Costa Rica Tarrazu "Sangre de Toro"

Costa Rica Tarrazu "Sangre de Toro"

Farm Description

Sangre de Toro means "Bull's blood" and it describes very, very ripe coffee cherry. I have heard this crimson-colored level of ripeness referred to as Sangre de Toro in several countries, so when I mentioned it to Diego Calderon at the Los Angeles micro-mill in Santa Maria de Dota area of Tarrazu, he knew exactly what I was talking about. The idea was to create a very small lot from La Bisunga which is near the Los Angeles beneficio, and the house of Diego and his father Ricardo Calderon. With this lot, I asked if we could pay the coffee pickers extra to re-sort their coffee fruit. In other words, they usually come to the mill and simply deposit them in the hopper, so varying levels of ripeness are pulped and processed together. But I wanted to find out what would happen if they did as they do in Kenya; have pickers lay out the cherry and resort it so that only these Sangre de Toro fruits were included in the lot. What I anticipated was a slightly winey fruit character perhaps with a slightly milder acidity, a more rounded flavor profile, perhaps with a bit less bracing brightness and structure, but great depth and mild fruit tones. I guess that's just my experience with really ripe coffee cherry. With the added labor to hand sort the coffee cherry and careful processing we paid the highest price for this lot of any Costa Rica coffee, but it is well worth it we think. I am proud of this lot because it was instigated on the farm, and intended from the start as a special Shrub lot that I felt fellow roasters would truly appreciate.

This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.

Cupping Notes

The ripeness of the coffee cherry is definitely brought to bear in the aromas and cup flavors of the Sangre de Toro lot. From light to dark roast levels, the dry fragrance has soft chocolate tones, with vanilla and fruit traces. It is in the wet aroma that indications of cup flavor reveal themselves; plum, apple, cinnamon bark, melted butter and caramel sauce emerge. I was really amazed at how different my test roast levels were in the cup, and each excellent in their own regard. The lightest roast came through with the buttery mouthfeel and sweet flavor, ripe lemon and tangerine fruit notes (a soft acidity paired with these flavors, not puckering). It finishes silky and super sweet. At City+ the cup has more malic acidity and apple fruit tones, a light brown sugar sweetness as sucrose develops with the roast, hazelnut in the finish and a very lush mouthfeel. I roasted my third sample toward 2nd crack (without entering it at all), Roasted Coffee Pictorial Guide. ">Full City+. This had an aggressive roast chocolate flavor, rounded dark cocoa sweetness in the finish, buttery mouthfeel, plum fruit notes. It's a rounded flavor profile, well-structured but nothing outrageous; yet as it cools it becomes more and more convincing of it's intrinsic qualities. I don't get the winey fruit I anticipate from this project, but I can't be more pleased with the cupping results. The rounded and well integrated brightness would lead me to believe that other coffees, some containing less ripe cherries, contribute to a "false acidity" in the coffee, a brightness due to slight levels of astringency and not from true, positive acidic brightness.



Lot Size

25 bags x 69 KG

Roast Recommendations

City roast is stunning, without any grainy light roast notes. City + is more malic. FC+ has great cocoa notes, but tastes like a more standard coffee than this truly is.


Wet Process



Grade & Appearance

.0 defects per 300 grams, 17-18+ Screen


Shipped to us in GrainPro
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This coffee has sold out. The review is provided for reference purposes only.

This is the "Sangre de Toro" cherry color, at Los Girasoles farm

Cell phone image from Diego Calderon of the actual Sangre lot on the patio.

Ricardo Calderon, his daugther, and Diego Calderon


#1 Roast levels cupping

This coffee really did perform very nicely and uniquely in a wide range of roasts. This is most attributed to having a broad body and intense sweetness, but also the clarity in the cup which allows the sweetness to articulate itself as candied black cherry notes at my FC+ roasts. The C+ was indeed very malic, with potent pear juice and apple notes, and the City level itself was clean and bright yet still balanced. Really impressed with the FC+ roast that I did with this which really was surprisingly bright and syrupy, and had just a bit of a pleasant roastiness in the finish that had a wonderful dark caramel character to it.

I have a some of each roast left that I blended together (from C, C+, FC+, probably 10%, 30%, 60% respectively). Going to hold it until Friday and pull some shots.

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