This is the first time we've had a honey process Maracaturra from Buenos Aires, or anywhere for that matter. Honey processing is achieved using mechanical demucilage machine that remove the coffee cherry but leave some of the fruit intact on the seed. The coffee is dried with this fruit still intact, and typically evidenced in the cup via fruited flavor aspects, body, and often muted acidity in comparison to full washed coffee, but still much more articulate than a dry processed coffee. I cup tested several Maracaturra lots on my visit to Buenos Aires last March, and would up buying both full washed and honey process offers as I found the cup profiles to be uniquely different. 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 we've 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. 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!
A dried peach smell accents the fragrance of the ground coffee, City roasts showing a mix of malty sugar smells, and both dried and fleshy fruit hints. A wine-like fruit smell builds in the wet aroma, along with a a hint of ripe plum, and caramely sugar billows in the steam. The hot cup is underscored by a sweetness of semi-refined cane sugar, cherry and apple notes offering fruited highlights, as well as a pulpy fruit accent. The acidity level is moderate like black tea, a butter cookie flavor fills out a rather clean finish. City and City+ roast levels suit this Maracaturra selection best, revealing a modestly bright cup, subtle cup complexity, and a convincing level of sweetness.