This decaf lot comes from a single micromill in the Talamanca Sierra highlands, Tarrazu, "La Casona", owned and operated by the family of Don Roger Solis. This region is already in the clouds, so to speak, the ridge you drive over on the way in peaking at 3000 meters, and dropping down to the valley floor brings you to about 1500 meters. Both coffees are processed in the most common fashion for Costa Rica, using mechanical washing. No fermentation is used to remove the final layer of mucilage that can otherwise be tough to peel. Instead, the fruit and cherry are both removed at the same time with a mechanical demucilager and a little water. This process tends to produce a nice, clean cup profile, and perhaps somewhat muted acidity (though not always). Both coffees were classic examples of clean Costa Rican coffees in this respect, coming back post-decaf a close proximation of the non-decaf coffee. The Swiss Water decaffeination method is a delicate process, leaving much of the volatile compounds that affect flavor and aroma intact.
Another sweet and clean decaf that sticks close to the non-decaf version that we received in late 2016. Already a top lot before being decaffeinated, we were confident that the profile would show through the decaf process. Aromatically, the nose has a raw sugar and roasted cacao nib smell, and hints of sweet bread, like brown bread, or honey wheat. Like our last lot, acidity was apparent in the hot cup, and adds a mild fruit juice-like mouthfeel that sustains as it cools. The cup flavors give way to malt sugar and rice syrup sweetness, and a note of cinnamon bread that fills out the middle. The latter are partly due to decaffeination, but actually coalesce quite well, finding balance within the grounding sweetness and fruit juice brightness. Cocoa undertones are undeniable in our City+ roasts, and are way out front if you take development to Full City. These darker roasts will make for a chocolate-toned espresso too, balanced bittersweetness up front that fades to bittering cocoa powder in the finish. I found this decaf to be on the easy end of the "roasting difficulty" spectrum too, audible snaps as temperature in the drum neared 400 F. And don't be fooled by the oil that's sure to surface post roast, even in lighter roasts. Having been slightly degraded during decaffeination, the cell walls allow oils to rise more easily to the surface.