Costa Rica Helsar Caturra - Macho Arce
This is a separated lot from a single producer at the Helsar de Zarcero micromill. I had noticed this coffee when cupping in Costa Rica for its clean, classic origin character. It's 100% Caturra cultivar, and has the zesty brightness and citrus accents that exemplify this varietal at it's best. I remember La Minita in it's best years tasting like this. It is from the farm of the Arce family, one of the contributors to the Helsar lot we sold earlier in the season, but offered here as it's own discrete microlot. Manuel Arce goes by the name "Macho" even though he seems remarkably quiet and humble. His old Land Rover pickup is a bit macho, but hey, it's a real farm truck. This coffee deserves it's own spotlight.This coffee is part of our Farm Gate pricing program.
The dry fragrance has a praline nutty sweetness; caramelized sugar, maple syrup, pecan, and unrefined panela sugar cake in the darker roasts. The wet aroma has a malic brightness, bran muffin and brown sugar scent. I really like the way the darker roast level has a mahogany-toned sweetness, persistent and not overtaken with carbony tones. And I was a little surprised by the nice, viscous body when I first hit the cups... it's more than expected from wet-process type Costa Rica coffees. I am not calling it heavy body, but simply a nice thick quality to it, for a Central. The cup is bright, with pink grapefruit acidity, yet balanced. There are yellow fruit flavors, Meyer lemon as well as green grape, all fresh fruited notes with zesty brightness. The light roast has vanilla and very slight refined sugar sweetness, darker roasts have caramel and vanilla, and are a little rummy. The aftertaste is fairly brief, with suggestions of hazelnut re-emerging. It's a bright, lively cup, not overly complex, but very refreshing, if a hot beverage can be characterized as such. In slightly darker roasts, the fruits taste more mature and ripe, the brightness has a nice tonality to it, and white sugars taste slightly more caramelized; I preferred the City+ and Full City roasts to the very light City level.