Brian Beyke

Jacu Coffee Roastery - Monte Copey Costa Rica - Kaffebox - August 2014

Brian Beyke

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We have a very exciting treat for you today.  Lately I have been intrigued by several overseas roasters- seeing their offerings in shops around the US or plugging in with them and their baristas on social media.  I was tipped off by a fellow coffee enthusiast about a subscription service that focuses on fresh Scandinavian offerings.  That service is Kaffebox, and we decided to give it a go.  It’s quite a desirable service, really, especially if you have been interested in trying out roasters you cannot typically order from for a reasonable price.  You can select several sizes, filter or espresso, even whole bean or various grind sizes. It was even desirable to see that the beans arrived on my doorstep right around 8-9 days off roast, with the hopes of bringing that even closer in the future. For this style of roast, that is a pretty great window to receive beans from the roaster here in the US.  Kaffebox has features roasters such as The Coffee Collective, Koppi, Kaffa, and today’s roaster: Jacu Coffee Roastery and their Monte Copey Costa Rica.

The jacu bird lives in South America and is known for something quite extraordinary; It flies from coffee plantation to coffee plantation and picks and eats the tastiest coffee cherries.  The fruit makes its way through the bird’s digestive system, and the seeds of the fruit - coffee beans - come out perfectly processed.  These coffee beans are among the most exclusive in the world. This story has inspired us, and the bird has lent its name to our micro-roastery in Ålesund.

Jacu Coffee Roastery was established in 2011.  Like the jacu bird, we pick and roast only the best beans.  We look for great plantations, optimal processing, and the roasting profiles which will make the most out of each bean.  They work with passion and patience, and without compromise.

The best Costa Rican coffees seem to be consistently coming from the Micro Mills that are now more or less spread throughout the most important coffee regions in the country, including Tarrazu and the West Valley. This so-called coffee revolution started about

15 years ago, and has changed the way the specialty roasters and importers are looking at the Costa Rican coffees. It’s structured in a way where you have a central mill that’s able to process coffees from the smaller surrounding farms. They can often be small communities or basically family groups that have their own separate small farms and blocks of land, but only one micro mill for processing and drying. This farm is one out of a small range of exclusively selected micro mills where we have found the quality and flavor profile unique according to the process and varietal. In most cases this is a result of close partnership with the coffee producers and the exporter we work with, Exclusive Coffees, who are actively helping the producers on quality control and dry milling, and helping to market the coffees on their behalf.

Though we name Enrique Navarro Sr. as the producer of this coffee, a lot of credit should go to his childen, especially Enrique Jr., as he’s responsible for the day-to-day operations at the Monte Copey mill. Running the mill is no small task as the family owns several farms, some touching 1900 meters. The coffee is all processed at the Monte Copey mill using an aquapulper and new covered drying beds. Because the mill is so high up (perhaps the highest mill in all of Costa Rica) the coffee needs to be covered to insulate against cold and rain.

 

Details:

Origin: Costa Rica

Region: La Bandera de Dota, Tarrazu

Variety: Caturra

Altitude: 1,850 MASL

Farm: La Mesa

Owner: Familia Navarro

Harvest Method: Selective Hand Picked

Harvest Season: Jan-Feb 2014

Process: Yellow honey

 

Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 552g (w) | 4:00 total time | 204 degrees | 1.27 TDS | 19.10% Ext.

A little bit tingly on the tongue, but a syrupy, crisp, candy-sweet start.  

It begins to form as pomegranate, cherry, raspberry, and orange on the front providing some sweetness, brightness, and ting as well as a nice and round peachy sweetness that fills in this juicy center before fading out in a slightly dry and citrusy manner with lingering notes of milk chocolate.

The continuing cooling is really pleasing, the chocolate strands are a bit more creamy, sweet, and noticeable with lemon and lime acidity and sweetness and playful berry and stone fruit sweetness filling the remainder of the cup with a syrupy meets Trefoil (shortbread) finish.

 

*highlights the peachy sweetness

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Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 204 degrees | 1.32 TDS | 19.75% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Very gentle and sweet.  Soft fruits, rich, a bit lacking in dimension.

Cooling a bit you have a clean cup, sweet apple and berry notes transitioning into a shortbread and vanilla sweet body, lined with chocolate and apricot finishing.  It’s hard to exactly describe it, but it is quite pleasing.  It reminds me a bit of ice cream.  Some sips are cherry cordial, others strawberry and vanilla, others chocolate.

Either way, it is clean, fruity, sweet, with the last moments giving up flavors of toffee, caramel, honey, and chocolate covered raisins.

 

*highlights the Trefoil/shortbread sweetness

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Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 15g © to 243g (w) | 2:25 total time | 202 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 20.00% Ext.

Really sweet aroma with a sweet and syrupy start to the cup.  A bit of a tingly berry intro, clean, and switching quickly into a more chocolatey finish.

Vanilla lined sweetness, fresh berries, a bit of apricot and peach nectar mixed in.  Clean grape, lightly spiced plum.  It’s really interesting, it carries a silky and soft intro, then quickly shifts to a more buttery or creamy middle, then ends on a bit more dense chocolate finish.

Cooling is soft and sweet, still a little bit tingly but mainly these sweetly chocolate covered berry notes, along with some dried fruits.   

*highlights the chocolate and berry sweetness.

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Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 4:00 total time | 204 degrees | 1.25 TDS | 18.50% Ext.

A bit more intense and syrupy start to the cup despite it’s TDS readings.

Clean but rich and vivid fruit notes on the front with a thicker chocolate finish than some other makes.  

As it mellows you find a softer sweetness of mixed berries adding a bit of a ting, apple, peach, apricot, and lightly spiced plum, with caramel and vanilla now mingling in the finish with the chocolate.  A little cleaner than before, a little softer, A bit more complex and slightly delicate, but still full of flavor.  

Light to medium bodied, comfortable brightness, a bit syrupy and otherwise splashy and juicy with a long drying finish, with the longer finish bringing back notes of spice.

The later stages stay splashy and clean on the front and bring out the vanilla and shortbread notes a bit more, with creamy to lightly syrupy berry, malt, caramel, and cocoa dusting in the finish.  

 

*balanced representation.

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Each make of this coffee seemed to reveal something a little differently, but they all came to the same conclusion- this was a solid offering, with a lot going on.  As far as Costa Rican offerings go, it’s one of the better one’s I’ve visited this year.  I liked the feeling of the fruits, both sweet and lively, it remained clean in all the preparations with a nice body, lingering finish, and the shortbread sweetness tied together the crisp and tingly intro and comfortable finish.  It was a balanced offering, easy to drink, and a great introduction to both Jacu Coffee Roastery and Kaffebox.  I’m excited to keep experiencing both of these two, and like I mentioned in the Terminus Las Lajas review, more delicious micro-mills like these from Costa Rica.  

Co-host of the I Brew My Own Coffee Podcast and always has all the chocolate. I also love to play board games. Yea, let's go do that right now.