The farm of Sonia Vega is located in Llano Bonito de Naranjo, West Valley, Costa Rica. It's along the road you take from the West Valley to Helsar de Zarcero mill, where this and many other coffees we buy are processed from fruit to green bean form. We have a long relationship with the Helsar mill , which is located on the Santa Lucia farm site, going back 8 years now. There are reasons we turn to Helsar for coffee, and the reason the local farmers deliver their coffee fruit there: They are excellent at processing coffee from fruit, to dried pergamino, to ready-to-export green coffee beans. Each year they refine their process, and under the guidance of Ricardo Perez Barrantes the recent improvements include more raised drying beds, more warehouse space to rest coffee (reposo) and new dry milling equipment. Anyway, this is a Caturra separation from Sonia Vega, and a fine example of the balance that can be acheived in "mechanically-washed" coffees - just look at all those "8.5"s in the spider graph!
This lot from Sonia Vega is a good example of the transparency found in many of the mechanically-washed Costa Rican coffees, balanced sweetness, moderate acidity, and a clean finish. The dry grounds have a faint raisin smell, but are dominated by burned sugar smells, a sweet pungency, like sugar caramelizing in a pan. The wet crust shows prominent smell of butter and sugar, a caramelizing scent that builds when breaking through the crust. City roasts have a tannic quality. like the cleansing aspect of black tea, and accompanied by an unrefined sugar sweetness. I say this from time to time, but the coffee has a flavor that reminds me of a coffee cake pastry, a raw sugar-sweetened cake with a cinnamon and sugar crumble. Liqueur has tactile appeal, heavy in weight, flavors lingering on the tongue. The finish is very sweet, vacillating between a flavor of liquid brown sugar and bittersweet chocolate syrup. Full City develops a cacao tone paring well with dense sweetness, and makes a near-perfect espresso in my opinion. Amazing bittersweet cocoa flavors that even hold up well to 2nd snaps.