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New Coffees August 2019

New Coffees August 2019

by Tom Wilkinson

1.Colombia Finca Esperanza

Washed process / 100% Pink Bourbon arabica / 1600m

A superb 100% pink bourbon from Luis Herney Lelazco at Finca Esperanza in Huila. Though only 27, Luis has worked all his life on his father’s farm and since taking over is steering the output toward superb speciality coffee.

This unusual varietal offers typical Bourbon sweetness with a sparkling and vibrant pink grapefruit, mandarin and redcurrant acidity. Layers of caramelized sugar and nougat balance the zesty, bright citrus and berry notes to deliver a super-juicy and complex take on classic Colombian drinkability. I prefer this coffee long as a filter or French Press but pulled short as an espresso it works well for small milk drinks where the sweet almond character really comes through.

Tasting notes – Grapefruit, redcurrant, candyfloss, nougat

Suitable for – All brewing methods


2.Kenya Mwiria AA Lot 2

Washed process / SL28, SL34 and Batain Arabica / 2000m

Though not the blackcurrant fruit bomb we (and almost everyone else in the coffee world) were looking for, this coffee shone on the cupping table for its structure, body and balance. There is a hint of berry on the nose but mainly we get heavy sweet molasses, shortbread and a candied citrus kick reminiscent of lemon peel. The body is full and buttery and there is a really nice lemon sherbert acidity that is well matched by syrupy palm sugar sweetness. Overall I’d say that this was a great example of a coffee where high levels of acidity are properly balanced with natural sweetness and drinking it reminds me of why I love the tart/sweet combo of lemon meringue pie so much!

Tasting notes – Lemon curd, shortbread, molasses, full-bodied

Suitable for – Filter, French press, Aeropress


3.Costa Rica La Chumeca Micromill

Natural process / Catuai arabica / 1700m

The first of two fruity Costa Rican coffees on offer this month, this naturally processed example from La Chumeca is ironically less fruit-forward than its honey-processed partner but no less delicious for it. To ensure their naturals always comprise only the best and ripest cherries, farm owner Martin Urena has rigged up two large tanks into which they are “float” sorted, diverting damaged or defective beans through gravity and water flow. They are then processed using anaerobic fermentation in a sealed distillery tank before being transferred to drying beds to become full naturals.

Upon grinding I was met with super-sweet and appealing aromas of stewed apple, toasted nuts and just a hint of cinnamon which is not uncommon in anaerobically fermented coffees. In the cup I really enjoyed how soft and gentle the acidity was, especially compared to some of the other coffees on this list. Apple seemed to me to be the dominant fruit note but there were also hints of honeydew melon, fig and freshly baked bread underpinned by a really prominent nuttiness that you’d perhaps normally associate with Brazillian coffee. If you like your coffees sweet, soft yet complex then this is the one for you.

Tasting notes - Red apple, cashew, malt loaf, honeysuckle

Suitable for – Filter, French Press, Aeropress


4.Costa Rica Finca Calle San Juan, Las Lajas Micromill

Black Honey process / Caturra, Catuai and Villa Sarchi arabicas / 1450m

Oscar and Francisca Chacon were early adopters of honey processing in Costa Rica and their micro-mill is one of the only organic certified mills in the area. Costa Rica was pioneering in developing the process that we know now as honey processing, and its best examples are always worth seeking out. In this process the majority of fruit pulp is mechanically separated from the seeds or beans before they are left to dry with the sticky residue or “honey” still attached. The resulting coffee is graded by colour from “yellow” through to “red” and “black” depending on how much of the “honey” is left on before drying. Yellow honey coffees lean toward washed coffees in profile with black honeys sharing the heavy fruit character of natural processing.

This example is typical therefore in that it is absolutely bursting with jammy, bright, red berry and cherry flavours. Natural fermentation occurring during processing drives an extra layer of boozy, funky balsamic tartness much like you might find in sour Belgian beers such as geuzes, lambics or Flanders Red ales such as Duchesse de Bourgogne. This is an exceptionally juicy and fun coffee that reveals additional layers of flavour with each fresh brew and is one I’d strongly recommend to anyone who is curious about how processing can drive complexity or indeed for any fans of sour beers!

Tasting notes – Sour cherry, raspberry, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon

Suitable for - Filter, French Press, Aeropress


5.Honduras Selin Racinos * Exclusive Dark Woods Nano-lot*

Yellow Honey process / 100% Maragogype arabica / 1500m

This is our direct relationship Honduras coffee which is now in it’s fourth year of partnership. Selin has a fantastic farm in the Ocotepeque region with excellent patio and coffee processing facilities. We buy classic chocolatey and nutty washed coffees from him for our espresso blends and also exclusive “pick of the harvest” lots like this sweet and syrupy Maragogype for our single estate range.

An unusual variety that is prized for the size of its beans as well as good cup quality, Maragogype is often challenging to roast but really rewarding when you get it right. This mid-altitude coffee delivers moderate acidity reminiscent of soft bramble fruit and a wonderfully creamy and full body. Toffee and creamy milk chocolate notes contribute bags of sweetness and hint of “green” herbal dryness cuts through nicely on the finish. Works brilliantly as a single estate espresso and pairs extremely well with milk.

Tasting notes – Bramble fruit, elderberry, toffee, milk chocolate

Suitable for – All brewing methods

6.India Kalledevarapura Estate

Yellow Honey Process / 100% SL9 arabica / 1250m

Produced by Dm Shankur and DM Purnesh at the Kalledevarapura estate in Chikmagalur, this is the annual and exclusive micro-lot of their special honey processed SL 9 arabica produced especially for Dark Woods. Their clean and sweet washed coffees are a mainstay of the award winning Under Milk Wood blend and this coffee is in many ways reminiscent of that blend. The honey process lends sweetness and a hint of moderate fruity acidity to an extremely balanced and easy-drinking single estate coffee. In the cup expect crowd-pleasing notes of fudge, peanut butter and a soft, full body. This coffee offers excellent contrast to some of the more adventurous and fruity coffees elsewhere on this list.

Tasting Notes – peanut butter/fudge/palm sugar/soft

Suitable for – Filter, French Press, Aeropress

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