This is the second Maracaturra coffee we've offered from Finca Buenos Aires Estates. The Maracaturra cultivar is a large bean variety of coffee, a cross between Caturra and the so-called "Elephant Bean", Maragogype. It seems to be grown mostly in Nicaragua although I have found nice examples in El Salvador too. Buenos Aires is a rather low farm compared to other origins we buy, with this lot coming from about 1200 meters. This coffee is wet processed, which means that the whole cherry is mechanically separated from the coffee seed, and then the sticky layer of mucilage is broken down and removed using overnight wet fermentation. This tends to produce higher acidity levels, and often a cleaner, more clear set of cup flavors all around. Maracturra can be tricky to roast due to the enormous bean size. If you have the ability to control heat on your roaster, try a "slow and low" approach, dragging out the beginning roast leg before 1st crack in order to produce roast consistency from the inside out. For those without heat control (a popcorn popper for example), take the roast to at least City+ based on the beans exterior which will ensure internal roast development is achieved and save you from the green/grassy notes that come from underdevelopment! Normally this equates to a slightly "wilder" profile and toned down acidity, but this isn't really the case for this coffee. These beans are quite large, and if you're lucky, one or two may be rejected (or I should say "ejected") right back at you from the mouth of your burr grinder.
This Maracaturra selection has a dry fragrance of almond bar, sweet marzipan, and molasses sugar accents. The wet aroma shows strength in sweetness, buttery toffee smells coming up in the steam are near floral, and an aromatic wood note accents the steam. The sweetness in the cup shows nicely when hot, like panela sugar cookies - a raw sugar sweetness, almost molasses like -fading to bittersweet flavor of burnt sugar candies. The profile is focused around layers of raw sugar sweetness, tethered together by pleasant chamomile tea-like acidity. As the coffee cools, more of the cookie-like flavors are exposed; butter cookies, tea crackers, and the like. We enjoyed City+ and Full City roasts the best, sweetness balancing out grain and nut flavors.