I woke up early Saturday morning and prepared myself for the long drive ahead of me—a three-hour road trip from Chicago, Illinois to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ashley, my fiancé, was going to be spending the day trying on wedding dresses in Holland, so I decided to crawl in GR for the day.
And what’s the best way to prepare yourself for a day like that? Why, a cup of coffee from The Wormhole‘s guest bar, of course!
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we are sipping the Costa Rica, Finca Genesis from Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco, California. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Today’s coffee hails from Oscar Mendez’s Finca Genesis in Costa Rica’s West Valley—the farm that took first prize in the Costa Rica Cup of Excellence in 2008. (Well—sort of; Finca Genesis was actually part of a blend of coffees that won that year).
This year Oscar and Olga Mendez—the owners of Finca Genesis—have constructed their own micro mill and are processing their own lots. Oscar explains that the name “Genesis” was intended to describe a new beginning for the family, to sell their coffee independently rather than to the mill for bulking.
His stunning property sits atop a high ridge in Lourdes de Naranjo. Seven of his fifteen hectares are planted with coffee; the remaining are undeveloped reserves or home to beautiful tropical flowers Olga sells in the local market. The couple’s sense of responsibility for the land they cultivate and the people they employ is clear.
Oscar’s coffee is not certified organic, but it is, in his words, “organic by conviction.” In other words, all of his practices are organic even though his farm is not USDA Organic-certified. He was quick to point out that we were in a “coffee garden, not a farm”—his farm is “edenic” for sure, with a great variety of shading and fruit trees, as well as flowers planted everywhere.
Oscar produces only “Honey Coffee,” also called “Miel,” a pulp natural style that involves leaving the sticky mucilage on the coffee bean after de-pulping. This sugary mucilage is left to dry in contact with the parchment surrounding the bean, a process that imparts a denser, syrupy body, lower acidity, and fruit forward flavors in the cup.
origin: West Valley, Lourdes de Naranjo, Costa Rica
farm: Finca Genesis
elevation: 1650-1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Cattura, Villalobos, Typica
process: honey process, patio dried
The aroma coming out of the package is intensely sweet. Massive scents of vanilla, honey, pralines, hazelnut, and fig dominate the air between the beans and my nose. As hot water is poured over it, even more sweetness comes out; like freshly baked bread and raisins.
This is the sort of coffee that I want to see replicated as a Yankee Candle—I would buy one for every room and let them burn all the time; I just want to smell this coffee forever and a day.
Oh that we could stop this review at our collective nose! Alas, we must carry on.
This is an immensely thick coffee—it has a medium body, but its mouthfeel is like a thick honey syrup or molasses that coats the entire palate. However, for as heavy as it is, it has a surprising amount of liveliness to it. As it cools off, the honey molasses gives way to juicy apricot, marionberry, blackberry, and a cherry-flavored lemonade acidity bubbles up. As it approaches room temperature, the lively fruitiness of the cup begins to dissipate; it remains sweet, but the flavor becomes more muted—think of fig, raisin, roasted nuts, and cinnamon bread.
Medium body; syrupy mouthfeel; cherry lemonade acidity; clean finish.
the bottom line:
Costa Rica, Finca Genesis, from Sightglass Coffee, was a really tremendous cup. It probably wasn’t the best choice of coffees to drink during 100-degree weather, with its medium body and thick, syrupy mouthfeel, but hey—nothing ventured, nothing gained.
This coffee isn’t very exciting—it certainly doesn’t grab your attention sip after sip; in fact, the more it cools, the duller it gets. That isn’t to say that it is a dull coffee, though—it is consistently sweet and enjoyable throughout, but it has a very muted sweetness. I will say that the Finca Genesis is actually a pretty exotic cup in that it has flavors that aren’t really present in other comparable fully-washed Costa Ricas.
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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.