City) that give way to milk chocolate and red honey at Full City level. The body isn't that heavy, but has a syrupy quality, finishing with a slight and pleasant tea-like bittering note. As the cup cools, nutty roast flavors are found from light roast levels with an almond skin dryness, and a slight herbal accent of Italian parsley. That might sound a bit odd for a coffee flavor, but somehow it works. If you develop the roast a little more, City+ to Full City, maple-like aromatic wood notes emerge as the cup cools, a very nice quality to find in a high grown Costa Rica coffee.
View Cupping Scores
We are currently out of stock. The review above is provided for your reference.
To view reviews for out of stock coffees, visit our Costa Rica Coffee Archives.
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This page is authored by Thompson Owen and Sweet Maria's Coffee, Inc. and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission