Costa Rica Helsar Magdalena Vega

What I think of as archetypal "Costa Rica" coffee character: balance, nut-to-chocolate roast tastes, and restrained sweetness of caramelized sugars. Top notes include green apple, hazelnut, and orange zest. City to Full City+. Good for espresso.

In stock
  • Process Method Wet Process
  • Cultivar Caturra Types
  • Farm Gate Yes
Region Central America
Processing Mechanically Washed
Drying Method Patio Sun-dried
Arrival date May 2018 Arrival
Lot size 30
Bag size 46 KG
Packaging GrainPro liner
Farm Gate Yes
Cultivar Detail Caturra
Grade SHB
Appearance .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen
Roast Recommendations City to Full City+; versatile coffee
Type Farm Gate

This lot is from a rather small farm owned by Magdalena Vega. She delivers all the coffee fruit to the nearby Santa Lucia farm where it is processed at the Helsar de Zarcero micromill. The vast majority of her finca is planted in Caturra cultivar, though there is Catuai variety also mixed in. (In truth, farms are rarely planted exclusively in one variety of coffee). Magdalena inherited the farm from a larger plot shared between her seven brothers. It measures at less than 5 hectares and tops out near 1700 meters, producing about 10k lbs. a year of exportable green coffee. We have had a buying relationship with Helsar de Zarcero mill, and the owning partner/manager Ricardo Perez, for close to 10 years now. Each year we see quality refinements to their process, with new drying beds, warehouse space and dry mill equipment being added in the past season. And we see a consistent quality in that comes from their processing methods, a clean-tasting, classic Costa Rica character with both brightness and balance.

The fragrance of Magdalena Vega's coffee is a bit subdued coming out of the grinder: a muted presence of dry spice, raw sugar, and barley tea. Hot water expands the aromatic profile with a smell of cooked sugars, a caramelizing sweetness, and with a combination of hazelnut and brown sugar in the steam. The brewed coffee has flavors of what I think to be archetypal "Costa Rica" coffee character in balance, nut-to-chocolate roast tastes, and restrained sweetness of caramelized sugars. City+ roasts offer a green apple note, both flesh and skin (the slight bittering aspect), as well as herbal tea top notes, and an underlying unrefined sugar sweetness. As you move through the cup, a flavor of milk chocolate and sweet hazelnut emerge, echoing the smells up front, and an orange zest/rind accent in the finish. There's an acidic impression like fresh apple too, malic in nature, adding a pleasant brightness to the cup. Full City roast flavors of dark cocoa, balanced bittersweetness, fading into a black tea flavor in the finish. It's a great drinking coffee, restrained and not too showy, with cleanliness you expect from the origin.