Costa Rica Puente Tarrazú Finca El Potrero White Honey Bourbon
Apricot, peach, speculoos, orange
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Finca El Potrero is around 22 hectares in size (20 are involved in growing coffee), and it sits at 1,600 metres above sea level in the Tarrazú region of Costa Rica. The region is famous for coffee production, and for good reason!
The mill itself is named Puente Tarrazú, and it's located in Santa Cruz de León Cortés. It produces roughly 800 bags per year, so it's a fairly small-scale operation in the grand scheme of coffee things.
We have worked with Rodolfo Rivera for a number years now, and we've had five different variations of his coffees in the past. Roll on another year and another five lots of stand-out deliciousness! When we first started working together, I asked if it'd be possible for the mill to apply three different honey processes to the same coffee (I dreamed of a white, a red, and a black honey), but they told me they could do better than that. We ended up with those three plus a washed version and a black honey Geisha!
Fast forward to this year and we have five different coffees from Finca El Potrero, with a little twist on the variations we've had in the past. For 2020 we have a whole heap of honeys! White, yellow and red honeyed Bourbons, plus a natural Bourbon to complete the set.
So what's all this about honeying, I hear you ask? Well, that's something super interesting and we get asked about it pretty often, so I decided I should make a video with someone who really knows his stuff! Click through for the tasty info...
If you prefer to read rather than listen, or you're at work and don't want the boss to know you're reading about coffee processing, here are the details...
When the coffee cherry is picked, you either leave the outer fruit on (natural processing) or remove it shortly after picking. When you remove the seed from the fruit (the coffee bean as we know it), there's a sticky mucilage left behind that's usually removed using fermentation for washed processing. This requires a decent amount of water and can pollute local rivers and streams (don't worry, they're processing the water at the mill in this case). Additionally, there is a problematic lack of water in Costa Rica. The pulped natural and honey process is a perfect solution because there is a kind of de-pulper that can remove this mucilage mechanically, and it can be set to different degrees.
It started off as three types, but the range expanded over time. In the coffee world there is white honey (removes the most), gold honey, yellow honey, red honey, and black honey. By the time you're at black honey, you're really not all that far from a natural process; it means you get to enjoy some similar flavours but with a honey processing edge to make it take a slight turn off the natural course.
This is for those with a sweet tooth!!! You get the intense sweetness of apricot and peach, with a silky body that's just super easy to drink mug after mug of. On the finish there's a little speculoos (or a Lotus biscuit if you prefer), before swinging back to fruit to leave an aftertaste of orange.