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The importer only calls us when they get in really special coffees, so I was confused when she called and said she was sending us a sample of a honey processed Costa Rican that we were going to like. I'm thinking, "it's out of season, overpriced...she knows better than to waste her time..." But we gave it a chance, and wow. Best honey processed Costa Rican I've ever had in stock and not overpriced by any means.
The beans are all from one farm (Turrabares), part of the Aprocetu co-op in the Naranjo region. They "honey processed" this lot of coffee by hand which means the "honey" (the fruit pulp) was left on the coffeebean in order to give it extra flavor and sweetness. Only 15 bags were produced like this, and it is 2014 crop, imported in January 2015.
This coffee has a lot of complexity for a honey processed bean. The undertones of citrus (sweet grapefruit?), cocoa powder, and cherry make the coffee dance and much more noticeable than one would expect. It has a soft mouthfeel, great body, and a clean finish. The coffee overall is smooth and sweet, easy to drink and really jumps off the table when it's next to any other coffee you're comparing it against.
By definition, a honey coffee contains more of the sugars of the coffee fruit, so it is a delicate bean that is susceptible to scorching. This particular one is tougher than I expected and not as finicky as some of the previous honey coffees we've stocked, but still, if you take it to a fast dark roast, you'll scorch it. Try to nudge the heat up gently, evenly, give it plenty of time to get through the 1st cracks, maybe wait 30 seconds more, let it out. City roast is a sweet spot for this bean, but you can go a little darker if its personal preference. If you have a way to control the exhaust fan on your roaster, try letting the smoke mingle with the beans more to give it another layer of flavor.