||Costa Rica ARBAR Yellow Honey Kenia 2020
The ARBAR micro-mill is owned by Carlos and Maria Arrieta Soto, The mill name "ARBAR" comes from the combined family names - Carlos ARietta and Maria BARboza - ARBAR, clever eh!
Their family home and the milling area of the mill are right in the middle of the Manantial farm, 1 of the 4 small farms that Carlos and Maria run between them. It’s all laid out immaculately, with the drying beds, depulper, and nursery areas laid out around the edge of the house.
Carlos and Maria are very active members of the local community and have close relationships with their neighbours - which include CoE winning mills like Herbazu, Vista Al Valle and Sumava. The farm operates mostly Organic processes, but they're not Organic certified. They believe in the value of biodiversity on the farms, and plants like fruit trees are positioned among the coffee plants to provide shade and to help the soil. These trees also provide food for the family. They even have a few sheep and other animals, with the farm being as self-sufficient as possible. They have one full-time employee, who lives on the farm.
Before they sold to us, the ARBAR production was sold to a big cooperative. For that, it makes sense to grow tried-and-trusted coffee varieties like Caturra, Catuai, and Villa Sarchi. These are all proven to produce a good cup, and they're relatively resilient and don’t need to be spaced out too much.
When Carlos and his family started selling to us, it gave them a chance to try new things – with our prices giving them a chance to take bigger risks. One of the ways they did this was by trying small plantings of new varietals.
So, by 2015 they already had some planted varietals that aren’t so common in Costa Rica, including Bourbon, Geisha, and this one – Kenyan. We originally waited from 2015 to 2018 to try this coffee because it typically takes about three years for a coffee plant to grow big enough to produce a crop, that wait finally ended in 2019 and now in 2021 we're ready to enjoy the third crop of their Kenyan varietal.
'Kenyan varietal' might sound a bit odd, "surely it’s not just called 'Kenyan'?" we hear you ask? Well, you’re right. It’s thought to be SL28, one of the famous varietals from Scott Labs in Kenya. However, as with many of these coffee varietals, we're not 100% sure how close what we have here is to that original SL28. It’s a long journey from Kenya to Costa Rica, and not all of it is well documented. Either way, this plant stock has produced some great results in Costa Rica, and that’s what we care about!
This coffee has been processed at the ARBAR micromill using the Yellow Honey process. Honey processing is somewhat similar to a Pulped Natural (but uses less water), falling somewhere in between a Washed and a Natural coffee both in terms of contact between the cherry mucilage and the bean during drying time and in the resulting flavour profile. The outer skin and fruit pulp is removed from the seed (bean) of the coffee inside, and it's left to dry. The colour in the name refers to the amount of sticky fruit that's left on the surface of the seed after depulping - darker indicates more / lighter indicates less. This method can present some risk of over fermentation during processing but water is a precious commodity in this area of Costa Rica, so this method suits the location very well. Carlos definitely has the skills to pay the bills though so no worries about mucking up the Honeys at ARBAR! If you would like to find out a little more about honey processing and see the other honey processed coffees we have available right now, please click here.
Starting is a juicy hit of lime, both sweet and bright. Then comes super creamy milk chocolate on the finish, with just a hint of cranberry there too.
Country: Costa Rica
Region: Western Valley
City: Lourdes de Naranjo
Farmer: Carlos Arrieta
Micro mill: ARBAR
Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
Processing system: Yellow Honey
Lime, milk chocolate, cranberry
Clean cup: (1–8): 7
Sweetness: (1–8): 7
Acidity: (1–8): 7
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 7
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6.5
Overall: (1–8): 8
Total: (max. 100): 91
Medium - through first crack, let it develop a little but keep it in the gap to let the lime acidity really sing.
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