||Costa Rica Don Joel Finca Carmela Red Honey Kenia 2019
The Don Joel micromill is owned by Allan Oviedo Rodriguez and his family. It's right on the border between the Central and Western valleys in Costa Rica, and Allan has been producing coffee in the area for eighteen years. Growing up in a coffee family, Allan learnt the traditional producing methods with his father (Don Joel) and brothers. But he also saw the difficulties that came with this lifestyle, such as poor returns and increasing cost of living.
When his father passed away, the farms were split up between the family. Allan, working the La Cumbre farm, decided to change how he did things. He built the micromill and named it for his father, and then he set about replanting the farm with a focus on taste quality. The varietals he chose will be familiar from our range: Caturra, Catuai and Villa Sarchi.
With a mix of willingness to try new things, an eye for detail and the ability to learn quickly, Allan was able to build a great reputation for consistently and cleverly grown and processed coffees.
A few years ago Allan was able to invest in expanding his growing area, and he added this farm – Carmela – alongside La Cumbre. Despite a difficult year for coffee growing in the Western Valley (with high temperatures, unseasonal rain and ash from Poás volcano among the challenges), Allan managed to get a great crop from Carmela.
Carmela is a three hectare farm that's planted mostly with Villa Sarchi and some Typica. Situated around 1,600 metres above sea level (m.a.s.l.), it's only five minutes' drive from La Cumbre but is on the opposite edge of the hill. Even with these short distances, Allan's noticed significant differences in the weather. These differences give each farm its own character.
Like many producers in Costa Rica, Allan works in a semi-organic way. He reduces the use of sprays as much as possible. One of the tricks he uses is to create his own fertiliser: he uses native microorganisms to create a base before including some trace nutrients for the plants, and he can then spray the mixture onto the plants.
The Kenia varietal in the name here is the same you might recognise from the ARBAR micromill. These plants are thought to be descendants of SL28 plants brought from Kenya, but we don't know much about the history – so it's a little bit of a guess!
What we can say is that we're pretty confident SL28 is partly responsible for the uniquely bright yet sweet and complex flavour of great Kenyan coffees. In this respect, the Costa Rican 'Kenia' seems to deliver the same thing. Kind of a flavour mashup between classic Kenyan and Costa Rican flavours, the acidity here is more intense than the Villa Sarchi from the farm whilst keeping that intense sweetness and silky body.
Can something taste yellow? This does! Think peach and yellow plums to begin, and then a little grating of lemon zest and a shoulder of grapefruit. After all that yellow fruit, it mixes things up on the finish with a delicate white grape.
Country: Costa Rica
Region: Western Valley
Nearest City: San Luis de Grecia
Farm: Finca Carmela
Micromill: Don Joel
Producer: Allan Oviedo Rodriguez and family
Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
Processing method: Red Honey
Peach, yellow plum, lemon zest, grapefruit, white grape
Clean cup: (1–8): 7.5
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 7
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6
Flavour: (1–8): 7
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 6
Overall: (1–8): 7
Total (max. 100): 89
Medium – take this one steadily up to first crack, let it develop, push some heat into it until you're well into the gap, and then drop.
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