A nice mix of dried fruit and raw sugar flavors makes for a balanced, bodied cup. Dried unsulfered apricot and peach, demurara sugar, cocoa powder to semi-sweet chocolate. City+ to Full City+. Good for espresso.
This wonderfully fruited cup from Costa Rica's Central Valley, was produced at the Cerro Alto micromill. This mill has been in operation for well over a decade now, a few of their lots in the past taking top seat at the Costa Rica Cup of Excellence competition. The mill itself is located in Heredia town, and processes coffee from it's four farms: La Loma, La Rosa, El Patio, and of course La Union. Altitude is 1600+, and planted in Caturra cultivar. This, like all of our Costa Rican coffee, are sent to a dry mill on the other side of the valley in Alajuela, where they do a fantastic job pealing and sorting the green coffee. Fermentation of pulped coffee is not common place in Costa Rica, where they use mechanical demuicalage machines (and a small trickle of water) to remove the cherry and fruit, leaving behind a layer of the sticky mucilage fruit with which the coffee is dried. This is commonly referred to as "honey processing", and the different colors are supposed to roughly correlate to the amount of fruit left intact - "Yellow" being less than 20%. Leaving any amount of fruit intact tends to promote fruited character in the cup, as well as body. When done right (like this coffee), there can also be mild acidity, and clarity more similar to washed coffee than all-out naturally processed. Honeys also produce quite a bit of chaff when roasting, which adds a slight challenge to visually monitoring the roast process. It's easily blown off post roast.
Honey process coffees tend to show more of a fruited side in the cup, due in large part to the fruit that is left intact when removing the cherry. This Yellow Honey lot has the best of both worlds: a fruit-forward cup kept well in balance by a caramelizing sugar-like sweetness. The dry fragrance at City+ has a smell of apricot preserves and sugar burning in a pan. A shade darker produces a carbony aspect that comes off as raw cacao nibs with a cinnamon spiced plum note in the wet aroma, while our lighter roast showed honey biscuit with dried fruit. Brewing a City+ roast, I taste lots of dry fruit notes up front, unsulfured apricot and peach. A dusty cocoa flavor pulls through in the finish, and there's an underlying raw sugar flavor throughout. Full City produces a silky mouthfeel which carries a wonderfully sweet milk to semi-sweet chocolate flavor, along with cinnamon stick accent. Honeys can produce amazing body, this coffee included, and a prime candidate for espresso building or even as a single origin espresso on it's own.