We’re finishing off July MistoBox Week today, and what a week it’s been! And this particular week was made even more special by the fact that social media and illustration coffee celebrewty Ben Blake custom-curated July’s Box.
And up to this point, with choices like Coava, Case, and Entimos, Mr. Blake made some really fantastic choices. The fourth and final roaster whose product he selected for this Box comes from our mutual friends at Augie’s—a company that’s had some incredible representation at the Table already this year.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Costa Rica Cerro Paldo, from Augie’s Coffee Roasters in Redlands, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Just 45 minutes to the South of San Jose lies Cerro Paldo in the district of Aserri, Tarbaca, a micro-region of the popular coffee region of Tarrazu. Cerro Paldo is owned by Ronald Monge Valverde, the third generation of coffee producers in the family. His grandfather Adam Monge Castro bought 2 hectares of land more than 60 years ago and began their legacy. Ronald’s father, Juan Rafael Monge Picado inherited the farm and has passed it on to his son. Currently 10 people live on the farm and are devoted to producing high quality coffee.
The excellence required to process mature fruit has been the key to obtaining a high quality cup. Their sustainable production system uses vegetable covers and organic matter, instead of agrochemicals. The Monge Valverde family is a member of the Asociacion Agropecuaria de Productores de Acosta y Aserri. ASOPROAAA is a producer association established 3 years ago to work together with the objective of adding value to their products by establishing strict quality standards on coffee production and processing. The initial investment to build a mill was challenging and demanded a lot of hard work but all the efforts paid off when they won first place with Cerro Paldo at the 2007 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence.
origin: Aserri, Tarbaca, Tarrazu, Costa Rica
farm: Cerro Paldo
producer: Ronald Monge Valverde
elevation: 1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Catuai, Caturra
The aroma coming off the Costa Rica Cerro Paldo is unreal. There are some really intense floral aromatics happening—roses and hibiscus are just exploding out of the cup; actually, I’m going to say that those floral notes are coming out of a big bowl of mixed berries because there are plenty of those scents, too.
Diving into the first few sips and this is a really sweet, pungent, and concentrated coffee. A thick, full-bodied fruit-syrupy bed lays itself down, spreading out over the palate and completely enveloping the tongue. This coffee tastes of an assortment of chocolate covered berries (blueberry, raspberry, marionberry), maraschino cherry, and strawberry pancake syrup. There’s also a somewhat complex citrus acidity happening underneath the surface that really rounds out the bottom of the cup.
As it cools, the coffee doesn’t maintain that same level of intensity that it had up front. It starts to break down, both in terms of flavor and body: the flavors mellow out, and the syrupy mouthfeel dilutes, becoming more akin to fruit juice. However, sweet almonds start to appear, particularly in the finish of each sip.
Full body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
I haven’t had a natural coffee in a while, and this was a pretty good one to come back to. The Costa Rica Cerro Paldo, from Augie’s Coffee Roasters, is a unique natural because it’s so tight and structured—it’s not freewheelin’ like a lot of naturals tend to be; rather, this cup was compact and concentrated.
For a full-bodied coffee—particularly up front, when it had all that fruit syrupiness—this cup actually had a delicate, crisp overall profile, and I think that’s thanks to the citrus undertones that were always present, but never very prevalent; they provided just enough of a highlight to keep the coffee nice and tight. That acidity acted as a really nice bow on a beautifully-wrapped gift.
I really wish that it had maintained that level of “delicate intensity” throughout the entirety of the cup, though.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.