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 her 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 10 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 fragrance of Magdalena Vega's coffee is a bit subdued coming out of the grinder: a muted presence of cinnamon, ginger powder, and brown sugar. Hot water expands the aromatic profile with a smell of oatmeal cookie and raisin billowing in the steam, along with smells of vanilla pudding, and a mix of sweet and baking spice. The brewed coffee has flavors of what I think to be archetypal "Costa Rica" coffee character in balance, nut-to-chocolate roast tastes, and restrained sweetness of caramelized sugars. City+ roasts proffer an apple flavor, both flesh and skin (the slight bittering aspect), with a nice unrefined sugar sweetness underneath. The acidity is like fresh fruit, adding a pleasant brightness to the cup. Full City roast flavors of dark cocoa and mulling spice come up, fading into a balanced bittersweetness in the long finish. It's a great drinking coffee, restrained and not too showy, with cleanliness you expect from the origin.