Origin : Costa Rica
Region : Sabanilla de Alajuela
Farm : Finca Calle Liles
Varietal : Caturra
Altitude : 1 450 - 1 600 m
Process : Yellow diamond honey
Tasting notes : Bubble gum, mango, brown sugar
Expect to be well surprised with our first batch of our new Grand Cru series. A premium coffee doesn't have to be traditional.
What we're offering here is a lot of fun in the cup. The taste of bubble gum is undeniable, impossible to miss. Very funky. A little tropical fruit (mango), caramelized brown sugar, and this taste of bubble gum that reappears at the end of the sip.
A coffee with a lot of body, well textured, and a little winey side, notes of fermented blue grape.
These beans come from the Las Lajas station operated by Oscar and Francisca Chacón, third generation coffee producers. The couple is committed to quality and innovation and is one of the very first farmers in Costa Rica to produce specialty coffee with a honey and natural process.
In 2005, after years of delivering their cherries to a cooperative at market prices, they decided to participate in the new "micro-mill revolution" and buy their own pulping machine to have more control over the quality and price they received for their lots. "At first we didn't know what we were doing," Oscar explains. "We were just experimenting." This experimentation resulted in some very exciting new taste profiles. Today, Chacon produces a wide range of coffees using the Honey process, modulating the drying time to create different effects in the cup.
Problems sparked the innovation when an earthquake in 2008 cut off electricity and water in their region during harvest. Unable to run the pulpers or wash the mucilage to produce washed batches, Francisca drew on her knowledge of African coffee production and quickly built raised beds on the property. Their natural-type lots attracted attention.
YELLOW DIAMOND HONEY PROCESS
Traditionally, coffee farmers use two main techniques to process their coffee beans: natural (dry) or washed. The honey (or natural pulped) process is a hybrid that combines elements of both techniques to create new taste differentiations. The skin of the cherry is removed but leaving some flesh inside. The mucilage remains while the kernels are dried. The coffee is turned several times a day and dried longer in the greenhouse. During the honey process, when the coffee is drying, the sticky layer on the outside of the beans oxidizes and takes on a darker color. Coffee that starts to take on a golden yellow color and stops at this stage is called yellow honey. As the coffee continues to ferment, the mucilage oxidizes further to take on a red and finally a black color. The more fruit remains on the bean, the darker the color.
What makes the "diamonds" different is that the drying process requires more attention than other "honeys", as Oscar and Francisca want the temperature to remain very low throughout the process. First, the coffee is pre-dried on raised beds for a day, then moved to the drying patio where it is closely monitored throughout the process. The yellow diamond takes 15 to 22 days to dry.
To learn more about drying process, may we suggest you this blog post.
We don't want to roast this batch too lightly, even if it is a Grand Cru. That would make it too clean, less fun. We want to focus on the mango, the sugar. A good percentage of development, not too long.
Our favorite part is when the roasting is over and the coffee is ground. To the nose, we feel the smells, the mango, bubble gum in concentrated version.
We prefer this coffee to be brewed manually, but it will please the short espresso fanatic who is looking for a sweet and sharp taste, with little or no milk. Try it on ice - in a Yama if you're lucky enough to have one, or in a flash cold brew with an Aeropress.
It's a very different cup than a regular coffee. It's seen as an experience to be had, a tasting that deserves attention.
It's the equivalent of a coffee version of natural wine.
Brewing parameters :
Dry coffee : 19.5 grams
Wet weight : 40 grammes
Time : 27 secondes
Water temperature : 200° F (93° C)