We are big fans of Helsar, and are offering several lots this year from this excellent West Valley mill. We have saved this lot for release late in the year, as new crop Costa Rica coffees are not due until May or June in 2009. We do this by using special bags designed for grain storage that have proven very effective to stabilize coffee during storage, and the results are great. This lot tastes as it did the day it arrived, maybe better! Helsar de Zarcero represents the combined efforts of Ricardo Perez Barrantes and Rodriguez Villalobos. Their farms are on a high ridge in the are of Alajuela, in the coffee areas of both Zarcero and Naranjo. They grow Typica, Caturra an a type called Villa Sarchi. Helsar is an excellent Micro-Mill and dry most of their top grade coffees on raised beds/screens in a covered tent (to increase heat and prevent rain damage). The dry fragrance has very attractive chocolate milk and cocoa powder sweet smells, as well as orange and caramelly traces. Ditto on the wet aroma; caramel, soft chocolate sweetness, orange hint. The cup flavors are marked by sweet citrus, and hazelnut roast taste, especially at the City+ degree-of-roast. Candy-like orange flavor is evident at first, fading into citrus peel aftertaste. Especially in the lighter roast, it's a very bright, clean cup, sweet at first and with a lively, citrusy grace note in the finish. The body is quite light, but fits the refreshing, bright cup. It's not the most complex cup, but minimalist and "elegantly simple" would be a fair characterization. At Full City roast, there is appreciably more weight to the mouthfeel, and the cup takes on milk chocolate flavors with a slight orange emphasis. It works well under a nice, wide range of roast levels.