Costa Rica Finca San Luis

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It’s the second week of March, and it’s the third MistoBox Week of 2013 here at the Table. And, thus far, this particular Box has yet to disappoint.

No surprise there.

For today’s review, MistoBox is getting back to their own roots, offering up a coffee from their hometown of Phoenix.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Costa Rica Finca San Luis, from Cartel Coffee in Phoenix, Arizona. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Finca San Luis is a five hectare farm on the Cafetalera Zamorana estate. Cartel Coffee has been buying coffee from the Zamora family estate (made up of some ten farms) for about three years now, as this is only the third year that the family has produced a single farm coffee. The fact that Cartel shared this very exclusive specialty coffee with MistoBox is a real privilege.

The Zamora family has been growing coffee at the Cafatalera Zamorana estate for over 100 years and four generations. Jorge Zamora is now in charge of the family business, which he runs with the help of his five sons.

Finca San Luis lies at the foot of Costa Rica’s central mountain range. The fertile, volcanic soils and mild mountain climate provide ideal conditions for growing specialty coffee. This small farm produces approximately 50 bags per crop, 30 of which are considered truly “specialty” coffee.

After it has been picked, the coffee is taken to the estate’s processing facility in San Isidro, Alajuela. Here the cherries are pulped, washed, and dried in the sun on patios. The solid coffee pulp left over at the end of the process is recycled and used as organic fertilizer on the estate, while the waste water is filtered naturally in purification lagoons.

the basics:

origin: Alajuela, Costa Rica
farm: Finca San Luis
elevation: 1350 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra
process: fully washed, patio dried
certifications: standard

the coffee:

Warm and inviting hardly describe the aroma of the Costa Rica Finca San Luis. I can’t decide if it reminds me more of an old-fashioned candy store or my grandparents’ kitchen. Candied butterscotch and salted caramel dominate the airspace between the cup and the nose, pushed up on a bed of almonds and honeysuckle.

These notes follow into the first few sips of the coffee immediately post-brew. All of them, as a matter of fact. Each sip lays down a thick bed of caramel and toffee coating on the palate while a thin line of cool, creamy butterscotch streams directly down the middle of the tongue. Toasted almonds show up in the finish, while dry, dusty cinnamon tickles the tip of the tongue.

As it cools off, a mild grapefruit acidity starts to make an appearance, but the cup gets a little lighter, more aromatic, a bit drier, but certainly not any less sweet. White sugar shows up on the sides of the tongue while chamomile tea-like aromatics come fluttering in over the top.

At room temperature, this coffee begins boasting a lot of lightly silky, juicy, and semi-tart fruits. Honeycrisp apple and pear, juicy blood orange, zesty lemon, white grape, and cherry.

Light body; silky mouthfeel; grapefruit acidity; clean finish.

the bottom line:

This, the Costa Rica Finca San Luis from Cartel Coffee, is a simple, straightforward cup of coffee. “Simple” and “straightforward”, however, definitely doesn’t mean that it’s not flavorful and tasty—because it’s that and then some.

This is a very clean cup with crystalline clarity; which is great, because the flavors found herein are incredible. This is a bright, zesty, sparkling, and tart coffee that dances all over the palate. Flavors of savory caramel and vanilla that lead into bittersweet grapefruit and green apple make the tongue tingle; this coffee delights the taste buds, leaves behind a clean, fresh feeling in the mouth sip after sip, and, grumps beware, it is smile-inducing.

This is the coffee that you want in your cup to start off the day.

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