This lot is from a rather small farm owned by Magdalena Vega. She delivers all the coffee fruit to the nearby Santa Lucia farm where it is processed at the Helsar de Zarcero micromill. The vast majority of this finca is planted in Caturra cultivar, though there is Catuai variety also mixed in. (In truth, farms are rarely planted exclusively in one variety of coffee). Magdalena inherited the farm from a larger plot shared between her seven brothers. It measures at less than 5 hectares and tops out near 1700 meters, producing about 10k lbs. a year of exportable green coffee. We have had a buying relationship with Helsar de Zarcero mill, and the owning partner/manager Ricardo Perez, for close to 9 years now. Each year we see quality refinements to their process, with new drying beds, warehouse space and dry mill equipment being added in the past season. And we see a consistent quality in that comes from their processing methods, a clean-tasting, classic Costa Rica character with both brightness and balance.
The aroma starts off a bit subdued with this lot of Magdalena Vega, the ground coffee showing faint resemblance to butter pecan ice cream. Adding hot water, the sweetness seems to billow in the steam, vanilla pudding and cinnamon powder, a mix of sweet and baking spice. The cup possess the archetype of Costa Rica coffee character in nut-to-chocolate roast tastes and restrained sweetness of caramelized sugars that balance it out. Lighter level City roast highlight elements of black tea with a lemon zest top note. And as the roast reaches toward Full City, flavors of dry cherry and mulling spice come up along with layers of complex chocolate tones, fading into a balanced bittersweetness in the long finish. It's a great drinking coffee, restrained and not showy, with just enough 'character' to signify it's origin.