Costa Rica Helsar -Sonia Vega - Archived Review

Costa Rica Helsar -Sonia Vega - Archived Review


THIS COFFEE HAS SOLD OUT. Extremely balanced coffee, raw sugar and black tea qualities. Full City shows a bit more cacao, and heavier body. Great daily-drinking coffee and incredible for espresso. City to Full City+.

Out of Stock

Additional Info

Grade SHB
Arrival Date August 2015 Arrival
Appearance .2 d/300gr, 15-18 Screen
Intensity / Prime Attribute Mild to Medium intensity/Raw sugar sweetness with well-balanced bittersweet cocoa notes, black tea mouthfeel
Region Llano Bonito de Naranjo, West Valley
Roast Recommendations City to Full City+: City+ is where the sweetness is truly capitalized on, body bolstered
Organic No
Farm Gate Yes
Recommended for Espresso Yes



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The farm of Sonia Vega is located in Llano Bonito de Naranjo, West Valley, Costa Rica. It's along the road you take from the West Valley to Helsar de Zarcero mill, where this and many other coffees we buy are processed from fruit to green bean form. We have a long relationship with the Helsar mill , which is located on the Santa Lucia farm site, going back 8 years now. There are reasons we turn to Helsar for coffee, and the reason the local farmers deliver their coffee fruit there: They are excellent at processing coffee from fruit, to dried pergamino, to ready-to-export green coffee beans. Each year they refine their process, and under the guidance of Ricardo Perez Barrantes the recent improvements include more raised drying beds, more warehouse space to rest coffee (reposo) and new dry milling equipment. Anyway, this is a Caturra separation from Sonia Vega, and a fine example of the balance that can be acheived in "mechanically-washed" coffees - just look at all those "8.5"s in the spider graph!

This lot from Sonia Vega is a good example of the transparency found in many of the mechanically-washed Costa Rican coffees, balanced sweetness, moderate acidity, and a clean finish. The dry grounds have a faint raisin smell, but are dominated by brown sugar and spice accents. The wet crust shows prominent sweet smell of butter and sugar, a caramelizing scent that builds when breaking through the crust. City roasts have a tannic quality. like the cleansing aspect of black tea, and is accompanied by a sweetness I liken to unrefined sugars. I say this from time to time, but the coffee has a flavor that reminds me of "Coffee Nib" candies, a bittersweet candy attempting to capture the bittersweetness that makes up the foundation of most coffee. A bit like burned caramel, the candied bittersweetness disappears shortly in the finish of light roasts. Full City develops a cacao tone paring well with dense sweetness, and makes a near-perfect espresso in my opinion. Amazing bittersweet cocoa flavors, with both sweetness and brightness piqued.