Costa Rica Herbazu Red Honey
Costa Rica Herbazu Red Honey
Herbazu is a well-known farm in the West Valley region, Naranjo Zarcero area, next door to the Sin Limites farm. They grow a type of Villa Sarchi cultivar that they have used for so long, it has become their own mutation in a way. It's quite a short plant (Villa Sarchi is a dwarf mutation of Bourbon, as is Caturra). This was one of our favorite Costa Rica lots from last year, and is an interesting contrast to the fully washed (traditional wet-process) Herbazu lot. It has all the vivid bright notes and clean cup character but with a more rustic set of flavors overall. Red Honey means this is a pulp natural lot where 80% of the fruity mucilage from the coffee cherry is left on the parchment. This is a high percentage of fruit, compared to a yellow-colored honey parchment where 50% is removed. The result is that it dries to a rich red color when the coffee is in "pergamino", with the exterior parchment shell intact. What this means for the cup is milder acidic brightness, and a lot of body. We also found this processing on a great, bright Costa Rica coffee makes for a very exciting SO espresso shot, with a heightened sense of density to the mouthfeel, and a balance to the bright notes in the cup.This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
Be prepared for an unconventional Central flavor profile! The dry fragrance has a unique savory sweetness, sweet toasted grains in the light roast and an emerging milk chocolate a bit darker. The wet aroma has hints of winey fruit, slight citrus accents, and balance bittersweet scents. The cup is dynamic and bright, yet also very balanced with a thick body far above the norm for Costa Rica coffees. The mildly rustic flavors in the cup, herbs, sweet fresh-mown grass or hay, might throw you off. It's definitely a flavor profile that takes some time to ponder, but in the end this is a sweet cup that is a joy to drink! There is a honeysuckle floral element, lemon tea zest in the lighter roast, turning to a caramel malt at FC roast. It's a fantastic espresso, especially if you can pull shots at 8.5 bars of pressure, a bit low, where a lot of SO espresso does better in my opinion. As it cools, a praline-toffee sweetness comes out, with a rustic suggestion which reveals the fact it's a hybrid process, between wet-type and full natural coffees.
Chris Schooley adds: Bold malts up front with a refined (as opposed to raw) sugar/candied peanut-butter sweetness. Reminded me a little of a nutella or a butterfinger candy bar . A slight lemon zest begins to show as it cools then opens up to a really juicy cherry with the candy sweetness in the back (stays really lemony in the lighter roast). All in all this was a fairly sweet coffee and I could see it being used in an espresso or as a unique espresso on its own.