Costa Rica El Cedral
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Chris, one of the coffee geniuses at the recently founded Halfwit Coffee Roasters, here in Chicago, was so impressed by my review of their Ethopia Gelana Abaya, that he tracked me down at a barista throwdown/Halloween costume contest at The Wormhole to personally thank me with another couple of samples!Either that, or he was so impressed by my Walter White (a la Breaking Bad) costume that he wanted to reward me. Either that, or his heart was so heavy for Lindsay’s (Wormhole barista), Ashley’s (status: girlfriend), and my Gus Fring/Jesse Pinkman/Walter White unplanned Halloween costume combo not winning anything at all and sympathizing with me over the fact that I shaved my head for nothing, wanted to give me a consolation prize.

Either way, I couldn’t be happier with the bounty of Halfwit that I took home with me that night.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are cupping the Costa Rica El Cedral, from Halfwit Coffee Roasters. Feel free to pull up a chair.

Beneficio Don Mayo is owned and managed by Hector Bonilla and his son Pablo Bonilla.  It’s a medium-sized mill by Costa Rica standards.  They own farms and process their own coffee.  At the same time they buy cherry from their relatives in the surrounding areas.

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 a tourist and easy destination has made the demand for these coffees continue to rise year after year and 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.  Finally, their cherry selection is extremely good and perfect in some cases.

the basics:

origin: Tarrazu, Cedral de Leon Cortes, Costa Rica
farm: Finca El Cedral
elevation: 1800 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra
process: natural, patio dried
certifications: standard

the coffee:

The fragrance floating out of this cup is impeccable. It’s sweet and boom boom boomin with beautifully sweet fruit and floral aromatics. Scents of cherry, strawberry, orange blossoms, Tupelo honey, creamy vanilla, and rose hips.

The flavor comes deluging out of the cup right from the first sip immediately post brew. It is smooth, sweet, creamy, and buttery with a whole fruit basket of flavors that slip and slide and swirl all over my palate and red red red red red RED. Massively juicy notes of cherries, apricots, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and honey crisp apples, each sip finishing off with just a touch of salted cashews.

As it starts to cool off, the flavors don’t diminish even a little bit. If anything, the coffee gets even more delicious and more vibrant. It’s incredibly lively and even more flavors come out to play, like caramel and vanilla. Meanwhile, a soft, mellow clementine acididty rounds out the cup, making it finish like an orange dreamsicle.

Medium body; buttery mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.

the bottom line:

I really hope that Halfwit Coffee Roasters sets themselves apart as the champions of naturally processed coffees. The first two offerings I’ve had from them—the Ethiopia Gelana Abaya and this, the Costa Rica El Cedral—both happened to be naturals and they both happened to be awes-mazing.

Granted, though, I am a massive fan of naturals.

I really enjoyed the Costa Rica El Cedral—massively flavorful and even more massively enjoyable. I thought that maybe I’d have a difficult time not drinking this coffee from a glass darkly, but, as it turned out, there was nothing to worry about. This offering was every bit as great as the one before it. Which can only mean one thing: the bar has most certainly raised for the next two…

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