This first lot of Pulcal balances caramelized sugar sweetness with elegant acidity. Top notes change with roast, lighter levels showing Asian pear and tart cherry, and ripe plum, apricot, and cacao bar at Full City. City to Full City+.
Pulcal is from an old coffee estate overlooking the colonial city of Antigua, and is situated at a range of 6000 feet in altitude. The farm dates to early colonial times (check out the neat tile crest in the first photo below), but coffee was planted in the late 1800's and first exported in 1918. The farm is said to have a unique micro-climate in the Antigua valley, as well as hillside exposure and well-draining soils. "Intelligente" refers to a specific block of the farm, planted in old Typica and Bourbon cultivar trees. It has the best sun exposure, and ideal topography. To form this lot, we cupped too many small "day lots" to count, selecting those that had the best sweetness and brightness. Day lots are small harvest batches from particular areas of the farm. Intelligente is from the upper part of the farm, highest altitude, and so tends to ripen in the middle harvest. Though this year there was a much earlier crop too, from which this lot is derived from.
Pulcal Inteligente is a sweet and balanced cup, with just enough top-note complexity to make it a 'highlight' cup. The dry fragrance has a fair amount of baking spice notes, along with panella sugar and creamy caramel sweetness. The ground coffee smells complex, and a Full City roasts show dark fruit, grape, and cocoa roast tones. A thick caramel scent is coupled with dried fruits in the wetted grounds, and a clean sweetness is released on the break. When hot, the brewed coffee shows beyond-convincing sweetness and elegant, malic acidity. As it cools, flavors of Asian pear, red apple, and orange oil come out, along with a tart cherry skin taste and feel. It's a really clean cup, a slight bittersweetness of black tea and lemon, a mouth cleansing effect. Our Full City roast was much more fruited, sweet plum and apricot nectar, and backed by a rich cacao bar flavor. Our first lot of the season is only 21 bags, but we have more booked for later this Spring.