||Costa Rica Puente Tarrazú Finca El Potrero White Honey Geisha 2020
This coffee comes from the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica, which is a really rather famous region because of its coffee-growing - as well as being a favourite scenic location among Costa Ricans. A little cooler and wetter than the Western Valley, Tarrazu is steep and lush, with farms and tiny villages dotted among the rolling hills around the small towns of San Marcos, Santa Maria de Dota and Leon Cortes (which the mill is near to).
The Puente Tarrazu mill is quite large by Costa Rican standards and processes coffee from both their own farms and from some of their neighbours. That said, it’s still pretty small compared to a large mill n another Central American country!
Finca El Potrero is owned by Don Rudolpho Riviera - one of the Puente Tarrazu co-owners. It's around 22 hectares in size, with 20 of those involved in coffee production. They're around 1600 meters above sea level, but let me tell you that’s very approximate - getting around the farm is hard work as it’s very steep! The plants here are fairly well established - in fact, these Geisha plants are 10 years old now. That’s good news at the moment as you don’t get much crop (if any) for the first three years and Geisha has a reputation of taking a couple of years more for the amazing floral and citrus qualities to really start coming through. That puts Rudolpho’s plants in their peak right now, and we think you’ll agree this comes through in the cup.
On this farm, the Geisha plants have been allowed to grow tall and flexible on the steep hillside, forming a dense forest you have to weave your way through, pulling the branches down to pick the cherries when they’re ripe. This lets the coffee plants create their own shade, but there are also lots of citrus plants including lemons, limes & limon mandarina mixed in as well as lots of other plants. Keeping a diverse range of plants on the farm helps give back nutrients to the soil and retain water - very important on these steep slopes which are so difficult to access.
The farm has Caturra, Bourbon (which we also buy) and this - the Geisha. It’s a varietal which shot to fame around 2010 with it’s massive floral and citrus flavours but was hiding for years before that in the backwaters of Costa Rica. Rather gangly and not particularly robust as coffee plants grow, it’s not an easy candidate to farm, but works well here.
From the farm, ripe cherries are driven 15 minutes or so over to the mill. Puente Tarrazu is unusual in continuing to process using a wide variety of methods - everything from Fully Washed through to Natural is done at the mill, but it’s up to the expert judgement of Rudolpho and his team to chose which method suits each lot and how to manage that method to get the absolute best results out. For this Geisha, he’s opted for a White Honey. This removed nearly all of the mucilage from the fruit before the bean is left out o dry. That tiny amount of fruit drys in the sun and adds a delicate sweetness and body to the coffee, but unlike red and black honeys (which have more fruit left), the flavour of white honey processing stays very close to a washed coffee - showcasing delicate, floral and bright flavours.
One dominant flavour jumps out kicking and screaming - Earl Grey tea. Black tea maltiness is balanced by a fresh slice of lemon and a wonderful structure and balance that allows these big flavours to play together without one overwhelming the rest. Alongside those big punches of flavour is a delicate floral which reminds me of elderflower.
Country: Costa Rica
Micro region: Santa Cruz de León Cortés
Mill: Puente Tarrazú
Farm: Finca El Potrero
Producer: Rodolfo Rivera
Farm size: 22 hectares
Coffee growing area: 20 hectares
Altitude: 1,600 m.a.s.l.
Processing system: White Honey
Black tea, lemon, elderflower
Clean cup: (1–8): 7
Sweetness: (1–8): 7
Acidity: (1–8): 7
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 8
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6.5
Balance: (1–8): 7
Overall: (1–8): 7
Correction: (+36): +36
Total: (max. 100): 92
Medium - keep the pace steady, take it through first crack and slow it down a little, but drop it well before you reach the end of the gap.
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