Brian Beyke

PERC Coffee - Costa Rica Flor De Cafe

Brian Beyke

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For fans of: hard cider, hitting things with bats, and state fairs.
PERC Coffee has now graced our pages four times, which is four times too few if you ask me.  We’ve seen Top Shelf Collection offerings and regular offerings alike, and again, if you asked me I’d tell you it makes not a difference in the quality you will receive.  That being said, we have yet another Costa Rican offering from PERC on our hands, this one selected as a Top Shelf Offering.  I love getting two offerings from the same region from the same roaster, without it being a washed and natural Ethiopia or something like that with almost drastically different characteristics.  Let’s dive in and see if we can figure out what sets this offering apart from the Carrizal we visited earlier.  Let us get into Costa Rica Flor De Cafe.  
Herbazu, owned by the Barranted family, was a pioneer with their micromill at the beginning of the 2000s.  They were selling to Starbucks back then at good prices.  
 
Don Carlos of La Perla Del Cafe spun off Herbazu, put his own mill, and currently owns five farms.  He only produces about 250 bags a year but wanted to control his quality all the way and also have his wife and two daughters involved in the business, hence opening his own impressive operation.  He was the first to get the SL28 seeds in Costa Rica and gave them away selflessly to his fellow producers to help everyone improve their coffee quality and be leaders in coffee innovation in the region.  He will also have Geisha production in the coming years.  
 
Don Carlos sees coffee the way a sommelier views wine, striving after the highest quality and uniqueness of flavor he can achieve. These beans are the Villa Sarchi varietal, a natural dwarf mutation of Bourbon unique to the Alajuela region of La Perla farm. Picking only the sangre del toro (bull’s blood), or ripest, cherries, Carlos has brought us a sweet coffee with elegant acidity.

Details:

Roaster: PERC Coffee

Region: Lourdes de Naranjo, West Valley, Costa Rica

Farm: Flor de Cafe

Process: Golden Honey

Varietal: Villa Sarchi

Elevation: 1,500m


Brew Method:

Chemex | 30g © to 480g (w) | 3:30 total time | 204 degrees | 1.30 TDS | 19.25% Ext. (Preferred method)

Clean and lightly sweet aroma.  Cinnamon and sugar donuts, soft fruits.

Diving in is really good.  Narrow in the mouth, with sweet golden raisin dipped in honey, date, and almost vanilla ice cream in mouthfeel, the kind of ice cream that is soft to scoop out of the container.  It carries a sugary sweetness, clean like grapes, but finishing with hints of spice.  It’s juicy in the finish, really juicy actually, but doesn’t overload the mouth because of how narrow it is.  It has a quick cleanup, too. As soon as it reaches it’s peak of flavor, it quickly dies leaving more of a dry but lingering finish.

The acidity, I can’t really describe. It is so clean in this cup, so gentle, maybe a bit apple-like, but in the aftertaste stretches a bit more citrusy.

Pretty soon the cup settles in and you get a toooooooooooon of honey sweetness, like, mistaken the beehive for a piñata again. We’ve all been there, right?  It’s massively silky, and growing a bit more tingly apple on the front of the sips.  Still engulfed in honey.  Sweet, luscious, balanced and clean. This one is HOT.

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Brew Method:

Iced Chemex | 40g © to 340g (w) | 300g ice | 2:50 total time | 202 degrees

Crisp, sweet apple, and notes of toasted marshmallow on the ; and a bit of tea-like spice in the finish with a caramel sweet cleanup.  Clean and lightly juicy so it drinks a bit like apple juice…not the name brand stuff from concentrate though. Really refreshing.  Grape and and honey sweetness emerge too. Aside from the honey and caramel in the finish some vanilla creaminess is present too.

Snacking on chocolate chip banana bread also makes a great little combination. Nice and buttery sweetness filling in the pores of the canines, creates a fun combination of fruit flavors and really fills out the mouth with a desirable saturation.

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Brew Method:

Kalita Wave | 34g © to 552g (w) | 3:45 total time | 205 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 20.00% Ext.

Soft, clean, sweet.  Fresh raspberry, apricot, slightly, slightly cinnamon raisin and apple, slightly sparkling on the front with a nice caramel and honey body developing.  A bit candy-like in the finish.

Creamy vanilla sweetness begins to come out. Sweet cherry and raisin rides most of the cup.

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Brew Method:

Aeropress (Inverted) | 17g © to 240g (w) | 2:00 then plunge by 2:30 total time | 201 degrees | 1.33 TDS | 19.90% Ext. (Immersion mode)

Soft floral and apple mixing with cinnamon and sugar in the aroma.

Diving into the cup is definitely more sweet than the previous cup.  It is rich, clean golden raisin and apple butter/candy apple and honey sweetness right from the get go, with dried fruits as more of an afterthought.  Still with a bit of spice in the end, but these are the first sips. 

It’s quite juicy in the mouth, splashy on the sides of the tongue, sweet, with a vanilla cream sort of finishing, still a bit dry in the end.

The cooler it grows, the more slick and juicy and sweet it grows.  It’s lively and dazzling on the front, with a crisp sweet lemon and cranberry intro and some tea-like notes in the center with how transparent and light it feels, yet still has some density to the sweetness.  Still ending honey sweet, a bit of caramel, and a bit astringent, with orange citrus seeming to last into the long finish as well.

Seriously, compared to some of the previous makes the end of this cup is like a firecracker on the tongue. Sharp, lively, at moments a bit salty and definitely sweet.   

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Brew Method:

V60 no stir | 14g © to 227g (w) | 2:10 total time | 198 degrees | 1.28 TDS | 19.25% Ext.

Clean and crisp aroma, soft intro to the cup.  Clean, sweet, light and lightly juicy.  Delicate apple notes on the front, a bit of caramel sweetness, whiffs of florals even, then a lightly spiced finish, just a dusting.

I think this is the softest make of the bunch, but it really presents those apple tones nicely, with a slightly malty finish.

Raisin, grape, and apricot seem to come out a bit more noticeably, while the mouthfeel still stays soft and lightly splashy with salted caramel, honey, cream, and lightly spiced finish.  It almost reminds me of a Guatemalan offering.  

It stays juicy through the finish, with a bit more honey syrupiness growing as it cools.  It still remains very soft in presentation, and a welcomed change from the other cups.

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 Gosh, this coffee was really great, too.  I think I can understand why it was deemed the Top Shelf list, and not that it was better than Carrizal or anything like that, but because of it’s clarity, aroma, and just all around dazzling personality.  It was immensely flavorful, balanced, refreshing to drink, and at times had a personality of it’s own.  Oh yea, and FULL of honey sweetness.   This is definitely a great showcasing of a wonderfully processed coffee, and a wonderfully done roast profile to showcase all it’s nuances.  

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.