This coffee comes from a farm that's actually two farms, but the two farms exist as one farm. They do produce coffee independently, though. Exciting, huh?
Overall the farm is called Finca Sumava de Lourdes, and it's located in Lourdes de Naranjo in the western valley of Costa Rica at an altitude between 1,670 and 1,790 metres above sea level.
The farm is made up of two farms called Finca Monte Llano Bonito, which has nine plots of land, and Finca Monte Lourdes, which has six plots of land. This coffee comes from Finca Monte Llano Bonito. Keeping up? Here's a picture that might help ...
This is a really unusual coffee. It started out as an experiment by the Sumava team 3 years ago where they first started using lactic fermentation at the farm, and we're very proud to be able to now share it with you for a third year.
So how did the lactic experiment work? Well, to start with we need to talk about the Costa Rican honey process. This is now the most common way of processing coffee cherries in Costa Rica. It involves removing the skin and some of the fruit before the beans (and the remaining mucilage or fruit pulp) are left to dry in the sun. During the drying, fermentation by yeast and bacteria (particularly lactic acid bacteria – 'LAB') break down the remaining pulp.
This has achieved massive success in Costa Rica over the last ten years or so, and it's being used in other countries too. However, in the last few years, a new processing method has been trialled around the world: anaerobic fermentation. This has many variations, but it involves keeping the depulped fruit in a container filled with water, which keeps most of the oxygen out. Yeast can ferment either aerobically (i.e. with oxygen – this increases the number of yeast cells) or anaerobically (i.e. without oxygen – this makes alcohol).
Keeping oxygen out of the fermentation stops the yeast multiplying, but doesn't slow down the LAB. The idea of anaerobic processing is that the LAB will play a bigger part than normal and will change the flavour of the beans. There's a lot of variations (and debate!) on this, but beans processed this way are often described as slightly cinnamon-like or spicy.
Now we get to the experiment! Sumava already used anaerobic processing (for example in the H3 lot we buy from the farm), but this lactic experiment is the next step. In an effort to give the beans more time without oxygen, the whole cherries are picked, washed, and put in a plastic box with the lid closed. They're left there on their own for four days, during which they begin to squish down (not a technical term!) and release their juices. After four days, the fruit is taken out and depulped, before being returned to the box along with the cherry juices.
From there, we go back to the same kind of anaerobic fermentation as before, but these beans have had that extra rest in the whole cherries and they're soaking in fruit juices rather than water. After a day in the juices, they're rinsed and put into water to continue the fermentation.
The lot we have here has spent three days in anaerobic fermentation, and four days in the whole cherries. In many ways, this makes it something of a cross between a Natural and an anaerobic Honey process, and the flavour fits that.
This one is a big mug full of orange juice! It's got the flavour, but also that juicy texture. There's some apricot mixed in too, with a yoghurt edge to it. Finishing it off is a little lime on the finish.
Roast Information Light - towards the end of first or just into the gap, but you want to keep this light to let the unique processing method show through as much as possible.
We roast all our coffee to order five days a week (Monday–Friday).
If you place an order before 07:30, it will be roasted and dispatched that day. If you order after 07:30, it will carry over to the following working day for roasting.
The cost of postage is additional to the cost of our coffee. One bag at First Class postage will cost £1.50, and one bag at Second Class postage will cost £1.00. DPD next working day delivery is available for a flat rate of £5.00 for all orders up to 10 KG.