This 3rd lot of Pulcal sees an improved cup in cleanliness and complexity. Honey and caramelized sugar, ripe plum, pineapple, blackberry, Asian pear, and elegant acidity. A superb brewed coffee from City to Full City.
Pulcal is an old coffee estate overlooking the colonial city of Antigua, and is situated at a range of 6000 feet in altitude. The farm dates to early colonial times (check out the neat tile crest in the first photo below), but coffee was planted in the late 1800's and first exported in 1918. The farm is said to have a unique micro-climate in the Antigua valley, as well as hillside exposure and well-draining soils. "Intelligente" refers to a specific block of the farm, planted in old Typica and Bourbon cultivar trees. It has the best sun exposure, and ideal topography. To form this lot, we cupped too many small "day lots" to count, selecting those that had the best sweetness and brightness. Day lots are small harvest batches from particular areas of the farm. Intelligente is from the upper part of the farm, highest altitude, and so tends to ripen in the middle harvest.
Pulcal Inteligente is a sweet and balanced cup, with enough top-note complexity to make it a 'highlight' cup. The dry fragrance has a fair amount of raw sugar and baking spice notes, a 'clean' smelling lot, with caramelzing sugar in the raw and an accent smell of honey drizzled walnut. We found Full City sees a boost in fruited and cocoa notes, and even our City+ roast billowed a thick caramel and black currant in the steam off the wetted grounds, with a chocolate-covered raisin released on the break. This coffee cups with extreme cleanliness, what we expect from cafe Pulcal. When hot, the brewed coffee shows beyond-convincing sweetness and an elegant, apple-like acidity. As it cools, indications of fresh fruit and orange oil come up, fading to a crisp black tea taste in the finish. The sweetness is like honey too as the cup cools down, which adds a layer of complexity. As you near Full City, fruit notes have a dark sweetness like blackberry, a slight tartness in acidity backed by rich bittersweetness that's like cacao bar. From City to Full City this makes a fantastic brewed coffee, showcasing the pristine coffees that can be found in Antigua. Also doubles wonderfully as a SO (single origin) Guatemalan espresso.