Dipilto is a premier coffee growing region, with diverse microclimates and good altitude, optimal conditions for producing specialty coffees. Finca Santa Helena is operated by producer Luis Emilio Valladarez, who also operates Finca Buenos Aires another coffee we purchased this year (the first pic is La Laguna). The farm is situated around 1200 - 1300 meters, and planted in Caturra, and Maracaturra, which is what this separation is comprised of. Maracaturra 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. Natural shade trees abound, the coffee is protected from warm afternoon sun. Once the ripe coffee cherry is picked, it is pulped and washed onsite, then laid to dry on raised African beds down at the dry mill in Ocotal. Due to the large size of Maracaturra, it can be tricky to roast. Not so much difficult, just that it may need a little longer roast time to allow for internal temperature to catch up with the exterior. If your roaster has manual heat control, you might try pulling back on the heat 30 seconds to a full min into first snaps to help with roast evenness from the outside in. I wouldn't recommend taking this coffee into 2nd snaps/Full City+ either. Being grown at lower altitudes means a less dense bean, and especially with such a large surface area, the roast is prone to taking off after 1st crack which can lead to burning and ashy flavors in the cup.
This Maracaturra separation from Santa Helena has soft sugar and tree nut tones, tea-like body, and malty accents in the fragrance and cup. The aromatics show the most developed sweetness in City+ and Full City roasts, backed by wafts of candied roasted nuts, and a shortbread cookie-like accent. The cup profile is simple, and even elegant in a way. Our City+ roast has an uncomplicated brown sugar sweetness from start to finish, any top notes remain fairly concealed until the temperature drops a bit. Tea notes are subtle, and most like black teas, with a mouth cleansing tannic feel in the finish. Flavors in the aftertaste are like candied pistachios or pecans, coated with butter, brown sugar, and a dash of spice, along with an aspect of bread malt in the long aftertaste. A fairly refined cup for Nicaragua, and in my opinion shows best in a fairly tight roast range of City+ to Full City.