Introduction by Chris Kornman
There’s so much about Carlos Fernández Morera’s coffee to discuss: farm and farmer history, processing methods, the prestige of a CoE top 5 finish… but really the start of this conversation has to be about its flavor. It’s at once immensely unique, immediately delicious, and irrepressibly nostalgic. Undeniable notes of gingerbread and cinnamon toast are its hallmarks, eliciting nearly unanimous descriptors. These top notes are accented by a sugary sweetness and a fruitiness clean enough to integrate seamlessly and bold enough stand out in a complex and thought-provoking sensory landscape. It’s an experience unlike anything I’ve had with a cup of coffee.
Carlos Fernández Morera is an experienced farmer. This is his 61st season growing coffee in San Rafael de San Ramón, where his family have lived since 1895. His deep connection to his trees and the soil he works is evident in the way he talks. “Coffee is a very grateful crop,” he says. “If you dedicate a little love, it responds very well… The earth is a living element, we must take care of it, pamper it, so that it transmits to the coffee plant all its force.” Sr. Morera’s plot of earth is called Finca el Cerro. Many of his 4 grown children and 9 grandchildren help on the estate, his eldest works directly with administration, his youngest works for the export brand, Café de Altura, and his oldest grandson is an agronomist.
The plot of the farm where this award-winning lot originates is called Diamante (“the Diamond”). It contains Caturra and Catuaí cultivars, though other varieties more resistant to rust have been planted in recent years in other areas of El Cerro. After pulping the coffee undergoes a sealed-tank anaerobic fermentation process. A selection of mucilage and a little water are added to the mix, and the slurry is closely monitored for pH, temperature, brix, and a host of other variables. Under a watchful eye, the high degree of environmental control this allows contributes immeasurably to the coffee’s flavor. Thereafter the lot is dried for 3 days on a patio before moving to raised beds for another eighteen days of drying.
Diamante placed 4th in this year’s Cup of Excellence competition. We’re proud to be offering identically harvested and processed coffee as the award-winning lot, and genuinely thrilled to share the story and flavor of Sr. Morera’s harvest.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
This green coffee is nicely screened to EP standards, medium-to-large in size. A very high density measurement accompanied by slightly elevated water activity numbers may cause some fun in the roaster. It’s likely the coffee will respond well to heat during Maillard reactions, but may be prone to stalling after first crack. Keep an eye on Jen’s roasting notes to make the most of this special selection.
The coffee’s genetics are the classic Central American selections Caturra and Catuaí. A little history: after heirloom Bourbon seeds crossed the ocean into the New World, the plant began to take on new characteristics. One mutation, eventually called Caturra, was first observed in Brazil and is noted for its short stature and resistance to wind and rain. Another spontaneously occurring cultivar called Mundo Novo (first appearing as a cross of Bourbon and Typica) was used as an ingredient (alongside Caturra) to create the cultivar known as Catuaí, also a dwarf tree that can produce higher yields when properly fertilized.
Roast Analysis by Jen Apodaca
A delicious coffee that was fun to roast and even more exciting on the cupping table, this was the first anaerobically processed coffee I’ve roasted. The flavor profile was very distinguishable with its syrupy honey texture and vibrant floral nature. My first roast was a roast that I use on all coffees to test the waters and see how the coffee reacts in the Probatino. My Maillard time was reduced significantly by the low first crack temperature. This coffee was certainly one of the lowest first crack temperatures that I have roasted on the Probatino.
Fearing that this coffee may taste underdeveloped, I decided to try and increase the Maillard time. My plan was to push through the drying stage and then reduce the heat after yellowing occurred. I was successful in lengthening the time, but I also lost momentum during the post crack development time which added roast character in the form of baking spices and cinnamon.
Roast one: Clove, poached pear, rose, spiced apple
Roast two: Gingerbread, honey, applesauce, cherry
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
My experience of this coffee was marked by surprise. In the Behmor, this roast did not stall at all after first crack (or so I thought), but rather took off like it had somewhere to be. I stopped short of yelling “where’s the fire,” though.
After a very hearty crack at 12:10, this coffee raced through 1:10 development time and landed at a 12.8% roast loss percentage. Despite this number being higher than some of my previous roasts, this coffee seemed a bit underdeveloped on the cupping table. Colortrack numbers were also on the lighter side, indicating that most of my loss was in moisture.
It may serve you well to roast this coffee slightly longer and darker. There were quite a few sugary spiced fruit notes in Jen’s roasts of this coffee, so developing this coffee properly should be a priority. Loud crack and high roast loss percentage numbers notwithstanding, I recommend keeping the heat on full manual until the end of the roast on this coffee.
Brew Analysis by Chris Kornman
With a coffee as fun as this anaerobically processed Costa Rica, we didn’t have to do much dialing in to get a nice tasting brew. Using Kalita, I tried a few takes on a recipe, with one brew taking a little longer than the others, but still producing similar results. Generally Jen’s first roast seemed to exhibit more precise fruit flavors like pineapple and black cherry with a nice vibrancy and a hint of rosehips and praline. Her second roast was fuller, rife with baking spice – especially ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar – but still accompanied by nice fruit flavors like peach, golden raisin, and poached pear.
This coffee may be available in full size bags as well. Contact Us to find out more.