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Dry-processed coffee microlot from Carmen Estate! At lighter roasts it has dynamic fruited flavors (peach, dried apricot, fig, mango, melon), and intense chocolate at darker roasts. A very sweet cup with rustic tones, syrupy body, less sweetness as it cools. City to Full City+
Who knew that catastrophic storms would factor into one of the best natural dry-process coffees from Central America we have seen? That's what happened at Carmen Estate this last year, and we asked Carlos to replicate the lot in this current crop. A series of intense (hurricane-like) storms rocked the Chirqui province in North Panama in late '08 and early '09, stripping the coffee trees of fruit and leaves in some areas and sending flood-level waters down the rivers. Carmen estate was protected from the damaging winds but the river that lies between the farm and the mill where the coffee fruit is processed swelled up and washed away the bridge. Power was out for 7 days in mid-January, right when the coffee cherry was in mid-harvest. The only option Carlos and To±o (the owner and the farm manager) had was to lay out the whole cherries to dry ...to create a dry-process lot. Amazingly, this coffee has a fantastic cup, and we have named it Los Siete Dias de Bellota: Bellota is the local name for a dry-process coffee, and it means "nut" based on the appearance of a dried whole coffee cherry pod. Usually Bellota is the last coffee strip-picked from the trees, for local consumption, and includes unripe fruits and other damage. But here it refers to all-ripe, red coffee fruit picked at the peak of harvest.
The Siete Dias is an extremely different flavor profile than the wet-process Carmen coffee, and I think this new crop lot in the "Siete Dias..." tradition is as fantastic as the original. The dry fragrance has an abundance of chocolate (actually, like s'mores - chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow!) There is sweet fruit in the light roasts; apple, peach. In darker roasts it is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Wet aromas have a similar shift from light to dark roast levels, and it's one of many ways this coffee is reminiscent of dry-process Ethiopia Sidamo. At C+ roast there is sweet cooked fruit, like peach pie, and at FC+ it is thick layers of chocolate. You might not like this coffee roasted as light as I do (City roast) but the very cleanly fruited cup at this level proves the quality of this coffee, even if you roast it darker to obscure these fruits. It has Sidamo-like peach and dried apricot flavors, even a bit of Yemeni spice, cinnamon in particular. At City roast it has almondy roast tone and round body. As the lighter roast cools, the fruits seems more like fig and when I brewed it in a French Press it had mango and melon as it cooled, and sweetness becomes shorter in the finish. It's an intense SO espresso, with clean tangy chocolate and a very long aftertaste. Overall, the acidity is very mild, which makes this coffee 180 degrees opposite the wet-process Carmen estate 1900 meter lot we have. It would be very, very hard to guess this was even a Central America coffee in a blind cupping, without some prior knowledge!