Finca El Cabuyal is the name of a 3-hectare plot of land owned by the Navarro family: Manuel Carranza Navarro and his wife Maria de los Angeles Molina Navarro. It was a wedding gift from Maria’s father about ten years ago, in the La Ortiga de Copalchi region of Cartago, a province just southeast of Costa Rica’s capital of San José.
The farm has banana trees and some other fruits mostly as shade and for incidental consumption, but its real production is entirely coffee. The farm has a micromill onsite, allowing the family to manage the coffee through pulping, fermenting, washing, and drying on raised beds, adding both value and quality.
On the cupping table we were enamored with its balance; soft stone fruits complimented a sweet milk chocolate backbone, making it an effusively clean, pleasurable, and classic Costa Rican offering.
This is a pretty ideal looking green coffee by all the numbers: adequately dried with a moderate water activity, 67% of the lot falls into the 18 and 17 screens, a little larger than average but pretty tightly distributed for a Central American coffee. The density is remarkably high, as well, much like we see from East African washed coffees, and it seems likely a clever roast could bring out quite a bit of nuance in this coffee that’s sure to taste as nice tomorrow as it will in a couple of months.
In addition to great looking physical specs, the coffee’s genetics are a tried and true selection of Caturra and Catuaí. After heirloom Bourbon seeds crossed the ocean to the New World, the Arabica heirloom plant began to take on new characteristics, and a mutation eventually called Caturra was first observed in Brazil, noted for its short stature and resistance to wind and rain. Another spontaneously occurring cultivar called Mundo Novo first appeared as a cross of Bourbon and Typica and was used as an ingredient for Catuaí, when humans got involved and crossed Mundo Novo with Caturra to create another dwarf tree with higher yield when properly fertilized.
A dense coffee with a lot of sugar browning potential because of the higher water activity. Both roasts were extremely similar with a lot of plum and sweet vanillas and chocolates. Roast one was roasted according to my normal profile with little guidance through the heat application process. This allows me to observe the coffee in the drum and see how it reacts. I decided to decrease the drying stage time and simultaneously, increase the post crack development time of the second roast to see how it would impact the flavor of the coffee. I did this by using a higher charge temperature and ramping up the heat slightly more than roast one. The result was a very sweet and dense coffee like a pecan pie while roast one had slightly more citrus fruit qualities. Both roasts are nearly identical in total roast time, maillard time, and end temperature. The difference is the length of time during the post crack development.
Roast one: vanilla, raisin, cherry, red apple, honey, almond
Roast two: cherry, pear, maple syrup, chocolate brownie, roasted cashew
On the surface this is a simple and sweet coffee, but there is some nuance to be pulled out from this Costa Rican offering. We found Jen’s first roast to be slightly more pleasing in the cup, and all things considered, it was just a bit more soluble. The second roast tended to drain through the filter more slowly, and resulted in a lower TDS count.
Take your time finding the sweet spot with this coffee, the deliciousness is in the details!