Flavor Notes: Blackberry Jam, Apple Butter, Lilac
Producer: Oscar and Francisca Chacón
Region: Sabanilla, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Altitude: 1,450 masl
Varietal: Catuai, Caturra, Villa Sarchi
Process: Black Honey
Cumbres del Poas comes to us from the Las Lajas micro-mill in Tarrazú, Costa Rica. Las Lajas is owned and run by Francisca and Oscar Chacon. The Chacon’s focus on many varying profiles for the mainly natural and honey-processed coffees that come from their farms. They have developed different fermentation and drying profiles based on many factors, namely varietal and weather.
Black Honey references the processing method used in producing this coffee. Honey processing has many nuances but it is broadly categorized into 4 main color distinctions (white, yellow, red and black) depending on how much mucilage (sugar and proteins) adheres to the parchment coffee throughout the process.
At the lighter end of the spectrum (yellow and white) the coffees generally taste closer to washed coffees, though typically a bit lower in acidity and more body. Generally, with white and yellow honeys, less of the process is tasted allowing more of the terroir and varietal characteristics to come through.
At the darker end of the spectrum (red and black) the coffees start to taste more similar to naturally processed coffees. Red and especially black honeys are more on the fruited side of the flavor spectrum. The fruit notes come from extended fermentation, resulting from more available fermentable sugars adhering to the coffee parchment layer, during the drying stage.
The type of honey process used can be dictated by method of drying and/or weather. The style differences can be achieved as a result of different weather patterns during the drying period or as a result of controlled drying profiles through the use of shade, drying beds, coffee depth on the patio or bed (the deeper the layer of coffee, the slower the drying), different resting methods during drying, etc.
If a producer lets the weather dictate the processing, white and yellow honeys are produced during hotter and dryer times of the year while red and black honeys are produced during cooler and wetter months. This is caused by the amount of movement a coffee undergoes during drying. In hotter weather, the coffee has to be moved a lot in order to avoid over drying or drying too quickly. In cooler weather, the coffee is left to absorb more of the sun’s energy without being moved. The more a coffee is moved, the more the mucilage layer (fermentable sugars) is rubbed off resulting in lower levels of fermentation in the coffee.
This specific coffee is very fruit forward with notes of deeper darker fruits such as blackberry jam and purple flowers like lilacs. This is the 4th year we have offered coffee from Cumbres del Poas and it is always very well received by our crew and our customers.