The Community Coffee program with Coopetarrazu has made a real impact on the communities that deliver cherry to this mill. This program has allowed buyers to separate out lots from specific communities that score over 86 points and pay a quality premium that the individual communities get to receive and decide as a group how the money will be used to improve their coffee production and their livelihood.
Those premiums have been used to build roads, large water tanks to store fresh water for the community, building roofs for the children’s schools, and many other projects that have had a direct impact on these communities. This program has motivated these producers to keep upping their quality.
Some of the best individual producers in Costa Rica used to deliver their cherry to cooperatives, and in an effort to segregate their own production and quality, opened their own operation. But there are still many producers of that caliber who still deliver cherry to cooperatives. This is where Coopetarrazu comes in.
Microlots in cooperatives can be controversial, but Coopetarrazu has made a commitment that they want to improve the lives of their members and offer them the opportunity of gaining higher quality premiums for their best coffees. This is why Coopetarrazu developed the Community Coffees project: in which cherry is collected from the peak of the harvest from high-altitude communities and has traceability to the community or micro-region, as opposed to a Generic SHB Tarrazu.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Costa Rica Carrizal, from PERC Coffee in Savannah, Georgia, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: San Isidro de Leon Cortes, Costa Rica
farm: Carrizal // El Rosario // Teresita
producer: smallholder farmers
elevation: 1650 – 1750 meters above sea level
cultivars: Caturra, Catuai
process: fully washed, patio dried
grind: slightly fine (19, Preciso)
coffee: 18 g
water: 280 mL
pour: slow pour, 10 second stir, slow press
The aroma of the Costa Rica Carrizal is a bouquet of flora and tea leaves, with sugary confections and subtle fruits. Lavender, rose hips, cherry blossom, honeysuckle, and hibiscus waft out of the cup, giving way to scents of red grapes, dried apple, sugarcane, and chocolate.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, a supple, syrupy coffee lazily oozes onto my palate, slowly streaming down the center of the tongue then rolling off the sides of it. Sweet notes of honey and graham cracker couple with Dutch chocolate before a flood of spiced apple cider and cranberry juice rushes over it. There’s a spiciness to this coffee, too, with faint hints of cedar, cinnamon, and cherry liqueur.
As it cools, the coffee becomes much brighter, livelier, juicier, and a little tart. First of all, there’s this really zesty lemon rind acidity that takes over the second half of the cup; but there are also some sweeter elements of Rainier cherries, raspberries, cranberry, grape jelly, and honeycrisp apple, while roasted almonds make for a slightly dry finish.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; slightly dry finish.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
In early 2014, PERC Coffee reached out to me to do some reviews and, I’ll be honest with you—I didn’t know who PERC Coffee was. Fast forward several months later, PERC Coffee has become not only one of my favorite roasting companies in the country, but a favorite of the entire industry and certainly the blogging community, garnering rave reviews from my friends at blogging compatriots, Coffee Compass, Abandon Coffee, Purista, and the Coffee Adventures. They were even featured in one of July’s Craft Coffee boxes!
With their Costa Rica Carrizal, PERC Coffee continues to prove that they’re the best coffee roasting company in Georgia. Well—they’re the best Georgian roaster I’ve ever tasted, anyway.
They also continued to prove, with this coffee, that, even though Central America is going through really, really, really hard environmental (and sociopolitical) times, Costa Rica is consistently putting out some of the best coffees of the most recent harvest anywhere in the world. I mean, yeah, Ethiopia’s been killing it over the past year and a half, Kenya is having an amazing 2014, Rwanda’s put out some really stellar lots… But every Costa Rican coffee I’ve had over the past two months have been fantastic.
The Carrizal is classically Costa Rican, but it represents the very best of that classic profile. Dynamite coffee.
Did you like this? Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome here at the Table! Pull up a chair and speak your mind by entering a comment below. Also remember to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!
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.