My good friend and coffee blogging brother in arms, Randy Levine (aka, Snob Coffery), absolutely loves California-based Entimo’s Coffee Roasters. So, needless to say, they’ve been on the Table’s radar for a while.
I was incredibly happy, then, I don’t think I need to tell you, when the fine folks at Entimo’s emailed me—told me that they wanted to send me the coffee that Randy has been raving about for the past few weeks.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping a cup of Helsar de Zarcero Costa Rica, from Entimo’s Coffee Roasters, based in Citrus Heights, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Manuel Arce, who is known as “Macho Acre”, grew this micro-lot from his farm in the West Valley area of Zarcero, close to Naranjo town. It’s 100% caturra cultivar that is as sexy as Macho himself.
After harvest, the cherries are brought to the Helsar de Zarcero Mill. There, they mill coffee from their own farm (Organic Santa Lucia) as well as a set of exclusive high-quality producers from Lourdes de Naranjo and Llano Bonito de Naranjo micro-region (including the Macho Arce Farm).
Costa Rica is a role model when it comes to high-end specialty microlots and coffee. Farmers live within higher standards than their counterparts at other origins. About ten years ago many farmers started building their own micro mills in order to keep their coffee separate from commercial coffee, get access to better prices, and sell a superior product.
The quality we see out of Costa Rica is very consistent and can be replicated on a bigger scale. This, and the flare of Costa Rica as an easy tourist destination has made the demand for these coffees rise year after year as they are sought out by high quality roasters.
Costa Rican farmers are highly technified; this is a big advantage they have and enables them to produce better coffee. They are already experimenting with different varieties such as SL-28, Geisha, Caturra, Typica, to name a few. Most farms have a high tree density and receive adequate fertilization year round giving producers higher yields; and their coffee trees are renewed constantly as well.
origin: Llano Bonito de Zarcero, West Valley, Costa Rica
farm: Santa Elena Estate
elevation: 1650 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of this cup is wonderfully sweet; scents of honey, graham cracker, raw cocoa, and peach tea-like aromatics come wafting out of the cup, inducing a nearly transcendental experience.
The flavor is… Well, it’s just dynamite. It starts warm and toasty with notes of roasted almonds, cane sugar sweetness that rises up and smacks the taste buds right in the center of each cup, eac sip finishing off with a powdering of raw cocoa nibs.
As the cup cools off the cane sugar intensifies and the raw cocoa melts into a creamy milk chocolate base with only pleasant hints of caramel and nougat; graham crackers and honey. Furthermore, juicy fruit notes come to the forefront of the cup, and now I’m getting big notes of plums, peaches, apples, a twist of lemon zestiness, and a mellow nectarine acidity. The aftertase is only slight and short, but it provides a wonderfully dark Dutch chocolate.
Medium body; creamy body; nectarine acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Much like my friend, Sir Randy Levine of New Jersey, I really became quite enamored with the Helsar de Zarcero Costa Rica. This coffee, from Entimo’s Coffee Roasters in Citrus Heights, California, provides a wonderfully dynamic—though I wouldn’t say “complex”—cup.
It provides plenty of wow moments—moments that make you sit back in your seat and simply melt in comfort.
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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.