INTRODUCTION BY CHRIS KORNMAN
36365 – Costa Rica La Rosa SHB EP La Rosa coffee is sourced from Cooperativa de Productores de Café y Servicios Múltiples de Naranjo R.L. (CooproNaranjo). The cooperative is located in the the county of Naranjo within the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica, commonly known as the West Valley. Founded in 1966 under the guidance of agronomist Claudio Rodríguez Matamoros, CooproNaranjo now boasts over 2,500 members and 150 full time employees during the harvest season.
The cooperative offers a wide range of services for its members. A general agricultural supply store sells a variety of products for coffee production as well as for vegetables alongside hardware and construction supplies. A centralized coffee mill and administrative offices are augmented by a recreation center, cafeteria, coffee shop, and a space set aside for vermicompost. CooproNaranjo strives to have a social impact in the community through schools supply programs, and cooperative members volunteer at both the fire station and at a program for disabled people called Talita Cumi.
La Rosa itself is a premium designation from CooproNaranjo. The coffee comes from a select group of producers including Henry Méndez Arce, Carlos Haug, Alcides Camacho, Fernando París, Xenia Sanchez, Guillermo Chacón, and Juan José Araya, each with farms that average 20 acres in size. The lot we’ve selected for analysis stood out on the initial cupping table with the sweetness of honey and brown sugar, an apple-like acidity, and flavors ranging from plum and cherry to red wine and chocolate.
GREEN ANALYSIS & SCREEN SIZE BY CHRIS KORNMAN
36365 – Costa Rica La Rosa SHB EP is a nicely graded green coffee – clean and fresh smelling. Its merits include stable moisture and water activity readings, a moderately higher than average density, and 94% bean size above screen 15. The somewhat well-distributed range of coffee above screen 15 is fairly typical for this sort of preparation, and should cause relatively few inconsistencies in the cup. In many cases, Costa Rican wet mills are required by law to accept up to ten percent underripes (as a protection for small farmers against rejections). Though density tables at the dry mill will usually catch these, you may find a rare quaker in an otherwise very consistently polished coffee.
ROAST ANALYSIS BY JEN APODACA
Two roasts of the 36365 – Costa Rica La Rpsa SHB EP , one with higher initial energy, but still not enough to move quickly through first crack.
Is the high density of this our 36365 – Costa Rica La Rosa SHB EP the reason why both roasts PR-0152 and PR-0153 flatline directly after first crack? There could be a few reasons why we see this occur on the graph. One is that the temperature reading is correct and the roasting does indeed stall after first crack. Another theory is related to the way that green coffee releases moisture in the drum. Perhaps there really is no flatline, but instead we are seeing an increase in humidity in the drum interfere with the probe reading. Most Roasters experience a small dip in the temperature reading during this time while the coffee is releasing steam. In this case, that dip was much longer than what I normally experience with this roaster. While it will be interesting to run more tests to see if there is a correlation between green density, humidity in the drum, and how they affect temperature readings with the probe, more research is needed before we can presuppose what influence this may have. What we can determine is that in both roasts, a flatline occurred and there was a perceived impact on the flavor of the coffee on the cupping table. We also know that several dense coffees have crossed our path without flatlining at first crack.
Often when there is a flatline in a roast curve the first conclusion is that there is insufficient energy and the roast has stalled. A roast stalled for a long period of time can result in what we call baked flavors. A baked flavor in roasted coffee will have a muted acidity and a drying mouthfeel. Both roasts displayed the same fruit acidity like cherry, apple and plum but the finish was bready, dry and flat. When I first cupped this coffee on the arrival table there was a distinct floral note in the acidity which may have been too volatile to survive in the cup after the flatline in the curve. I would choose two or three different times to apply more heat and taste my results. Depending on your roasting machine, this coffee may need a very hot drum and may do better if it is the last coffee you roast in your schedule for the day. Whatever changes you make, it is important to accurately record your changes, cup your results, and make sure that your preferred curve is repeatable.
BREW ANALYSIS BY EVAN GILMAN
Pulling the tart and sweet notes from this coffee while maintaining a balance of sweetness was my task with 36365 – Costa Rica La Rosa SHB EP . This lot displayed a good amount of plummy acids, comparing favorably to a Santa Rosa plum with its tart skin and incredible jammy quality.
Despite any travails that may have happened before this coffee made its way into my hands, both roasts performed as expected during brewing. With both roasts, I was able to achieve brews extracted within the constraints of SCAA recommended brew parameters without a hitch. To see my parameters and the results, take a look at the table below.
BREWING EXTRACTION DATA
In the next test our two roasts, PR-148 and PR-149, were brewed side by side using two Chemex brewers. In this case, both coffees were sifted and preferences between the two brews were split right down the middle: Five people chose PR-148, and five chose PR-149. As you can see in the chart below, the brew of PR-148 has slightly more dissolved solids, whereas PR-149 has slightly less. Curiously, PR-148 was the more soluble roast, though its roast parameters would suggest that PR-149 would have higher solubility due to its longer development time.
As you can see, PR-153 was very slightly more soluble – my brew finished seven seconds earlier, and my extraction percentage was .14% higher. Certainly nothing to write home about, but notable nonetheless. This may have been a result of the slightly higher finishing temperature of PR-153.
Using standard SCAA ratios for espresso preparation, PR-152 was the more palatable choice. While both roasts maintained a good amount of acidity (perhaps too much for espresso, even), PR-152 displayed clear acids and a tart zing that continued well into the finish. Developed further, I could assume that these coffees would display even more balance between sugary and acidic flavor attributes.
That’s beside the point, however! My task was to make these coffees as balanced as possible as they stood. Drip coffee maintained the acids, but tended to have less body. Straight espresso was very puckery, and not for the faint of heart (though espressi like this tend to be a current trend).
Where I found the true sweet spot was with simple dilution – adding a bit of water to PR-152 and letting it cool opened up a new dimension of flavor that was altogether more enjoyable. Bright plum and a sneaky melon flavor had me coming back for more sips.