Costa Rica Don Joel Finca Carmela Red Honey Kenia 2021


Bean name Costa Rica Don Joel Finca Carmela Red Honey Kenia 2021
Country #SSSSS Limited Editions 2021
Region Western Valley


Hello and a very happy (almost) February! The days are starting to get a little longer and brighter (even with the arrival of a sprinkling of snow!) and it's high time we sent you another tasty coffee!

This month we're taking your tastebuds to Costa Rica, to the Don Joel micromill for a really delicious Red Honey Kenia. If you would like to find out a little more about what exactly "Red Honey" means, well there's a thing for that! Please head here to check out our guide to honey processing featuring featuring Francisco Mena of Finca Sumava de Lourdes and Exclusive Coffees.

This 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 as well as some Typica and this Kenia. 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.

That acidity I mentioned is definitely here in the cup - it’s got a kick of zingy lime. What makes this coffee really exceptional though is the sweetness and nuances that back it up. There’s a delicate, super clean sweetness which is like a cantaloup melon, making this coffee very refreshing and delicate. That sweetness deepens a little on the finish, with a mix of ripe plums and light brown sugar.

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
Varietal: Kenia

Cupping notes

Clean cup None/8
Sweetness None/8
Acidity None/8
Mouthfeel None/8
Flavour None/8
Aftertaste None/8
Balance None/8
Overall None/8
Correction +None
Total None

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