Classic Tarrazu coffee. A very balanced cup, true to its Bourbon varietal character, creamy body, layers of chocolate, toasted granola, melted butter, apricot hints. Fantastic as SO espresso! City+ to Full City+ roast
Finca La Ponderosa is a special high elevation coffee from Tarrazu, processed expertly at the Beneficio Don Mayo by the Bonilla Family. I met Don Mayo founder Hector and his son Pablo in Costa Rica several times and when they visited here last year. And I must admit, they have the coolest logo ever (a coffee bean head with the traditional Tico coffee workers hat, called a "chonete" ... something of a Gilligan type thing.) But only during harvest of this year was I able to get to the Ponderosa farm itself, up a winding road and across a valley in the area of Tarrazu called La Legua. I walked the farm and nursery with Jairo Cruz, who manages Ponderosa, and whose family owns the farm in partnership with the family of Hector's wife. The farm has a mix of cultivars planted, but the lot we received is pure Bourbon varietal. And I am very happy with how this lot of coffee arrived; very, very balanced. It's a coffee I could drink all day long. The dry fragrance has tons of chocolate scent, as well as toasted granola, dark sugar, and roasted almond. Adding the hot water, the wet aromatics sweetens with a Malt-o-meal hot cereal scent, melted butter, and slight spicy accents of cinnamon. The cup needs some time to cool down for the flavors to really open up. There is a slight apricot fruit in the background, but overall the coffee is not fruited. The roast flavors are more nut-based in tonality, between a very mild roasted peanut and hazelnut, especially at City+ level. A touch darker and chocolate notes dominate ... in fact the cup has tons of chocolate at most roast levels, layered so that initially the sensation of soft milk chocolate tones transform into semi-sweet bittering residual flavors on the palate. And more than anything, the cup is sweet. I keep thinking of amber malt syrup at City+ roast, the fact that maltose sugars might be present in this coffee. The degree to which you convert those sugars in roasting will determine a lot of your flavor here. My favorite straddled the divide between City+ and Full City. The finish has a bittering of chocolate and slight sweetness of panela sugar cakes, the minimally processed sugar used in much of Latin America. This dense, Bourbon cultivar is a bit tough to read, in terms of degree-of-roast. Erring on the lighter side will yield better results. Overall it yields a classic, compact flavor profile, typical of Bourbon cultivar, being both well-structured and balanced. We also had some really great SO espresso shots from the FC+ roast of La Ponderosa Bourbon! The shots had rich chocolate laced with blackberry flavors, caramel-chocolate finish. Fantastic!