What we taste: We tasted dried cherry, melon, bakers chocolate, and floral notes.
ORIGIN: Central America
REGION: Naranjo, West Valley
PROCESSING METHOD: Black Honey
ALTITUDE: 1600 meters
This offering is a first for Kaldi’s. It is a unique lot that is a “black honey” process. Processing is one of the ways that Costa Rica has really differentiated itself from many other producing countries. In some ways, Costa Rica is the epicenter for the growth of third wave coffee on the producer side. Though the country has been known for decades as a top producer of specialty coffee, there wasn’t much known to the consumer or even many roasting companies other than the famous growing region in Costa Rica where much of the coffee is grown, Tarrazu.
About 10 years ago, many small producers were having a hard time differentiating themselves from others and were having a hard time making a living. Some small growers begin doing more of the processing themselves and in short, a micro mill revolution was born. Many small producers, such as this lot’s producers, Oldemar Arrieta, have started their own micro mills in hopes of higher quality, better transparency, and better prices. In Oldemar’s case, he is succeeding in all areas. One of his lots was the 2013 Cup of Excellence #1 winner, the top coffee in all of Costa Rica that year. This year’s lot from Oldemar is a pulped natural, or honey coffee. Honey is a process in which the skin is removed from the coffee seed, leaving the fruit intact with the parchment (the outer covering of seed or coffee ‘bean’), and then dried. The result is somewhat between washed and dry process coffees. Costa Rica has actually been producing different types of honey coffees depending on how much fruit is removed during the process. This coffee is called black honey because most of the fruit is is left on the parchment. While the parchment is drying, the color is dark red, almost black, giving it the name black honey.