Costa Rica Herbazu Red Honey

Costa Rica Herbazu Red Honey

Farm Description

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.

Cupping Notes

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.



Roast Recommendations

Very light roasts can have a sweet hay character some might find pleasant, others not. City+ to Full City+ is ideal. In any case, this is not a conventional Central coffee, and does not cup like one!


Pulp Natural


Villa Sarchi    

Grade & Appearance

.6 defect per 300 grams, 17-18 screen; a very unusual and varied appearance to the surface hides the fact that the preparation is really good. What you see in the green is varying levels of silverskin clinging to the coffee due to the "Miel" process.


Shipped in GrainPro, vacuum packed at our warehouse
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This coffee has sold out. The review is provided for reference purposes only.

Juan Barrantes aka "Tonio," the main man at Herbazu.

Villa Sarchi cultivar at Cafetalera Herbazu

Resting parchment coffee to stabilize moisture, after patio-drying

The high road and low road, both lead to Herbazu farm.


#1 Nice SO shots today

Really think Herbazu Red Honey shots today, pulled on the Giotto with fairly lower brewhead temp of 195. Thick, complex, a wide range from bright to depth, cups like a blend in that way.

#2 Holy Moly!

This coffee is amazing. I ground some for the aeropress, for use at work. On the trip to work the nutty aroma was unmistakable. This is one sweet cup, this can no be over stated. The start of the cup had unbelieveable sweetness, winey fruits, slight florals, maltyness and caramels with a touch of brightness. The brightness becomes more pronounce as the cup cools and turns into a citrusy tang. This was on four days rest.

I cupped this one initially the day after roast. The cup was medium bodied with a bit of caramels, mild winey fruits and a tang that became intense as the cup cooled. The tang turned into a lemony bright cup, the caramel seemed to melt away so to speak.

I think this one likes a couple days rest for some of the more rich aspects to develop. It seems that the initial lemony character that was present the day after roast is less intense and more just a citrus tang. I'll have to recup again tonight to make sure it isn't a difference in brew method. I'll post later with a couple roast notes as well.

This is another coffee I'll be presenting for the coffee tasting I'm doing. A really nice cup here.

I have to say that trying to sum up what I'm tasting seems to be a bit more of a confirmation of what SM has written already as cupping notes. It's hard to kind of restate what's been stated already but it also serves to tell me I'm doing a good job as well on my end, both in roast and prep.

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